mahalldtl qiirghdn-dtn btr shar't yurdqrdq tilshub tur. They have been understood as saying that the suburbs were two miles from their urbs. This may be right but I hesitate to accept it without pointing out that the words may mean, ' Its suburbs extend two miles farther than the walled-town.' Whichever verbal reading is correct, reveals a decayed oasis.
In the 19th century, Nalivkine and Ujfalvy describe the place then bearing the name Akhsl, as a small village, a mere winter-station, at some distance from the river's bank, that bank then protected from denudation by a sand-bank.
Three distinctly-marked stage; of decadence in the oasis township are thus indicated by Yaqut, Babur and the two modern travellers.
It is necessary to say something further about the position of the suburbs in the 15th century. Babur quotes as especially suitable to Akhsl, the proverbial questions, 'Where is the village?'1 (qy. Akhsl-kint.) 'Where are the trees?' and these might be asked by some-one in the suburbs unable to see Akhsi or vice versa. But granting that there were no suburbs within two miles of the town, why had the whole inner circle, two miles of Yaqut's four, gone out of cultivation ? Erosion would have affected only land between the river and the town.
Again; if the Sir only were working in the 15th century to destroy a town standing on the Kasan-water, how is it that this stream does not yet reach the Sir ?
Various ingatherings of information create the impression that failure of Kasan-water has been the dominant factor in the loss of the Akhsl township. Such failure might be due to the general desiccation of Central Asia and also to increase of cultivation in the Kasan-valley itself. There may have been erosion, and social and military change may have had its part, but for the loss of the oasis lands and for, as a sequel, the decay of the town, desiccation seems a sufficient cause.
1 For mention of upper villages see i. no and note 1.