I've caught up on recent archaeological news, but Mohammed will be taking a break too. Meanwhile, since there is no catalogue of the exhibition, I thought it might be worth posting over the next week or so some of the items in the Paris exhibition of Afghan treasures. Many of them were hidden away soon after they were found - which saved them, but also meant that few archaeologists got the chance to see them. I'll be posting them chronologically, starting with these vessels, which are amongst the earliest Afghan treasures.
All these items were found at Tepe Fullol, and date from the Bronze Age Bactrian culture of circa 2100 - 2000 BC.
Cup with geometric design
Gold, ht. 9.9 cm
Musée National d’Afghanistan – MK 04.29.1
Bowl with a boar, and decorated with a tree on a Mountain.
Gold, ht. 11.6 cm
Musée National d’Afghanistan– MK 04.29.3
Bowl with bulls
Gold, ht. 14.9 cm
Musée National d’Afghanistan– MK 04.29.5
All photographs from the exhibition Afghanistan Rediscovered at the Guimet Museum in Paris. © Thierry Ollivier / musée Guimet
From the Guimet's web site about Tepe Fullol:
The fortuitous discovery of the Fullol treasure in 1966 was to lift the veil on an area of history hitherto completely unknown, that of the vast ensemble which covers Afghanistan, eastern Iran and Turkmenistan during the Bronze Age, in about 2,000 years BCE. Between the Indus Civilisation and Mesopotamia, a « new » civilisation emerged with its bronze seals, its composite statues of « goddesses » in abstract silhouette, its gold and silver cups decorated with animals set in landscapes, with its troupe of strange creatures and bearded bulls, or geometric motifs, a distant echo of the Quetta ceramics.
After the digs at Mundigak, in the south, not far from Kandahar, which had revealed a veritable « Helmand Civilisation » during the Bronze Age, Fullol showed the north, a few centuries later, to have a very particular culture whose very existence goes some way to explaining the dynamism of the Indus Civilisation; and the excavations at Shortughai demonstrated that the two had had contact with each other. Controlling the lapis lazuli sources in remote Badakshan (north of Afghanistant), this culture is connected with Sumer and Ur, or Mohendjo-Daro. To the south of the town of Baghlan, a single discovery also revealed a whole hitherto unsuspected trading network between the Near East, Central Asia, Afghanistan and the Indus Valley, testifying to what Pierre Amiet would call « the age of inter-Iranian trade ».