Mes Aynak has the second-largest known unexploited copper deposits in the world. The team is racing to rescue as much as possible before the Chinese mining work begins.
Sacred buried treasure can be found throughout Afghanistan (Wall Street Journal)
First the Taliban mindlessly dynamited 1,500+ year old statues of the Buddha, the tallest in the world. Now a massive ancient Buddhist monastery is under threat in Afghanistan from a copper and rare earth mining company.
Mining in Afghanistan (NPR)
A Chinese company intends to blow up an ancient Buddhist monastery south of Kabul to make way for a massive copper mine. The plan has sparked outrage among Afghan and French archeologists, who have recently uncovered more than 100 statues within a large spiritual complex that includes seven burial mounds (stupas) built to house the relics of saints.
Although the site was spotted by archaeologists in the 1960s, it was never excavated. During the late 1990s, the hill was home to an al-Qaida " training camp," according to a 2004 report by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
In recent years, looters damaged much of the monastic complex in search of antiquities, according to Nader Rassouli, director of Afghanistan's National Institute of Archaeology in Kabul, which is also participating in the current excavations.
- See more at Science Religion News with a link to a paid article in Science and AFP.
- NOTE: Because Chinese mining in Afghanistan threatens an ancient tomb complex, Afghan archeologists have unofficially only been given a short time to excavate the site, which due to the US war and other limitations is actually only long enough to describe what is there. But will this informal delay be honored before mining and the site's destruction begins?
- Rescuing Afghanistan's Buddhist history at Mes Aynak