Sec. 1] PAST THE JAZ-MURIAN DEPRESSION 135
next stage and the last of this desert journey. What potsherds could be picked up on the mound were all of the same coarse late ware we had noted at every mound from Gala-chah onwards.
From the Ziarat-i-Mir Mikdad, also known as Ziarat-i-Zergardi from the name of the surrounding ground,' I decided to turn south towards the terminal course of the Halil Rûd in search of older sites. Before, however, setting out in that direction on the morning of March 30th I was able to visit the small oasis of Chah Hasan, stretching for about 1 miles to the north-west of the Ziarat and watered by a small rivulet descending from the Kbh-i-Shah Sawaran. Though the dwellings here, too, were only mat-huts, it was easy to see from the appearance of the well-laid-out fields that their tillers were true Persians and not mere Balûch, whom they look down upon as semi-barbarians. Within the little oasis lies the Tump-i-Dehgan, `the Cultivator's Mound', a practically flat debris area, measuring 440 yards from north to south and about 300 yards across. On it glazed potsherds, both plain and patterned, mingle with plenty of unglazed plain ware, pink or cream-coloured in body, and relief-decorated fragments. The designs on these latter pieces, all cast from moulds, are in very close agreement with those on pottery found at such early Muhammadan sites as Oalat-iJamshid and Hûkird. Hence the conclusion seems justified that occupation here preceded the Mongol period. On a smaller debris area, about two furlongs to the south-east, the ceramic remains were of the same kinds.
Before I proceed to give an account of the sites examined along the terminal course of the Halil Rtid some general observations on the ground traversed since leaving the riverine belt of the Bampûr river call for record. After the ample evidence of prehistoric occupation which we had been able to gather all along the area watered by the Bampûr river from Damin down to Chah Husain, it was a surprise, far from welcome at first, to find that the remains of all the mounds surveyed since leaving the Bampûr area dated from later times. Nowhere on our passage to the vicinity of the Halil Rûd did we succeed in tracing any sign of prehistoric settlements having existed on this ground. The negative evidence thus afforded deserves all the more attention because, from the close agreement between the indications gathered in advance from my Balûch informants and the facts ascertained by inquiries on the journey, it may be safely concluded that there are no mounds of any size to be found in this desert tract apart from those which we were shown and actually examined.
1 The two names are shown in the Survey map No. 25. i for two separate localities, Ziârat Zergardi being shown 3 miles to the east of Ziârat-iMir Mikdâd. It is an instance of duplication, evidently due to a slight error in the compilation