(MENAFN- Wadsam) Pieces of Buddhist manuscript written in Sanskrit on tree
bark were discovered on a hillside a few years ago in Mes Aynak—Afghanistan's
largest copper deposit located in southeast of Kabul in a barren region of
Logar Province—by the Afghan Institute of Archaeology.
Believed to date back to around the 7th century,
the manuscripts suggest the site was a prosperous Buddhist city.
According to experts, the site may have been the city described by seventh-century Chinese monk Xuanzang in the Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, which recorded his journey to India.
The Afghan government began a full-scale excavation of the
site in 2009. The site, hailed as one of the greatest archaeological
discoveries of this century, is facing a total destruction and is one of the
world's most critically endangered heritage sites.
In November 2007, a 30-year lease was granted
for the copper mine to China
Metallurgical Group Corp (MCC) for $3 billion, making
it the biggest foreign investment and private business venture in Afghanistan's
Today, this historical site is facing a battle between commerce and culture. Valiant archaeologists areracing against timeto save this 5,000-year-old archaeological site from destruction.
Till date only 10% of Mes Aynak has been
excavated. Experts believe future discoveries could redefine our understanding
of ancient Afghanistan and the history of early Buddhism.
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