AFGHANISTAN viii. Archeology



viii. Archeology

The first careful reports on the antiquities of Afghanistan were provided by 19th-century travelers, including the horse dealer W. Moorcroft (with G. Trebeck, Travels in the Himalayan Provinces of Hindustan and the Punjab; in Ladakh and Kashmir; in Peshawar, Kabul, Kunduz, and Bokhara; from 1819 to 1825, 2 vols., London, 1838; ed. H. H. Wilson, London, 1841); the French soldier of fortune at the Sikh court, General A. Court (“Conjectures sur les marches d’Alexander dans la Bactriane,” JA 3rd. ser., 4, 1837, pp. 359-96); A. Burnes (Travels into Bokhara, a Journey from India to Cabool, Tartary, and Persia in 1831-33, 3 vols., 2nd. ed., London, 1835); J. G. Gerard (“Memoir on the Topes and Antiquities of Afghanistan,” JASB 3, 1834, pp. 29); and Munshi Mohan Lal (“A Brief Description of Herat,” JASB 3, 1834, pp. 9-18). Already in 1832 the Hungarian homeopath and gunpowder-maker in the Sikh service, M. Honigberger, cut into Buddhist stupas in search of treasure thought to be included with the reliquaries. These activities were reported by E. Jacquet (“Notice sur les découvertes archéologiques faites par Martin Honigberger dans l’Afghanistan,” JA 3rd ser., 2, 1836, pp. 234-77; 4, 1837, pp. 401-40; 5, 1838, pp. 163-97; 7, 1839, pp. 385-404; see also Honigberger’s Thirty-Five Years in the East, London, 1852). In 1834-37 C. Masson was officially employed by the East India Company to collect antiquities in Afghanistan. His maps and descriptions, particularly of the areas of Jalālābād and Hadda and of Bagrām, were pioneering contributions, although his “excavations” were unscientific (see his Narrative of Various Journeys in Belochistan, Afghanistan, and the Punjab; including a Residence in those Countries from 1826 to 1836, 3 vols., London, 1842; and W. W. Wilson, Ariana Antiqua: A Descriptive Account of the Antiquities and Coins of Afghanistan with a Memoir on the Buildings called Topes by C. Masson, Esq., Calcutta, 1841).

Scientific exploration in Afghanistan began after September, 1922, when A. Foucher signed, on behalf of the French government, a diplomatic treaty with Afghanistan. In it was recognized the establishment of the Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan (DAFA). Since 1928 this mission has recorded its investigations in a major publication series, the Mémoires (MDAFA). French research concentrated on pinpointing evidence for the spread of Hellenism, tracing the silk route, and studying the relationship of Gandharan art to the Buddhist art of the Afghan area. Balḵ was probed (1924) for evidence of Hellenism but without results; and work shifted to the major ancient sites of Bāmīān, Bagrām, and Hadda. DAFA returned to Balḵ in 1947 under D. Schlumberger but failed to find any pre-Kushan evidence. In 1949 Schlumberger transferred operations to Laškarī Bāzār in the south, thus beginning DAFA’s first large-scale study of Islamic ruins. J. M. Casal directed its first Bronze Age excavations at Mondīgak in 1951. In 1952 Schlumberger was diverted to Sorḵ Kōtal, north of the Hindu Kush, after roadbuilders had unearthed stone blocks inscribed with a form of Greek script. Excavations at this Kushan temple complex revealed the first concrete evidence for an indigenous Bactrian art and shed new light on the development of Gandharan art. A further notable find occurred in 1963, when a large Corinthian capital was brought to DAFA’s attention. It came from Āy Ḵānom on Afghanistan’s northern boundary, where the Kōkča and Panǰ rivers meet. Excavations there (Schlumberger to 1965, P. Bernard, 1965-80, J. C. Cardin) revealed the easternmost city of Greek culture yet known. It bears, however, many distinctly oriental traits and speaks clearly of strong local rulers with syncretic tastes in architecture, art, and religion.

