“New” Buddha statues discovered in Afghanistan

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The Taliban may have destroyed the two historic Buddha statues of Bamiyan, but in a sort of compensation, three new statues have been excavated by Afghan archaeologists in the historic city of Mes Aynak. These aren’t giant sculptures, like the ones at Bamiyan were, but they’re still life size and one has escaped damage by looters.

The earliest Buddhist remains in the city are almost 2,000 years old. Mes Aynak, an important stop on the Silk Road, was at the peak of its prosperity between the fifth and seventh centuries. It went into decline in the eighth century and the settlement was finally abandoned 200 years later.

The Buddhist ruins were scheduled to be destroyed at the end of July 2012 for the purposes of mining copper, but for reasons that include political instability, this has been delayed, although the destruction may take place later this year.

Wildmind helped sponsor the making of a documentary, Saving Mes Aynak, by Brent E. Huffman, showing the work that archaeologists are undertaking in order to retrieve as much as possible of the ancient city’s precious past.

You can help save priceless discoveries like these by buying a limited-edition film poster today. The proceeds of these poster sales go to Afghan archaeologists working at Mes Aynak.

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