210 ALONG THE PERSIAN GULF COAST [Chap. VII
No burial cairns were recognized by us on such portions of the slopes as we were able to examine; but such could not have been easily distinguished from the debris heaps of decayed dwellings which were scattered in plenty over easier ground within the necropolis area. It might also be assumed, perhaps, that the grottoes were occupied by the poorer population of the port.
At the entrance of the gorge known as Tang-i-Lir and made conspicuous by a large bôr tree growing there ( Fig. 72 ) , two massive towers mark the places where the water, once conducted on either side of the gorge in aqueducts and short tunnels, was discharged to drive millstones ( Fig. 74 ) . The drop of 20 feet or so to the foot of these towers suggests that the available volume of water was limited. The remains of walls over which the conduits were carried could be traced for some distance up the gorge, which higher up has been filled in places by large masses of fallen rock. Whether Muqaddasi's and Yâqût's mention of a conduit supplying Sirâf with fresh water refers to this aqueduct or to a small canal traceable in the Kunârak valley, it is impossible to decide. Nor could I obtain local information as to the spring, or ganat, from which water is likely to have once been brought down into the Tang-i-Lir.
Half a mile from the head of the gorge, turning westwards and passing through a maze of small eroded hillocks, we reached a broad open valley known as Dôband-i-Tâhiri. Stretching approximately from east to west it affords good views of the high mountains to the north, beyond which lie the valleys of Jam and Galehdâr once passed by routes feeding the trade of Sirâf. I was told by our local guide of ruins to be seen on those thinly wooded heights and of springs to which they owe their name of Kg-i-haft-chah. It is possible that the custom mentioned by the Arab geographer Ibn Rosteh (ninth century A.D.) of the people of Sirâf seeking the mountains during the hot season8 refers to these heights, or else to Jam. Moving for about a mile along the Dôband valley, which along its flat bottom, about half a mile wide, contains a good deal of arable land, at present uncultivated, I came near the middle upon scattered groups of old remains marked by decayed walls, as seen in the ruined area of Sirâf. Plentiful pottery debris identical with that of Sir-5.f strews the ground here and farther west beyond a small ravine. This was said to receive water higher up from a perennial fresh spring passed on the route leading to Jam. This statement was borne out by the ruined tower of a water-mill to be seen together with the traces of a small aqueduct where a narrow valley debouches from the foot-hills. The valley of Dôband could well have served as a place where the animals of the caravans which carried goods to and from Sirâf might be rested, and the remains above referred to may, perhaps, be those of sarais.
8 See Schwarz, Iran im Mittelalter, p. 61.