Actual excavations by any country other than France did not occur until after World War II. A brief survey had been made by two Englishmen in 1938 (E. Barger and P. Wright, Excavations in Swat and Explorations in the Oxus Territories of Afghanistan, MASI 64, 1941). In 1947 R. E. Mortimer Wheeler, Director-General of Archaeology in India, made an official three-week tour (see his “Archaeology in Afghanistan,” Antiquity 21/82, 1947, pp. 57-65). Surface collections were made by B. de Cardi in 1950 in Qandahār and Farāh provinces. Finally site excavations began in the winter of 1950-51 during the second expedition of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) directed by W. Fairservis, when Šamšīr Ḡār and Deh Morāsī Ḡonday, 17 miles southwest of Qandahār, were investigated by L. Dupree. This work provided the first Bronze Age data for the territory of Afghanistan. Subsequent American research dealt principally with the prehistoric period. In 1954 C. Coon discovered, in the rock-shelter at Qara Kamar, an Aurignacian Upper Paleolithic blade industry (ca. 32,000 B.C.) and a Mesolithic one (ca. 10,500 B.C.). Dupree (director of the AMNH mission until 1970, thereafter the American Universities Field Staff representative) made an extensive survey in northern Afghanistan in 1959; he followed this with excavations at Āq Koprūk, where findings included a large and fine Upper Paleolithic assemblage (ca. 15,000-10,000 B.C.). Further important finds are noted in the survey section, below. Other Americans investigated in the Sīstān deserts, where results were especially important for the Islamic period: G. Dales led work for the University of Pennsylvania’s University Museum (1968-71); and W. Trousdale explored for the Smithsonian Institution (1971-77).

By the early 1950s, the emerging archeological evidence pointed to the importance of the Afghan area in the dissemination of Buddhism to Central Asia and thence eastward. Contributing to this evidence were epigraphical studies of Hephthalite inscriptions. R. N. Frye of Harvard University and R. Ghirshman of DAFA investigated Tang-e Azāo, near Češt in Herat province (Frye, “An Epigraphical Journey in Afghanistan,” Archeology 7/2, 1952, pp. 114-18); while A. D. H. Bivar (then of Oxford University) recorded inscriptions at Orūzgān, north of Qandahār (“The Inscriptions of Uruzgan,” JRAS 1954, pp. 112-18). Buddhological research attracted Japanese archeologists. The Kyoto University Scientific Mission to the Iranian Plateau and the Hindu Kush (S. Mizuno, director) arrived in 1959 to begin surveys and excavations at Lalma and Bāsawal (in the Jalālābād region), Taḵt-e Rostam and Hazār Som (near Aybak), and Dūrman Tapa, Čaqalaq Tapa, and Kondūz. In 1967 the mission was renamed the Kyoto University Archaeological Mission to Central Asia; and T. Higuchi became director. Since then the principal excavation has been at Tapa Sekandar, north of Kabul. This site has shed new light on the Hendūšāhī period (between the decline of Buddhism and the establishment of Islam in Afghanistan). The series of publications which record the Kyoto University findings are referred to in the survey, below. In 1969, the Archaeological Survey of India also entered Afghanistan. Its team, directed by R. Sengupta, has done admirable service in the preservation of the Buddhist monuments at Bāmīān and the shrine of Ḵᵛāǰa Pārsā in Balḵ.

The study of Islamic-period sites has especially been pursued by the Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente [IsMEO]. In 1957, following a preliminary survey the year before, G. Tucci and U. Scerrato began excavations at the palace of Sultan Masʿūd III (492-508/1099-1115) in Ḡaznī. The finds from this excavation are on display in a 10th/16th-century mausoleum restored by IsMEO (A. Bruno, 1966); the Italian restoration program also included the mosque of Shah Jahān in Bābor’s Garden, Kabul (1964-66). Moreover, exploratory excavations al the Tapa Sardār mound in Ḡaznī (1959-62) were expanded under M. Taddei and continue to produce important pre-Islamic evidence. IsMEO’s excavations reports, as well as other archeological studies, are published in its journal, East and West. Other important research in the Islamic period has included K. Fischer’s direction of a comprehensive project in Sīstān (1968-73) under the auspices of Bonn University. This has culminated in the publication of Nimruz, Geländbegehungen in Sistan 1955-1973 und die Aufnahme von Dewal-i Khodaydad 1970 (Bonn, I, 1976, II, 1974). Meanwhile the British Academy founded the British Institute of Afghan Studies in 1972 (R. Pinder-Wilson, director, 1976-82). Its first excavations, in the old city at Qandahār, were initiated under D. Whitehouse in 1974; it publishes its reports in Afghan Studies.

