Sec. ii] FROM BARDSIR TO GULASHGIRD 171
6 a maze of utterly bare ridges and ravines and then across a troublesome pass
down to the deep gorge in which the Halil R5d has cut its way towards the head of the Jiruft trough. From afar we had sighted this head in April on our way to Bam. Then leaving the cliff-bound river gorge an easy ascent brought us to the entrance of the great plateau which forms the tract of Isfandaqeh. The long hill chains encircling it must have provided since the earliest times attractive grazing-grounds for nomadic tribes like the present Mehni. But in the central part of the plateau adequate subsoil drainage caught by ganâts has made cultivation and permanent settlement possible. At the hamlet of Daulatabad (5,750 feet) we arrived at the seat of the hereditary landowner of Isfandaqeh, and his recommendation brought from Kerman assured us there both hospitable welcome and local guidance.
A day's halt was needed to rest the hard-tried transport animals, and I used it for the inspection of the old remains which had been mentioned to me at Kerman by that intelligent `lord of the manor'. The Tump-i-Gabarha proved, indeed, to be what the name had prepared me for, a site of burial cairns at the foot of a rocky spur, about 2 miles south-east of Daulatabad. But only scattered large stones remained to mark the spot. A party of nomadic tribal people had chosen it for their camping-place, and perhaps induced by something that had raised hopes of `treasure', had upheaved the cairns, and subsequently used the larger stones to fasten down their tent-walls. Only two small cairns remained recognizable. Then, riding south past the small fort and the orchards of Chimak, I was taken to Fathabad, the last hamlet of Isfandaqeh to the south. To the south-west of it there extends a debris-strewn area, about 400 yards in diameter, marking an abandoned village site. The potsherds to be seen on the surface were all of plain coarse ware, only one fragment showing `ribbing' outside. Occupation here was not likely to date far back. To the west of the village the ruins of a well-built mansion attracted attention. It had been built by Ibrahim Khan, one of the present local Khan's predecessors, and abandoned some sixty years ago owing to the sudden failure of a ganât. In a walled enclosure near it the furrows once dug for a vineyard could still clearly be seen. Evidence of a more prosperous past was afforded by the domed tomb to be seen near Daulatabad and said to have been built as the last resting-place of Amir Haidar, an old chief of the Mehni tribe in Shah `Abbas's time. The style of the structure, now in a very ruinous state, seemed to agree with this dating, as also a tombstone, of A.H. 1012 (A.D. 1603-4), within.
On the morning of November 20th we left the Isfandaqeh plateau with its bracing cold air to descend south-eastwards into the low valley of Bulûk adjoining the Jiruft trough. There I wished to resume contact once more with ground