Buddhist relics in danger in Mes Aynak, Afghanistan

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According to Art Newspaper, the world’s largest archaeological excavation is underway as archaeologist attempt to rescue ancient Buddhist monasteries in Mes Aynak, Afghanistan before the site is turned into an open-cast mine.  The site, a former training camp for Osama bin Laden, is now leased to a mining company in China and, at $3 billion, is the largest business opportunity in Afghanistan’s history.  The Buddhist monasteries date from the 3rd to 7th centuries. Archaeologists have uncovered a 260 foot walled complex with a stupa, a 25 foot reclining Buddha and wall paintings. Recovered artifacts are being moved to the National Museum in Kabul for conservation. Mining is scheduled for 2014.
For additional information on the excavations at Mes Aynak, visit Penn Museum Blog.

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