From the beginnings of systematic archeology in Afghanistan, some Afghan scholars, such as A. A. Kohzad, were closely involved. Although archeology is not regarded as a prestigious career in Afghanistan, some Afghan students have studied the subject in France and Italy. C. Mustamindy, after returning from Italy, opened the first Afghan-directed excavations in 1965 at Tapa Šotor (Hadda). When the Afghan Institute of Archaeology (AIA) was established in 1966, he became its first director-general: he was succeeded from 1973 to 1979 by Z. Tarzi (who received his doctorate in France). As a result of a UNESCO-sponsored conference in Dushanbe in 1968, a Kushan Center was established within the AIA; and in 1970 an international meeting on the coordination of Kushan studies and archaeological research in Central Asia held in Kabul resolved to publish works on the progress of Kushan studies. Several collections of studies (Kushan Culture and History) have since appeared in Kabul. Western-language articles on archeology, by Afghans and others, have appeared since 1946 in the Afghan Historical Society’s quarterly journal, Afghanistan. Persian and Paṣ̌tō articles have appeared in the journal Āryānā since 1942.

Besides these initiatives, the joint Afghan/Soviet Archaeological Mission, co-directed by I. Kruglikova (1969 on), has worked north of the Hindu Kush in sites ranging from the Stone Age to the medieval period. Ālten, a series of Achaemenid period mounds northwest of Balḵ, provides new knowledge of the pre-Bactrian period and shows ties with the culture of Āy Ḵānom. The nearby Dašlī mounds form the first large Bronze Age complex to be extensively excavated in northern Afghanistan. Ṭelā Tapa near Šebarḡān and Delbarǰīn Kazān near Dašlī clarify the evolution of a distinctive Central Asian culture out of the Bactrian during the Kushan and Buddhist phase of northwest Afghanistan (for publications, see Kruglikova, ed., Drevnyaya Baktriya I-II, Moscow, 1976-79, and the survey below). Archeological research and restoration inside Afghanistan virtually ceased after the Soviet intervention in 1979. For the major archeological sites of Afghanistan, see FIGURE 18.

The following survey of major archeological sites is ordered by period of cultural climax. The name of the site is followed by that of the Afghan province (when not evident), then by the mission or institution involved, the field director, and the date of the investigation. Publications referred to are by the director, unless otherwise stated. Short references are used for missions and institutions:

AIA – Afghan Institute of Archaeology, Kabul.

AMNH – American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York.

A/S – Afghan/Soviet Archaeological Mission.

ASI – Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi.

AUFS – American Universities Field Staff, Hanover, New Hampshire.

BIAS – British Institute of Afghan Studies, London and Kabul.

DAFA – Delegation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan, Kabul.

IsMEO – Instituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, Rome.

SI – Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.


Lower Paleolithic, ca. 100,000 B.C. Hazār Som; Samangān (IsMEO, S. Puglisi, 1962). Possible “Clactonian” tools were reported (East and West N.S. 14/1-2. 1963). See also Kushan, Islamic.

Dašt-e Nāwor; Ḡaznī (AUFS, L. Dupree, 1974). The first tools definitely of this period to be identified in Afghanistan were removed from the surface of terraces east of a shallow, brackish lake. They are mainly of quartzite—large flakes, cores, cleavers, choppers, adzes, “proto-hand-axes,” and pebble tools (Afghanistan Journal 2/3, 1975). See also Middle Paleolithic, Epipaleolithic.

Mousterian Middle Paleolithic, ca. 50,000-30,000 B.C. Dara-ye Kūr, Bābā Darvīš; Badaḵšān (AMNH, Dupree, 1966). A rock-shelter was investigated and dated by carbon 14. Findings included approx. 800 lithic tools, debitage, a human temporal bone, animal bones, and fossil clams (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society N.S. 62/4, 1972). See also Neolithic.

Ḡār-e Gōsfand Morda, Gorzīvān; Fāryāb (AMNH, Dupree, 1970). A rock-shelter was investigated; possible siliceous limestone Mousterian tools were found (Science 167, 1970).

Dašt-e Nāwor (see above). Such definite Bābā Darvīš types as black “flint” Levallois flakes, side scrapers, points, and some possible burins were found.

Aurignacian, ca. 30,000 B.C. Qara Kamar, near Aybak; Samangān (University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, C. Coon, 1954). A rock-shelter, the first Paleolithic site excavated in Afghanistan, was dated by carbon 14. Finds included 82 flint implements, animal bones, and mollusks (Seven Caves, New York, 1957). See also Mesolithic.

