The Taliban said they began to search for and locate the 2,000-year-old Bactrian treasure, also known as Bactrian gold. “The problem is being investigated and we will collect information to find out what the reality is. If he was transferred (out of Afghanistan), it is a betrayal against Afghanistan, ”said Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the cultural commission of the interim Taliban cabinet, quoted by Tolo News. “The Afghan government will take serious action if this and other ancient artifacts are moved out of the country,” Wasiq said.
Over 20,000 artefacts
The Bactrian treasure was excavated in 1978-79 in the tombs of six wealthy nomads, dating from the first century BC to the first century AD, in the Tela Tapa or Hill of Gold region of the Sherberghan district in the north of Afghanistan. The tombs of the Saka tribes of Central Asia, perhaps, or of the Yuezhi of northwestern China, contained more than 20,000 artifacts, including gold cupids, dolphins, gods and dragons encrusted with semi stones. -valuable items such as turquoise, carnelian and lapis lazuli. They also contained gold rings, coins, weapons, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, weapons and crowns.
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Viktor Sarianidi, the Moscow archaeologist who led the joint Soviet-Afghan team that discovered the graves, compared the impact of the find to the 1922 find of Tutankhamun’s tomb. “Bactrian gold shook the archaeological world. Nowhere in antiquity so many different objects from different cultures – Chinese-inspired boot buckles, Roman coins, Siberian-style daggers – have not been found together in situ, “wrote Sarianidi. , according to Smithsonian Magazine.
“The 2,000-year-old artifacts found with them exhibit a rare blend of aesthetic influences (from Persian to Classical Greek) and the large number of precious objects found have surprised archaeologists, especially the intricate golden crown found in the sixth grave, ”he added. The Smithsonian Magazine reported in 2009 that, for example, the tiara, “a five-inch-high crown of hammered gold leaf, conveniently folds for travel, and a gold figure the size of an inch of gold. ‘a mountain sheep is delicately incised with curved horns and flared nostrils.’
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Kushan Empire, Buddha
Sarianidi believed that the treasure was assembled by Yuezhi nobles from China, who arrived in the Bactrian region around the 2nd century BC and then established the Kushan Empire in India. Other researchers say the treasure was buried by Scythians from modern Iran. “The contested theories reveal the variety of influences that make up this immense collection of objects. Other items include a Roman coin with the head of Emperor Tiberius, a silver mirror with Chinese engravings, rings with Greek text, and a coin with Buddhist images, ”National Geographic magazine said. in 2016.
Sarianidi and her workers found a skull and skeleton surrounded by gold jewelry and ornaments during the excavation. These were the remains of a woman, aged 25 to 30, whom Sarianidi called a nomad princess. “He later found and excavated five additional graves, all of them simple trenches containing uncovered wooden coffins containing the remains of once richly clad bodies,” according to Smithsonian Magazine.
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Sarianidi’s team discovered in the tomb of a chief – the only man found at the site – daggers and scabbards studded with turquoise and a braided gold belt with embossed medallions that bear the image riding a panther . Some say the image is of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, and others think it is the Bactrian goddess Nana sitting on a lion. An Indian medallion was also found near the chief’s rib cage by excavators. Véronique Schiltz, a French archaeologist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, said he wore one of the earliest depictions of Buddha.
The remains of a woman in her thirties were found in a nearby tomb and she wore signet rings with images of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, and a pair of matching pendants with gold figurines gripping dragons in S-shaped. Another tomb, that of a teenage girl, contained thin gold shoe soles as well as a Roman coin minted at the beginning of the first century AD at Lugdunum gaulois, present-day Lyon, France.