{short description of image}  
 

LOU-LAN - RUIN

 
  Sir Aurel Setin was not the first European explorer to find the early medieval Chinese town, Lou-lan, in the salt desert of Lop Nor. But he was the first to conduct extensive professional archeological excavations and the first to create detailed topographic maps of the area. He also solved the controversy as to its exact location generated by alternative views of earlier explorers. He was not merely an explorer but a topographic map maker and archeologist able to explain the significance of his discoveries and tie them into the Chinese historical records. Here we have photographed some of the illustrations and topographic maps from his second and third expeditions as published in his reports, "Serindia" and "Innermostasia". Unfortunately some one took the essential maps Stein included in volume V of "Serindia" from the copy I obtained on line from Interlibrary loan office, so we can only reporduce here a copy from the Internet of the original map included in volume V there. This illustrates the difficulty in using these very small PDF versions. But we do have several of the topographic maps Stein made and included in his "Innermostasia".  
  The Lou lan forts are at 89 degrees 20 minutes east Longitude and 39 degrees 50 minutes north Latitude. They are north east of Abdal and Miran and Charklik on the edge of the Lop salt sea and north of the delta of the Tarim River.  
  The main fort is an oblong irruglar rectangle with the long face NE to SW 620 feet long and the short sides 330 feet long. The walls are made of alternate layers of thick clay blocks and Toghrak trunks laid cross wise. This is not stamped clay but blocks of natural clay quarried like stone and then laid out with mud mortar. The walls are 32 feet wide at base and slope in toward the top. The trunks at the second level are 22 feet wide. The alternate layers of wood and clay bricks have an original height of 21 feet. The walls are reinforced by timber upright posts in pairs one inside and one outside probably originally connected by cross beams.There is a gateway in the NE face with the sides of the gate revetted by 9 posts set in massive foundations and with a 22 foot long cross beam joining the two posts nearest the entrance. The gate was closed by a massive wood door of which 2 leaves of 5 foot sides each remain. There are buildings inside the walls. Stein found artifacts dating from Neolithic stone age around the site. And silver coins from up to the 3rd century AD. Near fort he designated LK were forts LL and LM. They were similar but smaller - one measured 138 feet by 218 feet with ramparts 26 feet wide. The walls were built of 7 layers each 16 inches thick. He found Chinese and Sogdian documents there. Fort Le was 19 miles from Lou lan and similar to the towers on the Han wall - aalternate layers of stamped clay and reed fascines..  
  Stein explored the area around Lou lan and used several oases to replenish water supply - Astin-bukak and Alemush-bulak. He was working in temperatures reaching 44 degrees below zero. He found Neolithic tools in the area at 40 degrees 12 minutes north Latitude to 40 degrees 22 minutes North. This was all the gravel glacis of the Kuruk-tagh.. At Lou lan he found pottery from bronze age and a temple ruin, cemetary and dwellings. South of the area he found sites dating until the 4th century AD. Stein estimated the site dated from the first Chinese entrance in the Tarim at end of 2nd century. It was a bridge head for crossing tghe Lop sea on the desert route. He estimated the route via Lou lan was used between 263 and 270 AD. Stein decided the station was abandoned by the Chinese in the 4th Century. He remarked about how the walls had withstood 2000 years of erosion from constant, sand-driven wind. .  
 {short description of image}

The map # 60 Lou lan site is missing from the copy of Serindia volume V sent from Rochester. As a poor substitute here is the PDF file of this map sheet from the Internet. It cannot be expanded into legibility. This is probably the most important map sheet in the entire book as it shows the location of the ruined town at Lou lan. But fortunately Stein returned there during his third expedition and spent even more time excavating and studying the buildings. We have the maps from that report - Innermostasia.

 
{short description of image}

The map sheet # 61 Lop Nor is also missing from the copy of Serindia sent from the Univ. of Rochester library. It is the other important map sheet as it shows the area directly south of Lou lan and north of Abdal. This is the key region in which the Tarim, Charklik and So-lo Ho all enter into their deltas in swamp and dry salt lake areas. The exact location of this area was disputed until Stein performed detailed astronomical observations and survey. He retured here in the third expedition and we have the maps from that report - Innermostasia.

 
{short description of image}

Section of Stein's map sheet showing his routes north east from Abdal to Lou-lan

 
{short description of image}

Detail from Stein's map sheet showing Abdal and Donglik and the delta of the Tarim River as it empties into the Lop nor. These maps are from Innermostasia and the relevant map sheet is missing from the copy of Serindia from the library. Abdal shown here is the jumping off place for Stein's route north to Lou-lan and also on the direct route west from Charklik to Tun-huang.

 
{short description of image}

Detail from Stein's map showing the region just east of Donglik and southern edge of the Lop nor dry salt sea

 
{short description of image}

The area west of Abdal and Miran to Lop hamlet - Stein was able to recruit workers from this tiny village for ecavation work in the middle of winter - Dec - Feb - at Lou lan. The men here were mostly fishermen. It is near Lop that the Charklik and Tarim rivers geneally meet as they disappear into the salt sea.

 
{short description of image}

Map of a larger area around Lop nor - including Abdal and Donglik and the delta of the Tarim River. - The route north east from Abdal is toward Lou-lan.

 
{short description of image}

I photographed this map sheet at an angle in order to include the entire area from south of Miran to north of the west side of Lop Nor.