Kuprukian Upper Paleolithic, ca. 18,000-10,000 B.C. Āq Koprūk; Balḵ (AMNH, Dupree, 1962, 1965). Excavations at four localities yielded a sequence from about 18,000 B.C. to the Later Iron Age; carbon 14 dates were obtained for most cultural periods. Upper Paleolithic finds included a sculptured limestone pebble which represents the oldest piece of portable cave art in Asia (Plate XIX/1), incised spatulas, points, and awls made of bone, and a flint toolkit: blades, cores, utilized and retouched side- and end-scrapers, burins, keeled scrapers, points, a micro-industry, and combination tools (“Prehistoric Research in Afghanistan [1959-1966],” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society N.S. 62/4, 1972, pp. 1-84). See Neolithic.

Kōkǰār, near Aybak; Samangān (AMNH, Dupree, 1969). A single-occupation, open-air site was investigated. The surface-collected flints closely resembled the industry of Āq Koprūk; they were mainly flake tools precisely struck—microcores and microblades (R. Davis, Afghanistan 22/3-4, 1970).

Dara Kalān, near Aybak; Samangān (IsMEO, Puglisi, 1965). Only the carbon 14 dates of the rock-shelter have been published (Radiocarbon 9, 1967).

Mesolithic, ca. 10,000 B.C. Qara Kamar (sea above). A rock-shelter was dated by carbon 14. Microlithic implements were found.

Between Andḵūy and Āqča on the Āmū Daryā (A/S, A. Vinogradov, 1969, 1975). Surface collections were made from sand dunes, revealing a rich concentration of Mesolithic and Neolithic flint implements; the basic industry was microlithic, with geometrics (Drevnyaya Baktriya II).

Epipaleolithic, ca. 7,000-6,500 B.C. Dunes north of Ḵolm; Samangān (DAFA, P. Gouin, 1968). Surface collected flints included characteristic “microburins” (Afghanistan 25/4, 1972). See also Iron Age.

Dašt-e Nāwor (see above, Mousterian; Dupree and R. Davis, 1976). A surface scatter of obsidian tools and chipping debris was collected from two sites in the north-central section of the Dašt. These are the first and only obsidian industries found to date (1982) in Afghanistan. A complex stone fortification of undetermined date sits on a hill above one of the obsidian sites (Journal of Field Archaeology 4/2, 1977).

Neolithic, ca. 8,000-2,000 B.C. Āq Koprūk (see above, Kuprukian). Ca. 8,000-3,000 B.C.: Non-ceramic Neolithic finds included sickle blades and other flint and bone implements, pecked stone hoes, celts, querns, and pounders, plus two types of pottery: a crude, soft chaff, limestone and crushed sherd tempered ware with flat bases and simple rounded rims, and a better fired pottery with zig-zag incised motifs. See Bronze Age.

Gorzīvān; Fāryāb (AMNH, Dupree, 1970). Ca. 6,000 B.C.: Open-air sites on terraces near a cave, Ḡār-e Gōsfand Morda, yielded flint implements.

Dara-ye Kūr (see above, Mousterian). Late Mountain, ca. 2,000 B.C.: Flint and bone implements and shell ornaments were found. Pit burials of children were in association with domesticated goats.

Ḡārlōlī, near Maymana; Fāryāb (AMNH, Dupree, 1969). The rock-shelter shows a regional Neolithic culture. Findings included distinctive hand-made, painted pottery with whorl and volute motifs which show a variety of profiles. See also Iron Age, Islamic.

Bronze Age, ca. 5,000-1,000 B.C. Sīstān and the region of Qandahār (AMNH, W. Fairservis, 1949, 1951). This was the first survey and recording of potential prehistoric sites (Anthropological Papers AMNH 48/1, 1961). Southern Sīstān; Nīmrūz (University of Pennsylvania, G. Dales, 1969, 1971). 3rd-2nd millennium: At Gardan Rēg the survey found pottery, beads, seals, pottery kilns of uncertain date, and a pre-Islamic copper furnace; some stone objects are identical to Tapa Ḥeṣār types ca. 1,800 B.C. (Expedition 12/1, 1969; Afghanistan 24/4, 1972). See also Islamic.

Āq Koprūk (see above, Neolithic). Ca. 5,000 B.C.: One fragment of beaten, bossed copper was found along with many flint implements and pottery. See also Kushan.

Mondīgak; Qandahār (DAFA, J. M. Casal, 1951-58). Ca. 3,000-1,000 B.C.: The site of a town mound was dated by carbon 14. A “palace” and “temple” were investigated. Findings included a sculptured limestone head, painted goblets, clay humanoid and animal figurines, “mother goddess” figurines, pottery drains, stone and clay dibble weights and spindle whorls, flint microliths, diverse bone and copper implements, bronze mirrors and knives, and necklaces of semi-precious stones. This and the two following sites are the earliest village assemblages yet identified in Afghanistan (MDAFA 17, 1961; Gouin, Arts Asiatiques 19, 1969).

