Sec. iv] THE SITE OF CHAH HUSAINI 127
a well-preserved painted jar, Qas. B. 80 (Pl. XIII), decorated with a broad band below the neck showing a variety of large geometric designs. It was said to have been accidentally discovered some four years before at the small ruined fort of Qasimabad. The mention of a number of smaller vessels having been found close together near it pointed to a burial deposit. An excavation made at the foot of the tower which was indicated as the find-place yielded only a few fragments of poorly painted pottery of uncertain type besides a piece of alabaster, Qas. A. 56, fragments of dark-grey ware, and a large bronze button, Qas. 74, which looked late.
Our next objective was the site known as Chah Husain', the westernmost of those from which specimens of early pottery had reached me at Bampûr. On March 17th, moving down the small canal which irrigates the fields of the large hamlet of Sardû, after going about 41 miles, we were shown a small mound known as Tump-i-Zabardast. The potsherds found on its surface did not look old. But occupation of the neighbouring ground in chalcolithic times was proved when one of the Sardû villagers cultivating near by brought a small painted jar of pear shape, with a very small base, Ch. S. 04 ( Pl. xix ), which he had recently come upon when clearing a little water channel about a quarter of a mile to the north of the mound. Excavation at the spot brought to light only some small fragments of painted ware decorated with coarse geometric designs. Their chalcolithic origin was confirmed by two other small vessels which were brought to us and which apparently came from the same find. One was a small narrow-mouthed jar, Ch. S. 02 ( Pl. Xv), of grey ware, painted with triangles on its shoulder and with its echinus-shape corresponding exactly to little jars found at Shahi-tump and frequent at Nal.' The other vessel was a conical cup, also showing a shape common in chalcolithic pottery from Shahi-tump and elsewhere.
Continuing our march to the north-west we re-entered the wide riverine jungle belt and reached a small mound known as Bihishtabad, only some 60 yards long and about 10 feet high. Fragments of coarsely painted red ware, of chalcolithic appearance, lay plentifully on the surface; but the distance from water would not allow of a halt here. Three miles more had to be covered before the river-bed was struck. It was here more than 300 yards wide, but held water only in a small pool under its tamarisk-covered right bank, notwithstanding the rain-flood which had passed down the river since our first halt at Tran-shahr. The sombre landscape curiously recalled to my memory the terminal courses of rivers in the Tarim basin before they finally lose themselves in the sandy wastes of the Taklamakan. About a mile beyond, to the north-west, camp was pitched at a well visited by nomadic Balûch graziers, and known as Chah
1 See, e.g., Tour in Gedrosia, Pl. XIII, Sh. T. vi. 3 a, 13 n.