Searching for treasure, looters ravaged this larger-than-life Buddha. “Archaeology is the only way to protect the site,” says Philippe Marquis, who oversaw excavation until 2014.
|War brought to light hidden Buddhist history.|
|Boy gathers potatoes in Bamiyan (W).|
But the texts refer to two others appropriate to the three traditional seasons: hot, rainy, and cold. The two other locations for palaces were likely modern Kabul and Mes Aynak.
- A Young People's Life of the Buddha (Ven. Silacara)
|Massive Buddhas of Bamiyan|
|Afghanistan (left), Bihar (right)|
|Siddhartha's former wife, Bimba-devi|
For example, when he wore saffron robes, slept on the floor, and took only one meal a day, she did the same. She was stuck in the luxurious palace with the royal family raising their son, Prince Rahula, next in line to rule.
|Our Buddhist heritage: National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul (nationalmuseum.af)|
Rescuing Mes Aynak
The faces of ancient local figures depicted in painted clay evoke a time when Mes Aynak was a crossroads of Central Asia. Left: A member of the archaeological team working to save the rich cultural heritage of Mes Aynak. Patron (R), 2.8 inches, 4th-7th century, Kabul Museum.
Some 500 local laborers were employed at the site in 2012, hurrying to rescue its treasures before Chinese mining was due to begin. With mining delayed, a smaller crew works today in an area where insurgent influence is growing.
An eight-foot-tall stone shrine at Mes Aynak, Afghanistan, appears much larger than it is. Archaeologists have uncovered only a fraction of the sprawling Buddhist complex, which dates from the third to the eighth centuries A.D. (Simon Norfolk)
Mega copper deal [with Chinese] in Afghanistan fuels rush to save ancient [Shakyan Buddhist] treasures. Under threat of Taliban attack, archaeologists are excavating a spectacular Buddhist complex before it’s obliterated by a huge mining operation [after gold and rare earth minerals].
The team of archaeologists working to preserve Mes Aynak uncovered a life-size gilded plaster head of the Buddha (left). A modern Muslim laborer on the team is shown at right.
Detail of copper and gold bowl from Tepe Baba Wali, Mes Aynak depicts a snarling lion.