Deh Morāsī Ḡonday, Qandahār. (AMNH, Dupree, 1951). Ca. 3,000-1,500 B.C.: This mound of a semi-sedentary village was the first Bronze Age site excavated in Afghanistan. It was dated by carbon 14, its peak period falling ca. 2,500 B.C. Findings included a shrine complex with a “mother goddess” figurine, painted goblet, copper tubing, steatite seal, and domesticated and wild grains embedded in mud-brick (Anthropological Papers AMNH 50/2, 1963; Gouin, see under Mondīgak, above).

Saʿīd Qaḷʿa Tapa; Qandahār (AMNH, Fairservis, 1951; J. Shaffer, 1970). Ca. 2,230-2,110 B.C.: Pottery was found when two test pits were sunk in the mound in 1951. The later work, dated by carbon 14, showed single and multi-room mud-brick dwellings and one large (town?) wall. The pottery resembled that of the above two sites. Other finds were steatite seals; bronze points, pins, and handles; ceramic figurines (a female, a bull); lapis beads; fragments of carnelian and quartz beads; meteoric-iron balls; bone points and awls (Prehistoric Baluchistan, Delhi, 1978). See also Kushan.

Āb-e Īstāda; Ḡaznī (AUFS, Dupree, 1974). Pottery similar to that of the Gomal (Indus valley) and Qandahār area sites was found through surface collection.

Ḵᵛoš Tapa, Follūl; Baḡlān (accidental find, 1966). Ca. 2,300 and 1,350 B.C.: A gold and silver hoard included goblets and bowls (Plate XIX/2) ornamented with raised geometrical and animal designs stylistically similar to Mesopotamian, Iranian, Indus valley, and Central Asian motifs. These were probably trade ware (Dupree, Archaeology 24/1, 1971; M. Tosi and R. Wardak, East and West N.S. 22/1-2, 1972).

Šortūgay, near Āy Ḵānom; Toḵār (DAFA, J. P. Francfort, 1975-79). Ca. 2,200-1,600 B.C.: This proto-historic mound complex was an important agricultural settlement. In addition to highly polished and finely retouched flint tools and projectile points, there is evidence of artisan activities, such as bronze and gold work, bracelets, and beads of semi-precious stone, faience, and clay. Sherds and a seal diagnostic of the Harappan civilization suggest that this was also an Harappan trading post (Arts Asiatiques 34, 1978).

Dawlatābād, Fāryāb (A/S, C. Mustamindy, V. Sarianidi, 1969). Ca. 2,000 B.C.: In three small mounds, pottery was found—well-fired footed vases and cups of fine clay, analogous with types of Namāzgāh Tapa V (Central Asia) and Dašlī Tapa (Kruglikova in Afghanistan 23/1, 1970).

Dašlī Tapa, northwest of Balḵ (A/S, Sarianidi with Mustamindy, 1970-73; with Z. Tarzi, 1973-77). 1,500-900 or 800 B.C.: A series of Bronze Age mounds were given the general designation “Dašlī” (D). D1 contained a fort and adjoining settlements. Buildings were of mud brick and plastered. Finds included sling balls, fine ceramic ware, utilitarian pottery, imported northwest Iranian gray ware, bronze and copper weapons, jewelry, compartmented seals, polished bone, and flint implements. Intrusive (from the end period) goat burials with skeletons surrounded by many vessels occurred within the fort, which had been previously abandoned. Human burials also were found. D3 revealed a circular temple building (150 m in diameter) with an inner wall and nine towers projecting from the outer wall. A residential, artisan, and storage complex adjoined. Next to the temple was a four-cornered palace with round towers, its outer face bearing stepped pilasters. It had massive walls, “T”-shaped corridors, and was surrounded by a moat; it contained furnaces for smelting bronze. Three occupation periods were indicated; carbon 14 dates were 1,500-1,000 B.C. (Afghanistan 24/2-3, 1971 with Kruglikova in Kushan Culture and History II, Kabul, 1971; Sovetskaya arkheologiya 1/4, 1974; Afghanistan Journal 7/4, 1980).

