In September 2012 a group of archaeologists working for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) and the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) discovered a Buddha sculpture from the 5th century A.D. that had remained almost intact. The figure was found on the south wall of Room 15, in the so-called MA045 of Mess Aynak. Located at the top of a hill on the western Aynak mountain, experts assume that the complex (MA045) was used as a monastery. The sculpture is a beautiful representation of a seated Buddha that transmits the peace and sanctity that the site would have possessed in ancient times.
In 2016,thanks to World Bank funds and the technical support of UNESCO, the sculpture was restored by two skilled conservators, Ms. Livia Alberti and Mr. Ermanno Carbonara. The team was supported by Ms. Parvina Abdulloeva, conservator from MoMP team, and the participation of two employees of the National Institute of Archaeology of Afghanistan, Mr. Mohammad Hasan Mubarez and Ms. Nadia Alam Haidari, as observers/trainees. The work mainly took place in the DAFA’s laboratory in Kabul, and was completed in the laboratory of the National Museum of Afghanistan.
The restoration process took over 10 weeks of intense work. The procedure focused firstly on stabilizing the sculpture and consolidating the niche. The head of the sculpture had been detached and the experts had to restore it to its original position. Mortars and binders were studied to ensure the proper stabilization of the sculpture and to ensure a durable but non-invasive result. The outcome was an outstanding work of restoration that enables us to enjoy and admire the beauty of Mes Aynak.