Sec. ii] TO WARAWÎ AND UP THE GULF COAST 233
vinced me that there was no hope of proceeding with my programme of research as originally planned. But there remained the chance of a modification of the order being secured through the proper channel from Bushire, such as would permit of those researches being extended to ground removed from the disturbed area. This consideration supplied a special reason for accelerating the journey to Bushire, where early contact might be obtained with the authorities concerned. Accordingly a start was made up the coast on February 14th, as soon as the condition of the tents and other baggage after the deluge of the preceding day allowed it. No time could be spared for a visit to some ruined walls reported on a low sandstone ridge some distance to the north of Daiyir. The specimens of glazed pottery brought thence ( see Daiyir. 6, 8; Pl. XXVII) showed distinct similarity to ware found at Siraf, and the description of the ruined walls as being built with mortar also pointed to occupation in Muhammadan times.
The day's short march took us first past a series of curious mesas, composed of strata of clay overlain by calcareous sandstone, so fantastically undercut and eroded as to suggest action by sea-water at a period not very far distant. This suggestion seemed to accord with the local belief that most of the absolutely flat ground west of Daiyir, stretching away from the present shore to those terraces, was covered by the sea in comparatively recent times. After crossing this poorly cultivated stretch we came, at a distance of about 5 miles from Daiyir, upon a considerable debris area known as Bibi-khâtûn, from a zidrat marking the sup-. posed burial-place of a holy lady. It extends for fully a mile to the west of a small hillock of calcareous sandstone by the sea-shore, up to a wide khûr or creek. This is apparently still accessible for small boats, and is likely to have afforded shelter to craft on an otherwise exposed stretch of the coast. The site is covered with completely decayed remains from structures built with rough pieces of stone and mortar, just like those of Siraf; and the plentiful fragments of glazed ware, much of it relief-decorated, to be picked up among the ruined low walls, suggested occupation approximately of the same period. Some 6 miles beyond this site we halted near the small village of Betâneh, the name of which local popular etymology derives from bût-kbe neh ( `house of idols') .
The next two marches carried us over ground of singular uniformity to where the Mând river rising in the mountains of Fars debouches into the sea. The route led all the way over flat stretches of ground from to 1 1- miles in width, separating the foot of a sandstone hill chain from the sea-shore. Great mud flats extending beyond this for miles seemed to indicate that here also the sea had been receding. Plantations of date-palms and scattered small hamlets were passed most of the way, but no old remains could be traced either here or on the wide alluvial plain through which the Mând river makes its way to the sea.