Šamšīr Ḡār; Qandahār (AMNH, Dupree, 1950). 2nd millennium B.C.: A cave yielded painted pottery, copper and bronze horse trappings, and bronze, bone, and stone seals with diverse designs, e.g., a winged camel (Anthropological Papers AMNH 46/2, 1958). See also Kushan.

Sar o Tar; Nīmrūz (SI, W. Trousdale, 1971-77). A mound site two km from Šahr-e Ḡolḡola, abandoned at the end of the 2nd millennium, was dated with carbon 14. The fortress site yielded painted and plain pottery (final report forthcoming). See also Graeco-Parthian, Islamic.

Ṭelā Tapa, Šebarḡān; Jōzǰān (A/S, Mustamindy, Sarianidi, 1969, 1971). Ca. 1,300-500 B.C.: A mound site revealed a three-period farming settlement with fortifications, clay missiles, iron fragments, bronze projectile points, and plain and painted pottery (analogous to Anaw IV types, southern Turkmenistan). Šamšīr Ḡār painted wares predominated in lower levels (1,300-1,000 B.C.). Black polished and gray burnished wares with Iranian parallels occurred in middle levels (1,000-600); while Achaemenid-type wheel-made pottery replaces painted wares in the third stratum (Tillya Tepe, Moscow, 1972). See also Graeco-Parthian.

North of Nāyebābād; Samangān (DAFA, Gouin, 1972). 9th-7th century B.C.: Surface collection assembled hand-made painted pottery (Afghanistan 25/4, 1972).

Later Iron Age, late 1st millennium B.C. to early centuries A.D. Šahr-e Kohna, Qandahār (BIAS, D. Whitehouse, 1974; A. McNicoll, 1975; S. Helms, 1976). Ca. 1,000-150 B.C.: The city site showed nearly continuous occupation in four periods: (a) Iron Age/Achaemenid, (b) Mauryan/Indo-Greek, (c) Kushan/Sasanian, (d) Islamic. The first is ca. 1,000-500 B.C. with clear links to Mondīgak VI; architectural remains and pottery have been found. The second period is tentatively dated through coins and associated architecture and pottery to 250-150 B.C.; figurines were also found (Afghan Studies 1, 1978; 2, 1981). See also Kushan, Islamic.

Achaemenid, 6th to 4th centuries B.C. Ālten Tapa, northwest of Balḵ (A/S, Mustamindy, Sarianidi, 1970). Ca. 522-330 B.C.: A series of Achaemenid period mounds was investigated. A1 was the principal administrative town for the Ālten group. A10 contained a monumental private residence; the house plan is of Achaemenid style, with groups of rooms around a central court with pool. A columned courtyard outside the house to the west is divided in two by a series of rooms. Column bases remain; there is evidence of fire consuming the wooden superstructure and columns. Pottery, figurines, and small stepped altars were found (Afghanistan 24/2-3, 1971).

Qotloḡ Tapa, Fārūqābād; Balḵ (A/S, Tarzi, Sarianidi, 1973, 1975). At this mound site a round “temple” was found; two galleries formed by massive walls are pierced with a series of embrasures for light. Two long vaults are on the summit. A five-meter wide dry moat surrounded the structure.

Čaman-e Ḥożūrī, Kabul (accidental find, 1930). 6th-4th century B.C.: A hoard of jewelry and Greek and Achaemenid coins was discovered (R. Curiel and D. Schlumberger in MDAFA 14, 1953).

North and west of Ḵolm; Samangān (see above, Epipaleolithic; DAFA, Gouin, 1969, 1970). 1,000-330 B.C.: Pottery and artifacts were gathered by surface collection.

Ḡārlōlī (see above, Neolithic). A wide range of ceramics was found. See also Islamic.

Tapa Sorḵ Dāḡ at Nād-e ʿAlī; Nīmrūz (DAFA, R. Ghirshman, 1936). Ca. 500 B.C.: The first test pit for prehistoric material yielded iron projectile points, stone vases and mortars, a bone button, and gold-inlaid bronze objects (MDAFA 8, 1959). (University of Pennsylvania, Dales, 1968): Achaemenid period remains (5th-4th century) were found on top of an unidentified 1st millennium B.C. occupation (New Excavations at Nad-i Ali [Sorkh Dagh], Berkeley, 1979).

