At least 30 photos of relics recovered from archeological sites in Mes Aynak copper mine, in Logar province, have gone on display in Kabul to mark the 50th anniversary of the archaeology department’s establishment in the Ministry of Information and Culture.
At least 3,000 relics have been recovered from the Mes Aynak archeological sites since 2009, said Nawroz Agha Noori, head of the department.
Some of the relics were discovered during excavations for copper in the area.
Mes Aynak contains the country’s largest copper deposit, as well as the remains of an ancient settlement with more than 400 Buddha statues, stupas and a 40-hectare monastery complex.
In addition to Mes Aynak’s vast complex of ancient Buddhist monasteries, homes, and market areas, it contains artifacts recovered from the Bronze Age, and some of the artifacts recovered date back over 3,000 years.
“We have three kinds of stupas in Mes Aynak. One of them is the central stupa in which parts of a Buddhist monks body, for instance hair or nails, were buried and worshiped,” Noori said.
Some of the recovered artifacts from Mes Aynak are displayed in galleries around the world, Noori said.
“We ask government to protect the relics based on the law,” said Estorai Shams Malyar, a member of the Science Academy of Afghanistan.
“This should be put on display out of this museum. People need to know more about the country’s relics and the history,” said Khalilullah Noorzad, a resident of Kabul.
Archaeologists believe that Mes Aynak is a major historical heritage site and has been called one of the most important points along the Silk Road.
There are thought to be 19 separate archaeological sites in the valley including two small forts, a citadel, four fortified monasteries, several Buddhist stupas and a Zoroastrian fire temple, as well as ancient copper workings, smelting workshops, a mint, and miners’ homes.