About Mes Aynak
The archaeological site of Mes Aynak, and by extension the copper deposit, is located about 40 km southeast of Kabul in the northern Logar and Wardak Provinces. The archaeological remains were recorded for the first time in 1963 by G. Fussman and M. Le Berre. Some years later, in 1977 a new survey was conducted to assess the potential of natural resources in Afghanistan. Having realized the importance of the site and its mining potential, other field investigations were subsequently carried out by the French Archeological Delegation in Afghanistan (DAFA) in 1980. The Mes Aynak site was finally included in the Archaeological Gazetteer of Afghanistan in 1982. Between 2002 to 2004, the site was looted, though some elements of Buddhist sculptures were subsequently seized by the police forces, before being handed back to the National Museum in Kabul.
Mes Aynak History:
Though illegal, these actions are a clear sign that Mes Aynak was already recognized as an important archaeological site for unravelling Afghanistan’s ancient history. The first extensive programme of excavations at Mes Aynak began in 2009, as a rapid response to the planned commencement of new mining activities on site. The archaeological project originated/ was originally run as a programme of rescue archaeology and was directly managed by the Ministry of Mines & Petroleum (MoMP) and the Ministry of Information & Culture (MoIC) principally funded by the World Bank with the assistance of a number of international teams. Around 109 different sites were identified within the MesAynak Archaeological Area. Some have been interpreted as Buddhist monasteries, due to the presence of stupas, sculptures, and wall paintings. Other sites seem to have had an industrial function dedicated to copper extraction and processing. There are also sites which are believed to have been used as residential and administrative areas, religious complexes and funerary contexts The architectural remains discovered in MesAynak suggest a first occupation of the site during the 3rd century AD. As for the latest phase of occupation of the site, it seems that it must be placed in the middle of the 8th century.
It appears that Mes Aynak was abandoned gradually from the second half of the 8th century AD onwards.
Mes Aynak – A Gem of Afghanistan
Mes Aynak, the largest copper deposit site and the oldest Budhist site in Afghanistan can easily be called as the gem of Afghanistan. Mes Aynak is undoubtedly one of the most and important Budhist archaeological sites in the world. French archaeologist , Philippe Marquis has called the site Mes Aynak “one of the most important points along the Silk Road”. Between 2010 to 2011,archaeologists recovered around 400 items from Mes Ayanak, more than the total items housed before the war in the National Museum of Afghanistan.
A Sneak Peak on Mes Aynak’s National Importance of Archaeology
Mes Aynak, situated at the confluence of rich cultures and civilizations, Afghanistan proudly boasts its unique and vast cultural heritage. Due to the geographically and geologically blessed location, Afghanistan possesses an abundance of natural resources which often makes a perfect duo with its glorifying cultural heritage. One of the ideal examples of this is MesAynak, a vast Archaeological site dating back to more than 2000 years sitting on the top of World’s second-largest copper deposit. This Archaeological site is located at 40 km south-east of Kabul.
We, the Archaeology Institute of Afghanistan, under the Ministry of Information and Culture, are the most esteemed Archaelogicial organization of Afghanistan. Our mission and vision meet the same objective- to Survey, Excavation, research, and protect all the Archaeological assets of our country where Mes Aynak is one of the most critical projects for us.
The proper maintenance of MesAynak, one of the crucial Archaeological sites of national importance, is our utmost concern.We have been able to identify more than 109 sites till yet and, we allow you to discover the hidden wonders of Mes Aynak through virtual 3D museum tour. The scientific database and Geographical information data can be availed upon request.