Stupas, Buddha statue pieces found in Bamyan
BAMYAN CITY (PAN): A team of Afghan and French archeologists have found two rare stupas and parts of a Buddha statue in central Bamyan province.
The discovery was made recently by a six-member team of archeologists, led by an Afghan professor, Zamaryalai Tarzai, who said they started excavations on July 17, 2011.
He added they had found two red monastery stupas and pieces of Buddha Sedwa. Stupa is a place where Buddhist pilgrims collect their offerings and Sedwa is a Buddhist prince who has not yet met requirements to become the Buddha.
Prof. Tarzai told Pajhwok Afghan News one stupa is eight metres long and eight metres wide. Work on that stupa has been completed. But the second stupa's measurements are yet to be determined.
Work on the second Stupa would be completed by the end of Ramadan, he hoped, saying a number of pieces of the Buddha Sedwa were also discovered.
With 20 percent of them intact, 80pc of the pieces were ruined during the Ghoris era (12th & 13th centuries), when gems were extracted from them.
Discoveries were also made in the hills located opposite the two dynamited Buddha statues, with a 1600-year-old history, he said, adding the sites were to be transformed into a museum in the near future.
Hailing the discoveries as an achievement, Hamza Yousafi, a member of the Historical Monuments Office at the Bamyan Information and Culture Department, said if security was ensured, museums of historical objects could be set up in the country.
Yousafi said: "It is too early to showcase the artifacts because the current security situation does not warrant their display."
Bamyan Historical Monuments Manager Abdul Hamid Jalya said all immovable archeological objects, detected over the past 10 years, were packed in boxes and then sealed in the presence of representatives from the governor’s house, prosecutor’s office, National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Prof. Zamaryalai Tarzai.
Jalya said he did not know the exact number of the objects, as they were not officially handed over to the departments of information and museums.
However, Tarzai said they would explain their achievements to Afghan officials and turn in the portable historical items to the Ministry of Information and Culture next year.
The team has been conducting research on the historical objects located around the two Buddha statues for the past 10 year and had made several discoveries.
The team has unearthed more than 150 archeological items so far. The important discoveries include seven stupas, heads of statues, busts, a kneeling Buddha, baked clay, carved stones, as well as golden and silver coins.
The Buddhists were living between the 2nd and 5th centuries and two of their statues -- 55 and 33 meters high -- were destroyed by the Taliban on March 11, 2001. The Taliban considered the statues un-Islamic.
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