Sec. ii] BY THE COAST TO TÂHIRÎ 201
Tâhiri. But we had scarcely covered more than 6 miles from `Asala to where the foot of the very steep and rugged coastal range recedes and leaves room for terraces rising close above the present beach when we came upon plentiful pottery debris, marking former occupation. On these terraces, divided by ravines and suggesting an earlier shore line, remains of rubble-built walls from decayed dwellings were to be seen for some 250 yards. At the western edge of this area, known by the name of Haivandt, a ruined wall built with large rough blocks of stone runs for about 80 yards down to the shore. It looked as if meant for a chiusa blocking the track.
From a much-decayed oblong cistern situated about 2 miles farther on there extends a wide alluvial fan covered with abundant scrub and known by the name of Chah-kaur. For a distance of more than a mile indications of former occupation could clearly be traced. First, over some 500 yards there extend rubble-built walls of ruined dwellings. Between them we found the debris of ancient pottery of a peculiar type, mostly of dark-red colour, often ribbed and always very thick and hard. Then, farther on, the place of these ruins is taken by what evidently were terraced fields divided by similar walls, also much decayed. Potsherds of the same type could be found here, too, in places, and with them also a few fragments of plain glazed green ware. A small Muhammadan cemetery found beyond a small ravine intersecting the terraced fields was marked by decayed stone heaps and looked coeval. The width of this area of old cultivation where we left it and descended to the track leading along the beach was close on half a mile.
About 1 miles ahead, plentiful pottery debris of the same type marked another small area of habitations. Thence terraced fields divided by old walls of large stones were found to stretch continuously for a mile or so, along what could clearly be recognized as an earlier shore line, rising some 25-30 feet above the present beach. Not far beyond the northern end of this once-cultivated stretch of ground we came upon the first of a series of ancient kilns, where broken pottery of the .above-described type lay in abundance. The position close by the shore of a small bay must have been very convenient for shipping this ware. Near by, at the side of a ravine, two ruined cisterns of oblong shape were to be seen, one measuring 12 feet across, both of which had at one time been covered by vaulting.
It was the same also at a group of other old kilns met about 12 miles farther on. There, too, sherds of the same dark-red fabric, very strong and mostly showing the characteristic ribbing ( for specimens see Châh-kaur, 7-9, Pl. XXVI ), lay strewn right down to the beach. There was plenty of this ware to be found among the ruins of Sirâf. No doubt it was the chief local product which this poor strip of coast could ever have supplied to the great medieval