Bactrian/Indo-Greek, 4th-2nd century B.C. Āy Ḵānom; Toḵār (DAFA, Schlumberger, 1963-65; P. Bernard, 1965-78). Ca. 4th century to ca. 130 B.C. : The city mound site was carbon 14 dated. It includes a citadel, ramparts, monumental palace and administrative quarters, two temples, villas, the largest palestra yet found in the Greek world, and a theater. A fountain is ornamented with animal and mask spouts. Columns (in the three orders) are of limestone. Findings include marble and fragmentary unbaked clay statuary (Plate XX/1), a gilded silver plaque (Plate XX/2), a throne and figurines of ivory, mosaic floors, clay matrices in high relief, an Indo-Greek and Indian hoard of coins, Greek inscriptions in the necropolis, a list of Delphic precepts, and decorated and plain pottery. The architecture and art show a Bactrian style—a synthesis of Greek and Oriental. The site’s last major building period was ca. 150 B.C.; it was totally abandoned early in the 1st century B.C. (see MDAFA 21, 1973; season reports in the Comptes rendues de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres; Audouin and Bernard in Revue numismatique 6th ser., 15, 1973; Gardin and P. Gentelle in Bulletin de l’Ēcole Française d’Extrême Orient 53, 1976).

Alemčī Tapa, Šebarḡān; Jōzǰān (A/S, Mustamindy, Kruglikova, 1969-70). At this city mound site were found human figurines-in Bactrian style, sherds inscribed with Greek script and others with molded relief decoration in Hellenistic style, plates with an ornamental medallion in relief in the center, and a trilobate point of a type associated with the 5th-4th century. See also Kushan (Kruglikova in Afghanistan 33/1, 1970; with Sarianidi in Kushan History and Culture, Kabul, 1971; and in Kratkie Soobscheniya 132, 1972).

Tapa Šahīdān, Ḵolm; Samangān (AMNH, C. White, 1970). Early 3rd to mid-2nd century B.C.: A mound site yielded a Bactrian ceramic sequence in a village context; it indicates a significant Greek impact. See also Kushan.

Ḵešt Tapa, Qōl-e Zāl; Kondūz (accidental find, 1946). This hoard of 627 Bactrian and Indo-Greek silver coins had been collected in a pot and secreted in a wall (A. D. H. Bivar, The Bactrian Treasure of Qunduz, Bombay, 1955; MDAFA 20, 1965).

Mīr Zakay near Gardīz; Paktīā (accidental find, 1947; reported by A. A. Kohzad). 3rd century B.C. to 3rd century A.D. This hoard comprised over 11,000 coins of the Bactrian, Mauryan, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, Indo-Parthian, and Kushan periods (Curiel in MDAFA 14, 1953).

Mauryan, mid-3rd century B.C. Qandahār and Laḡmān provinces. On the Ashokan inscriptions, see Aśoka, Buddhism.

Graeco-Parthian, 2nd century B.C. to 1st century A.D. Ṭela Tapa (see above, Bronze Age; A/S, Tarzi and Sarianidi, 1977-78). 1st century B.C. to 1st century A.D.: Six of seven graves discovered were excavated. Among the more than 20,000 gold pieces recovered were animal figurines, a crown, ring seals, buckles, and other personal ornaments, all of superb artistry. These provide unique evidence for the easternmost Parthian expansion into northern Afghanistan and the rise of the Great Kushans (American Journal of Archaeology 84/2, 1980).

Qandahār (accidental find, 1934; studied by Bernard and Dupree, 1971). Two bronze coffins, possibly of Achaemenid style, had later been joined into one large receptacle which was in association with large stone receptacles, a glazed pottery funerary urn filled with human bones, and a decorated funerary urn and dish, the latter of which was reused as a cover (Sāl-nāma-ye Kābol 13, 1312 Š./1934; Bernard and Dupree, forthcoming).

Sar o Tar (see above, Bronze Age). Parthian occupations (with diagnostic pottery) were found under the Sasanian level. See also Islamic.

Kushan, Kushano-Sasanian, and late pre-Islamic, 1st to mid-8th century A.D. Bagrām (Kāpīsā); Parvān (DAFA, J. Hackin, 1936-40; Ghirshman, 1941-42; J. Meunié, 1946). 1st-3rd century A.D. (peak): This city, first established in the 2nd century B.C., included fortifications and a bazaar. The mound yielded a treasure (approx. 2,000 pieces, found in 1937 and 1939), including gold jewelry, Chinese lacquers, Indian ivories (Plate XXI), Alexandrian glass, porphyry vessels, Roman bronzes, plaster matrices, coins and seals, stamped and other potteries, figurines, iron weapons, and domestic metal utensils (MDAFA 9, 1939; 12, 1946; 11, 1954; 8, 1959; 19, 1964 ).

