176 FROM KERMAN TO BANDAR ABBÂS [Chap. VI
and fine stoneware, unmistakably of Chinese make, and this helps to confirm the approximate dating.
In years of good rainfall bâshkdri cultivation is carried on in the vicinity of both these sites by people from Pariâb village, which lies farther north. That the whole area had at one time supported a considerable population is made probable by a succession of smaller debris-strewn patches of ground and traces of former ganäts which were passed on our way to the village of Shâhdurmah. Its extensive stretch of date-palm groves is watered by a lively stream, which descends from the hills in the north-west and here passes through a gorge down to the group of palm-girt hamlets collectively known as Guldshgird.5
It is at this point, where the open valley ground extending unbroken to the south-west through the Jiruft trough and Bulûk ends, that a point in Marco Polo's account of his journey from Kerman to Hormuz may conveniently receive notice. We have seen above that the `city of Camadi' to which it brought him can with certainty be located at the great ruined site near Behkird at the head of Jiruft. It has long been recognized that the Venetian refers to the route leading thence through Jiruft and Bulûk, where he tells us: `The Plain of which we have spoken extends in a southerly direction for five days' journey, and then you come to another descent some twenty miles in length, where the road is very bad and full of peril, for there are many robbers and bad characters about. When you have got to the foot of this descent you find another beautiful plain called the Plain of Formosa. This extends for two days' journey.' The subsequent mention of a two days' ride to the seashore and a `city with a harbour which is called Hormos' makes it clear that Marco Polo must have reached the coast by the route which, after descending the Gulâshgird valley and crossing the Rûdkhânehi-duzdi, the `Robbers' river-bed', reaches the coastal plain at Shamil probably over the pass of Nivargudâr. From Minâb, where the only other route that can come into consideration debouches, the port of old Hormuz would be only half a day's journey.6
Now, just before recording these details of the route he followed, Marco Polo relates his escape from a band of robbers: `In this plain there are a number of villages and towns with lofty walls of mud, made as a defence against the banditti, who are very numerous and are called Caraonas.' Then, after being given an interesting account of `those scoundrels and their history' we are told `that Messer Marco himself was all but caught by their bands ... but, as it pleased God, he got off and threw himself into a village hard by, called Cono-
Gulâshgird is mentioned by Arab geographers Mittelalter, p. 248.
under the name of Walâshkird, Walâshjird on the 6 See Yule, Marco Polo', i. p. 107, with abundant
road from Jiruft to Hormuz; cf. Schwarz, Iran im comments, ibid. i. pp. 111 sqq.