Sec. i] FROM KERMAN TO TAL-I-IBLIS 163
of a legend or tradition to account for it such as has clung since early times to the Kiz-kurghan, or `the Princess's Tower', of far-off Sarikol. The corresponding Turk' designation has its traditional explanation in a story attested already by Hsüan-tsang.3
Proceeding for another 12 miles along the foot of a rugged hill chain the large village of Sar-i-asiab was reached. From a short distance beyond the northern edge of its orchards there extends a large area with clusters of burial cairns scattered over the stony waste descending from the foot of the hills. In one group counting some eighteen low roughly built-up stone heaps, three dambs, to use the term applied in Makran, were opened. In all of them fragments of human bones turned up, and in one also two large earthen pots of coarse make. Both showed breaks which had occurred in antiquity before they were deposited with the scanty remains of bodies exposed to birds and beasts. About 5 miles farther to the north the stony glacis stretching between the villages of Hut and Chah Dartlt shows another large area of burial cairns. Those examined in a group to the south-west of the track measured 13 to 14 feet in diameter with an average height of 2 to 3 feet. All of the four cairns here cleared contained scanty fragments of bones. In two there was found also a large jug of poorly levigated clay, about 8 inches high and 5 inches across where it bulged out above the foot. Both jugs had a spouted mouth with a handle descending from it along the long neck. The imperfect burning in both vessels suggested that they were made as funerary furniture and not for actual use. Here, as in the case of most of such cairns, there was no definite indication of date. But the great number and extent of similar burial-grounds noted by the Surveyor in the Zarand and Rafshan tracts makes it obvious that they belong to the pre-Islamic period or to that immediately following the Arab conquest, while Zoroastrian creed and practice still retained their hold on the mass of the population in the Kerman province.
The difficulties about securing adequate transport for our move to the south proved unexpectedly great. The trouble which it cost to overcome them and to make other needful practical preparations effectively prevented my gaining a closer acquaintance with the surroundings of Kerman town, and the physical conditions determining its importance as a provincial centre. I should have to regret this more if fairly detailed accounts of Kerman were not available in the publications of modern visitors, especially of Sir Percy Sykes, who
above Kerman town, the origin of which popular belief attributes to Ardashir Pàpakan. Its earliest occupation may well date back to pre-Muhammadan times; see above, pp. 159. sq.
3 Cf. Serindia, i. pp. 72 sq. As the population
of Sarikol is of Iranian stock, though accustomed to the current use of Turki besides its own tongue, there can be little doubt about the name Kirkurgbân reflecting an earlier local designation equivalent to Qal`a-i-dukhtar.