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Work in Afganistan?
#1
Just seen this on Yahoo News

Quote:Afghan archaeologists find Buddhist site as war rages

1 hour 23 mins ago
[Image: reute.jpg] Sayed Salahuddin
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Archaeologists in Afghanistan, where Taliban Islamists are fighting the Western-backed government, have uncovered Buddhist-era remains in an area south of Kabul, an official said on Tuesday. [url=http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20100817/tts-uk-afghanistan-buddhist-relics-ca02f96.html#ynw-article-part2][/url]
"There is a temple, stupas, beautiful rooms, big and small statues, two with the length of seven and nine meters, colourful frescos ornamented with gold and some coins," said Mohammad Nader Rasouli, head of the Afghan Archaeological Department.
"Some of the relics date back to the fifth century (AD). We have come across signs that there are items maybe going back to the era before Christ or prehistory," he said.
"We need foreign assistance to preserve these and their expertise to help us with further excavations."
The excavation site extends over 12 km (7.5 miles) in the Aynak region of Logar province just south of Kabul, where China is mining copper ore as part of its multi-billion dollar investments in the Central Asian country.
Rasouli said the mining work had not harmed the sites -- which were known but had not been examined in detail -- but smugglers managed to loot and destroy some relics before the government excavation work began last year.
Government and foreign troops are battling an insurgency led by the radical Taliban movement which destroyed Buddhist statues at Bamyan during its five-year control of the mountainous country from 1996 to 2001, viewing the monuments as an affront to Islam.
Many antiquities and historical sites were destroyed or pillaged during decades of civil war and foreign interventions.
Now almost entirely Muslim, Afghanistan has seen eras in its long history when other faiths such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism were widely practised.
Rasouli said the government did not have the resources to move the relics from the remote area, which has seen some clashes during the insurgency, but hoped to build a museum there instead.
(Reporting by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by Andrew Hammond and Sanjeev Miglani)

I don't want to knock this, it is somehow reasuring to see that archaeology is still valued and archaeologists are still willing to work in what is an extremely difficult situation. Whilst this does not appear to refer to Helmand, I am not sure of the wisdom of western archaeologists travelling to Afganistan to explore the country's pre-Muslim past at the moment.
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#2
The brash young'un in me thought initially "Awesome! Lets go!". Talk about an adventure. But, your questioning "of the wisdom of western archaeologists travelling to Afganistan to explore the country's pre-Muslim past at the moment" is a darn good reason why not.

I know I was sad when I read about the shelling of the Buddhist sculpture back during the heyday of the Taliban and think it is respectable that someone is putting their life at risk for the rescue of cultural resources, but it is no wonder why they have trouble getting Westerners to help B)
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#3
Anyone thinking of going dont expect to come back.
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#4
You've worked around Birmingham then?
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#5
Sounds more like Southampton in my experience!

But this lot are doing good things out there: http://www.turquoisemountain.org/ and I have that on independent corroboration. In spite (or perhaps because) of being founded by an Eton educated former soldier and spy (and Tory MP) and being patronised by the heir to the throne.

The Aga Khan's foundation was also doing some work on building survey and there was an article on this in one of last years IFA buildings group newsletter. Not that any of you lot would have seen it!!
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#6
Dinosaur Wrote:You've worked around Birmingham then?

HA! That made me laugh out loud!
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#7
Due to some (presumably cosmic) circularity, it sounds like thanks to the good work in Afghanistan kevlar underpants may soon be available in good army-surplus stores countrywide so those scary inner-city digs may become a thing of the past Smile
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#8
ANd that made me laugh as well... to be serious, when I wouild come back from what many thought were dangerous places, I would be in more danger in Leith!
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