 
{short description of image}

Plan of the ruined fort at Lou lan showing also section view that details the construction methods.

 
{short description of image}

Detail from the plan for fort at Lou lan showing more detail of the construction methods.

 
{short description of image}

General site plan of the area around Lou lan and several detailed plans of dwellings.

 
{short description of image}

Detailed plans for some of the buildings at Lou lan.

 
{short description of image}

Plan of the ruined fort L. E. at Lou lan.

 
{short description of image}

Photo 128 - View of interior of ruined fort L. K. in the Lop desert - part of outer area of Lou lan.

 
{short description of image}

Photo 129 - Part of the south-western wall of fort L. K. in the Lop desert showing how wind driven sand has caused erosion over the 2000 years.

 
{short description of image}

Photo 130 - The ground outside the South-western wall of fort L. K. in the Lop desert showing how the wind even erodes the desert ground.

 
{short description of image}

Photo 133 - Panoramic view of interior of ruin of fort L.K. in Lop desert - Stein used a camera on a plane table with the glass negatives that were state of art at his time - 1906 and developed the prints in the field during his expeditions. Imagine the logistics of all that carrying the equipment on camels in the desert in winter.

 
{short description of image}

View of interior of fort K.K. in the Lop desert from the north corner.

 
{short description of image}

Photos 134 and 135 - Room in a building and timber debris from another dwelling inside fort L.K. in Lop desert - these places were almost 2000 years old when Stein visited. The powerful wind driven sand did a lot to destroy them but also to preserve them.

 
{short description of image}

Photos 136 and 137 - remains inside site L. M. III and L. M. I in Lop desert - Stein carefully designated each location and then also carefully annotated each small artifact found with the location number and item number.

 
{short description of image}

Photos 138 and 139 - rooms in fortress L.K at Lop desert site. Several of Stein's workers are in the photos.

 
{short description of image}

Photo 146 - Ruin of a stupa at location L.A, XI - at Lou lan. - with several of Stein's crew 'admiring' it.

 
{short description of image}

Photo 148 - Ruins of buildings at L.A. II at Lou lan.

 
{short description of image}

Photo 122 - very poor reproduction of Stein's picture of his camels being loaded with sacks containing blocks of ice at Uzun-kol near Lou lan. He conducted his desert explorations during the winter both to avoid the extreme heat of summer and to have a way to carry sufficient water for extended stay on location.

 
{short description of image}

Detail of Stein's map showing terrain around Besh-bulak - an oasis near Lou lan.

 
{short description of image}

Detail of Stein's map showing topography north of Altmish-bulak and his route.

 
{short description of image}

Detail of Stein's map showing many of the individual locations around Lou lan at which he found various ruins and artifacts. Note that on the surface of the desert he found Neolithic and Bronze Age articles as well as the Han era items.

 
{short description of image}

Detail of map showing terrain between Astin-bulak - Altmish-bulak and Besh-bulak - all of these oases north and north-west of Lou lan.

 
{short description of image}

Detail of map showing terrain between Astin-bulak - Altmish-bulak and Besh-bulak - all of these oases north and north-west of Lou lan.

 
{short description of image}

Detail of map of Lou lan showing the many locations to south and Stein's routes in the area.

 
{short description of image}

Photo 160 - Very poor and grainy view across inerior of fort L.E. at Lou lan

 
{short description of image}

Photo 163 - Part of the east wall of fort L. E. in Lop desert - this shows the erosion and shows how the construction placed layers of branches between the layers of clay. And it also shows erosion outside bringing the ground to below the original ground level.

 
{short description of image}

Photo - the large ruin of a stupa north west of Lou lan - it is marked on Stein's map.

 
{short description of image}

Plan of the ruined fort at L. E, in the Lop desert

 
{short description of image}

Photo 157 - North end of the eroded terrace by the east wall of fort L. A. - Lou lan

 
{short description of image}

Photo 147 - Clearing refuse between ruins of quarters at L.A. V and L. A. VI - Lou lan - note Stein's two Indian assistants identified by their distinctive head gear. The other 6 men are local Lopniks Stein recruited.

 
{short description of image}

Photo 155 - Erosion at south wall of fort L.A. - Lou lan

 
{short description of image}

Photo 157 - North end of the eroded terrace by the east wall of fort L. A. - Lou lan

 
{short description of image}

Photo 162 - West wall of fort at L.E, in Lop desert seen from inside north gate

 
{short description of image}

Plan for area of sites LA and LB at Lou-lan

 
{short description of image}

Overall site layout of buildings at Lou-lan from visits in 1907 and 1914

 
{short description of image}

Plans of buildings I, IV, and VII at Lou-lan

 
{short description of image}

Plans of buildings II, III, V, and VI at Lou-lan

 
{short description of image}

Plan and section drawing of stupa at Lou-lan

 
{short description of image}

Site plan of Lou-lan showing houses LB IV and V

 
{short description of image}

Plate 26 - plan and section of ruined stupa at Lou-lan.

 
{short description of image}

Plate 27 - Plan for ruined buildings L.B i - iii at Lou-lan - Stein returned to Lou lan during his third expedition and made much more extensive excavations.

 
{short description of image}    
{short description of image}    
{short description of image}    
{short description of image}    
{short description of image}    

Return to Xenophon.