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Home | Opinions | Culture | Archaeologists unearthing unique pieces in Mes-e-Aynak

Archaeologists unearthing unique pieces in Mes-e-Aynak

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Archaeologists unearthing unique pieces in Mes-e-Aynak
 Logar is one of the historical and ancient provinces of Afghanistan, enjoying lovely climate and natural springs since old times that have paved the way for accommodation, growth of plants, animals and livestock breeding and led to creation of villages and residential areas.
Pul-e-Alam, the provincial capital of Logar located 64km south of the capital Kabul and borders Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Maidan Wardak and Ghazni provinces. This province has sheltered numerous ancient sites and historical monuments including Sajavand, Kharwar, Baraki Barak, Musahi, Ainak Copper, that each represent different historical eras respectively.
Located 20 km on eastern side of Kabul-Gardiz highway in the vicinity ofZahed Abad village, Ainak copper mine is one of the biggest and richest copper mines in the world. For the first time this site was surveyed in 1960s by Afghan-French archeologists and in 1970s Afghan and ex-USSR archeologists resurveyed it and ultimately, its ancient sites were fixed and registered.
According to its Standing Operational Procedure (SOP), the Archeology Department of the Ministry of Information and Culture, who is responsible to survey, excavate, discover and identify historical sites and ancient relics and research about them, has launched a vast excavation program in 2009 in Ainak copper area with support of the World Bank and from the development budget of the MoIC.
Since the beginning, nine rounds of excavations have been launched, where as a result Buddhist temples, Zoroastrian fire temples,Viharas, Sigharamas (residential place of Buddhist monks), Stupas, old copper extraction wells, divers metals coins, old caves, copper melting plant, graveyard, water supply system, copper, silver and earthenware dishes, clay, stone, metallic and wooden sculptures totally about 2500 pieces were unearthed and after registration, were officially sent to national museum of Afghanistan. The ninth-roundexcavation of Ainak copper mine site was officially started by Acting Minister of Information and Culture Prof Mohammad Rasool Bawari in Aug 2017. Since April 2017, the WB has been directly assisting MoIC through Extraction Project for Development of Afghanistan and Archeology Department.
The Ainak copper mine site is a total complex in which the then architects in different periods used all their skills and took into account all dimensions and construction aspects including construction of basements, water reservoir, canalization,sublines, construction of wide and high walls, defensive and observation towers and residential townships which were essential in the then developed society. For effective researches, Ainak copper mine site was divided to different points and under a general plan of archeology Department, 25 local and 2 international archeologists for excavation and researches, 3 experts for repairing of unearthed works, 3 architects and surveyors for preparing maps and plan of desired sites and about 300 local workers from adjacent villages were employed for cleaning, washing, digging of earthenware and started work in 26 places and completed excavation work in 12 points. The excavation of the rest sites will be resumed in 1397 (2018) according to the same plan with the cooperation of relevant archeologists. At the moment, according to our plan, registration of cultural layouts, photography of discovered constructions, preparing of general reports and other issues relevant to researches in an ancient site, are going on practically every day.


The unearthed movable works in this round include different metal, copper, silver coins, stone and clay sculptures, earthenware, big and small jars, bone made works, mortars, hammers and hand-mills which were used for breaking and grinding of copper stones, stones, crystal and clay made beads, transcription in Barahmani calligraphy on the Barks, which most likely belonged to 6th AC century.
But immovable unearthed works including two storied constructions for accommodation of large number of people, residential locations, kitchen, oven room, metals and jewelries workshop and caves that represent primary stages of life in Ainak copper site. These caves were reinforced with stone in later periods and were used for accommodation.
Under Ainak mountain, a number of ancient copper extraction wells were discovered in which the signs of spade use are clearly seen, and a quantity of copper coins that belonged to Koshanids and Sassanids eras were discovered.
The results of excavations and researches have cleared this issued that ancient people had lived there in three eras, and later left this place due to unknown reasons of probably severe storms, floods or fire and migrated eastward. This issue was confirmed by discovery of sculptures hidden behind porches plasters.In these rooms animal stool in mixture of clay was used instead of plaster of straw and clay so to be safe from enemies.
Researches show that this area was abundant for long time and investigations are going on about this issue that whether unexpected incidents caused abandoning of the area or invasion of Arab armies who came to introduce holy religion of Islam to this territory.
The existence of fallen and broken clay sculptures will be accountable to these questions.
In ongoing excavation about 752 copper coins of Koshanids era were unearthed and after registration of the delegation of archeology department, were officially handed over to national museum, The cleaning, protection, repairing and registration process of works is going on, on daily bases in the regional museum of Mes-e-Aynakcopper mine site. 
 

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