170 FROM KERMAN TO BANDAR ABBAS [Chap. VI
over a succession of steep spurs to the pass of Gudâr-i-Sang-i-ishk,where the watershed on the Lâlehzâr range was crossed at an elevation of 10,150 feet, and then down a valley fairly watered and much frequented during the summer months by nomadic graziers, to the large village of Râbur ( 7,800 feet) .
With its fine orchards producing abundance of fruit and an extensive area of cultivation irrigated by streams from the mountains, Rabur is by far the most attractive place and the only one of any importance passed by us on this journey through Kerman. That the oasis has existed since early times can be safely assumed. But the Tal-i-Khushkeh, the only mound I could learn of, situated near the south-western edge of the agglomerate of hamlets collectively known as Râbur, showed no evidence on the surface of the site having been occupied before the historic period. It measures about 150 yards from north-west to south-east, with a maximum width of some 60 yards, and rises to 15 feet where highest. Its size has evidently been much reduced by digging for manuring earth. What potsherds were picked up below the banks thus exposed and on surrounding fields were of coarse plain ware, with the exception of a couple of glazed fragments and a flat-ribbed piece, which may be pre-Muhammadan.
From a day's welcome halt at pleasant Râbur, where fresh donkey transport had been readily obtained, we turned to the south-east in order to gain the plateau of Isfandaqeh. Our march on November 16th led first down the stream of Râbur and then over a scrub-covered alluvial plateau. From there a distant view was gained of the numerous hamlets nestling at the foot of the mountains and girding the main oasis of Râbur on the north and north-west. They obviously owe their existence to the increased moisture received by the high range behind and the drainage descending from it. Some little cultivation was found again at Maidân (6,250 feet), in the valley of one of these tributaries of the Râbur river. The semi-nomadic occupants of the hamlet, belonging to the Sulaimânï tribe, were preparing to move down to their winter grazing in Jïruft. Small intermittent patches of cultivation, met on the next day's march for some 8 miles down by the same stream, were already deserted. Then the track led away from the stream, across utterly barren low ridges and waterless ravines, to the small open plain of Padamabâd (5,550 feet) with some fields and an old orchard. The few dwellings at the site were abandoned and in ruins.2
A long and tiring march on November 18th took us on its first half through