> Sad to hear. I would hope much of it wound up in private collections or
> foreign museums -- where it has a better chance of being preserved
> than in a war zone.
Prof. Victor Sarianidi [Institute of Archaeology, Moscow] for more than thirty
years has crossed the deserts of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan searching
for ancient settlements. He discovered a 4,000 year-old civilization in the regions
of Bactria and Margiana, and found six untouched burials. These burials contained
over 20,000 gold objects of exquisite workmanship.
Ahmed Shah Massoud declared (to Newsweek magazine), just before his death,
that << The Tillya-tepe treasures [about 20,000 golden pieces] were in the presidential
palace basement [during 1996] in a safe with a steel gate and a password for entry.
When the Talibans came, they gave a receipt to the director of the bank saying “we safely
receive all the treasures of the bank,” and I have a copy of that receipt.>>. He also said
<< To be honest, under the circumstances that we are in and considering we are fighting
a war, we have not done much. We have taken small steps. For instance, it was reported
to us that there were illegal excavations in Panshjir Valley. We confiscated certain things
that people had already found and stopped the excavations. When I was informed we made
it very clear. But I am more in favor of these historical artifacts remaining underground and
buried for the time being. One of my regrets is that I didn’t take the objects of the Afghan
National Museum of Kabul to a safer place. >>
Pictures and references
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