Thursday, September 11, 2014

Saving Buddhist statues: Afghanistan’s big dig

Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; ,, 6-24-14)
An archeologist in Logar.
An archaeologist in Logar Province, Afghanistan (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
Ancient statues and other artifacts are buried under Mes Aynak -- and so is a $40 billion copper mine.

Saving Afghanistan's Cultural Treasures
Gilded face (Prof. Brent E. Huffman)
MES AYNAK, Afghanistan - Less than half an hour’s drive from [the current Afghan capital of] Kabul, the congested and narrow two-lane highway is scarred with craters from improvised explosive devices [thanks to the U.S. Empire's attempt to seize, enslave, and include Afghanistan in its imperial holdings].

Logar province, southeast of Kabul, is considered one of the most dangerous [provinces] in Afghanistan. It’s near Pakistan’s volatile Waziristan region, where armed militants roam freely across the porous border.

French map showing Messe Aynak, Kabul
Here, in the midst of vast desert, a massive archaeological dig is taking place under the watchful eye of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MMP).

Mes Aynak (“little copper well” in Dari), which was once a [Buddhist] city on the Silk Road [competing with Bamiyan, Afghanistan, as possibly the original Kapilavastu, the "Shakya'stan"/Sakkastan where Shakyamuni the Buddha was born and raised], is home to one of Central Asia’s oldest Buddhist artifacts, dating to the time of Alexander the Great.
Great Afghan stupa at Mes Aynak (AS)
Buddhist statues and sculptures, intricate monastic complexes, stupas [one massive Scythian stupa, or "burial mound," is shown at left, which possibly contains up to 1/8th of the Buddha's relics] and frescoes, pottery, [Scythian and Bactrian] coins, gold jewelry, and an ancient copper mine are buried beneath this mountainous 4.8-million-square-foot [Buddhist temple archeological] site.
Afghanistan lost a rich piece of cultural heritage in 2001 when the Taliban [aided and abetted by the CIA setting the stage for an American invasion, much as they are currently doing with ISIS/ISIL to set up a pretext for the invasion and full-spectrum dominance of more of the geopolitical "Middle East"] used dynamite to blow up two massive Buddha statues carved into sandstone [Himalayan] cliffs in Bamiyan in northern Afghanistan [along the Hindu Kush, which is part of the extensive Himalayan range]. 

Mes Aynak,Tepe Narenj (
Now the country is at risk of losing many [2.6] thousand-year-old artifacts if this excavation isn’t finished soon.
In addition to its cultural significance, Mes Aynak is the site of one the world’s largest undeveloped copper deposits.
On April 25, 2008, the MMP signed a 30-year, $3 billion contract with the China Metallurgical Group, a state-owned mining enterprise based in Beijing.
The deal is the largest foreign investment in Afghanistan to date. The Chinese have already spent close to $200 million on payments to the Afghan government and on preliminary work on the site.

But the mining project is at a standstill until the archaeological dig is completed. More

Mes Aynak Buddha statues revealed by early archeological digging (

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