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DOMOKO

 
   
Stein visited Domoko in October 1907 and again in March 1908, during his second expedition. An extract from Stein's book in which he discusses his work there - Ruins of Desert Cathay Chapter XXI - Sites Around Domoko

While work at Khadalik continued Stein visited other potential sites within range. There was much broken debris on the ground. But he also found another Buddhist shrine. Stein found the remains of many villages all lost and abandoned but giving Stein ample evidence about erosion in the desert. He completed work at Khadalik and departed on 3 October and visited the main oasis of Domoko. There he had an example of the shifting of the cultivated areas to consider with relation to the shifting of the rivers and springs. The soil in these areas was fertile, but everything depended on obtaining water for irrigation as well as domestic use. So he studied the dams and canals and described their purposes and results fully. Near the Domoko dam Stein was shown another mound, which turned out to be a refuse dump containing rather unsavory material. Stein persisted, nevertheless, and was rewarded by a find of over 50 wooden documents in Chinese and/or Brahmi script. One conclusion Stein reached was that there has been a general decline in the water flowing north from the high mountains.
On October 3rd 1907 Stein left Khadalik riding south to Domoko Oasis in search of another likely site reported by Mullah Khwaja. Stein also was eager to study the irrigation and cultivation in progress at Domoko since his visit in 1901. Stein draws favorable attention to the extensive scientific work of Professor Ellsworth Huntington on hydrology throughout Asia and Europe. He cites Huntington's book, Pulse of Asia, as the definitive account that includes the results of Huntington's lengthy study around Domoko in 1905. Stein devotes several pages to his observations of conditions there and in particular changes he notes since 1901. He was impressed by the engineering skill involved in the creation of a 200 yard long dam designed to raise the water level of the river so it could be diverted into irrigation canals. Throughout his expeditions Stein always made careful note of the way in which the desert rivers changed their channels and what the results were for local life. He also was convinced that for centuries a process of desiccation had taken place with drastic impact on the population. At the desert oasis tied to the rivers flowing from the K'un-lun there were two types of water - 'black water' was that coming out of springs which received their water from channels flowing underground from the mountains and 'white water' which was that created by the melting of snow and glaciers in the spring and early summer which then resulted in a summer flood.
South of the great dike lay the shrine Mazar-toghrak and 150 yards to the west was the location that Mullah Khwaja knew as a location for old relics. Stein began work there on 4 October. In the mix of animal bones and refuse fragments of wood tablets with Brahmi script appeared. Then came paper documents and fragments of various types of textiles. Eventually 50 wooden documents of various sizes and shapes were salvaged. The texts on some were in Chinese on others in the Iranian language written in Brahmi and some with both. Floors were uncovered at various levels one above the other. Stein estimated the documents dated from end of the T'ang era. Stein believed that the ruins on both sides of Domoko (one north and the other south) had been abandoned at the same approximate time, end of the 8th century. Stein discusses theories advanced as reasons the sites north and south of Domoko were abandoned about the same time as Dandan-oilik, some 50 or more miles further north into the desert on the same river system. He accepts the theory that lack of water could be a cause. But he points out that a cause could also be lack of manpower required to maintain the elaborate canal irrigation system necessary to make use of what water was available.
Stein left Domoko on 6 October 1907 headed eastward and passed the road to Keriya. He stopped for quick visit to Achima, a new oasis 6 miles further east on the edge of the Domoko cultivated area created by a new flow of water. He recorded visits to various debris sites in the desert.
On March 13 1908 Stein went south past Domoko to visit a Buddhist shrine at Kara-yantak. He then went to Keriya to arrange explorations in the summer in the mountains to the south in the Kun lun to Polur. He returned to Domoko on 19 March and then went NW into the desert to Ulug-Mazar again via Domoko. Stein also found that contemporary irrigation was being extended so that the area he had explored around Khadalik in 1901 was now under cultivation. (From Desert Cathay.) He saw the same new activity also at Domoko and Gulakhma. And irrigation with expanded cultivation was also bringing population and economic activity in a bazaar. Stein continued during March to expand his excavations to all the other nearby sites such as Ulug-Mazar and Kara-yantak.This was the last location where his entire party was united at the end of the winter explorations. On March 22 he went south to Chira, where he found 3500 skulls buried in a large oasis. On March 24 he went west to the edge of the Khotan district. From Lop-bazaar he went north to the ruin at Iman Asu Mazar and found a stupa- then through Sampala to Bizil. From Bizil he crossed to the west bank of the Yurung-Kash and by March 30 reached Khotan.
 
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This is the south west corner of map sheet # 31 - Domoko - Traveling up stream on the Keriya River bed he shifted westward to return to the ruins at Domoko. These include the ruin at Khadalik (81 degrees 11' E - 37 degrees 5' N). The road to Keriya town is in the south west corner also. Old Domoko is on the Domoko River, which disappears into the desert. There is a gap in the survey of the Keriya River at this point south of where Stein left it.

 
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The south west corner of the Takla Makan bordered on south by the Kun-lun and west by the Pamirs - This shows Stein's routes from Yarkand through Kargahlik and Guma to Khotan along the edge of the desert and also his route between Yarkand and Khotan through the mountains. South of Khotan it shows Stein's multiple routes through, around and over passes while searching for the river headwaters. At the lower left side is the caravan route to the Karakoram Dawan (pass). North of Khotan Mazar Tagh appears on the Khotan River. Stein's routes between Khotan and Keriya are both along the desert and through the foothillls. North of Keriya is Kara-dong on the Kariya River. Between the rivers is Dandan-uiliq. Rawak Stupa is north of Khotan

 
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Detail from Stein's map showing the area around Domoko and Gulakhma including several ancient sites.

 
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A detailed section from Stein's map showing the area between Karghalik, Khotan and Keriya. The excavation sites at Niya, Endere, Rawak, Kara-dong, and Mazar-tagh are shown.

 
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Detail from map in Ancient Khotan showing Keriya and Keriya river with area west to Gulakhma and Domoko - in the desert to the north is Dandan-uiliq

 
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The section of Stein's map showing the area north of Keriya and east to the Niya river and the ancient Niya excavation site.

 
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Plate 66 - General site plan for the ruin at Farhad-beg-yailaki, at Domoko

 
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Plate 57 - Detaied plans for structures at Farhad-beg-yailaki, at Domoko

 
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This is the far north east corner of map sheet # 31 - Domoko - showing the Keriya River bed (it flows north when it flows at all) and Stein's route south from Kara Dong.

 
     
     
     

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