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date: 14 November 2019

Kafir Kalalocked

  • T. I. Zeymal’

Extract

Early medieval settlement, probably founded in the 2nd or 3rd century ad, on the western outskirts of the modern town of Kolhozabad in Tajikistan. The site, which has been excavated since 1956, has been identified as the main town in the Vakhsh domain (Chin. U-sha), one of the 27 domains in Tokharistan. Three periods in the history of the town have been identified: before the mid-6th century ad, mid-6th century to mid-7th, and late 7th century to mid-8th. The town was apparently destroyed and abandoned c. 740, when the Arab invasions devastated many other sites in northern Tokharistan, such as Adzhina Tepe. A main irrigation canal extending more than 100 km supplied water to the town and surrounding area. The square town (300×300 m) was surrounded by powerful mud-brick walls with embrasures and towers and by a large moat (50–60×5 m), beyond which lay other buildings and a necropolis to the east. A main street linked the city gates on the east and west. One building within the town had a large ceremonial room (17×7 m) with a niche in the end wall flanked by three-quarter columns made of finely ground clay on a wooden frame. The room was decorated with ornamental wall paintings, much deteriorated from the salinity of the soil. The citadel (70×70×12 m), containing suites of ceremonial and residential rooms, occupied the north-east corner of the town, from which it was separated by a moat (12–15×6 m). Flat roofs were reserved for large rooms (e.g. the ceremonial room in the citadel; 10×10 m), and different kinds of vaulting were used extensively. A round room dating from the middle period, several rooms in the towers and the Buddhist chapel were domed. A stone head of the Buddha and a stone altar pre-date the founding of the town. Finds from the late period include a ceramic tile (450×340 mm; 7th–8th century) showing a rider shooting an arrow at a mountain goat, another ceramic tile (140×130 mm) showing a rider hunting a lion, a cornelian seal with falcon hunting, and a fragment of a ceramic chalice (125×85 mm) with a central medallion containing a walking deer with branchy antlers. In the later period the domain issued silver coins imitating Sasanian drachmas of Peroz (...

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