National Geographic : 1901 Nov
SVEN HEDIN'S EXPLORATIONS IN CENTRAL ASIA* T will be remembered that Dr. Hedin traveled down the Yarkand and Tarim Rivers to the Lob Nor re gion (1899-1900), in which he made many excursions of the greatest value to geographical science; but what de lighted him most was the very important discovery he made of an ancient lake bed which strongly confirmed the theory he advanced after his first journey in Central Asia, that the ancient Lob Nor Lake was not identical with the lake which commonly bears that name at the present day. Writing from Tiumen (Temirlik), at the end of October, 1900, Dr. Hedin announced his intention of making two more journeys before he set out on the long march home, one among the mountains to the west of Temirlik, the other to the ancient lake bed he had discovered and the Kara-Koshun Lake, which he identified with Prjevalsky's Lob Nor. It is with these two expedi tions that his latest letters deal. Starting on the first journey, to the great or westerly Kum-Kul, early in November, Dr. Sven Hedin crossed and measured these mountains on three lines. He passed through absolutely unknown country, but the excursion was a com paratively short one, lasting only a month, and by December 12 he was ready for the more important march. On this he had with him nine men and eleven camels and ten horses. Khan ambal was the first point for which he made, and this he reached by a rather difficult mountain road, lying to the south of Littledale's road, which was struck at Khan-ambal. After making a circular march to Sirting, round the magnificent Anambar-ula and back to Khan-ambal, Dr. Sven Hedin proceeded across the desert straight to the north, and passed through the mountainous region which constitutes the western continuation of the Kurruk Tagh. He was able to map the whole of his route from Temirlik, and found that the exist ing maps were quite incorrect. During the latter part of the march the little company of travelers had a very trying experience. For twelve long and arduous days, during which they pushed forward as rapidly as possible and covered, in spite of the slow rate of traveling necessitated by the careful ob servations which Dr. Sven Hedin was continually taking, about twenty miles a day, not a drop of water was found. Fortunately, on the third day the trav elers came across some snow, and this just enabled the camels to last out until water was reached; otherwise they must inevitably have succumbed. After this Dr. Hedin, with the aid of the map he had compiled in March, 1900, when he made his great discovery in connection with the Lob Nor problem, was able to find Altimishbuluk quite easily, and from there to proceed with all his cara van to the ruins on the northern shore of the ancient lake bed. The camels were heavily laden with ice, and after they had been sent back to the ' bulak,'' Dr. Hedin was able to stay among the ruins for a week. During this time he was busily engaged compiling maps and plans, taking photographs, gathering together collections of various kinds, and making excavations among the ruins. The discoveries he made were both nu merous and important, but he thinks that perhaps his most curious " find" was some twelve complete letters written on paper in Chinese. They were in a mar velous state of preservation, every sign being perfectly distinct and legible. * From The London Times.