Alemčī Tapa (see above, Bactrian). Repairs and eventual destruction occurred during the Sasanian period. The city had massive, circular fortifications. Findings included molded terracotta humanoid and animal figurines, painted, stamped, and plain potteries, incised stone plates, drainage pipes, alabaster spindle whorls, limestone column bases, small altars, and coins.

Delbarǰīn Kazān, northwest of Balḵ (A/S, Mustamindy and Kruglikova, 1970-73; Z. Tarzi and Kruglikova, 1973-78). 1st-6th century A.D. (peak): The lower levels of this city mound are Achaemenid or Graeco-Bactrian; Hephthalite occupation occurs in the upper ones. The site was heavily fortified, with a citadel inside a central, walled city. A three-period temple and adjoining sanctuary bore fragments of polychrome wall-paintings (4th-5th century). There are similarities in style with Tapa Sardār, Bāmīān, and Central Asian sites. Iconography of Śiva and Pārvatī is attested in the early Kushan period. Two residences of an Achaemenid-type plan lay outside the walls. A Buddhist temple and a vaulted cemetery with Kushan ceramics were also found. Pottery was of diverse design and decoration, and kilns and pottery slag also occur. The coinage found represents all the Great Kushan kings (Kruglikova, Delbarjin 1970-73, Moscow, 1977).

Tapa Šahīdān (see above, Bactrian). Occupation is interrupted between the 3rd-2nd century B.C. and the 1st to mid-3rd A.D. After the destruction of the fortified Kushan village occur strata of the mid-3rd to early 6th century. Ceramic techniques of the three periods overlap.

Hazār Som (see above, Lower Paleolithic). An urban nucleus contained over 200 multi-room, multi-story cave dwellings and open-air settlements; painted and bas-relief decoration occurs. The peak period was in the 2nd-3rd century, followed by a decline and a 7th-century recovery (Kyoto University, S. Mizuno, 1962). No conclusively Buddhist remains were found (Hazar Sum and Fil-Khana, Kyoto, 1967). See also Islamic.

Šahr-e Kohna (see above, Later Iron Age; DAFA, G. Fussman, 1964). 100 B.C.-ca. 700 A.D.: A survey and mapping of the pre-Islamic and Islamic cities was carried out (Arts Asiatiques 13, 1966). (BIAS): An extensive occupation (“Period 3”) was largely abandoned at the end of the Kushano-Sasanian period. Findings in the building and burial remains included humanoid and animal figurines, a bronze spoon, bone objects, a soapstone mould with a winged lion on an elephant standing on a lotus, and Kushano-Sasanian coins. Five pieces of black-gloss pottery found in mud brick of this period have been variously identified as western import ware (Greek, late 4th-early 3rd century B.C.) or eastern (Indian, northern black polished ware, 6th-1st century B.C.). See also Islamic.

Šamšīr Ḡār (see above, Bronze Age). Ca. 2nd century A.D.: The cave yielded iron and bronze horse-trappings, Kushan/Parthian pottery, projectile points, Indo-Sasanian and Sasanian seals, beads (clay, serpentine, carnelian), copper earrings, and fragments of glass. See also Islamic.

Wardak; Maydān (DAFA, Fussman, 1964, 1967, 1969-72). The ruins include well preserved stupas, monastic establishments, and a large, fortified city (Arts Asiatiques 30, 1974). See also Islamic.

Balḵ (DAFA, A. Foucher, 1924-25; Schlumberger, 1946-47). Studies were made at Tōp-e Rostam, a stupa, and Taḵt-e Rostam, a monastery (mid-2nd century A.D.); fifty-nine test pits were sunk (MDAFA 1, 1942; 1/2, 1947). A later sixty-nine test pits helped establish a ceramic sequence from Kushan to early Islamic (MDAFA 15, 1957; 19, 1964). (University of Pennsylvania, R. Young, 1953): A test pit revealed a possibly Kushan wall (2nd century A.D.) under an Islamic one (American Journal of Archaeology 59/4, 1955).

Kondūz sites; Kondūz (accidental finds). From fragmentary Buddhist statuary, Hackin theorized in 1937 that Kondūz might have been the home of an indigenous Bactrian art style (MDAFA 8, 1959). Three limestone Buddhist bas-reliefs employ the local Bactrian style (Fischer in Artibus Asiae 21, 1958).

Sorḵ Kōtal; Bağlān (DAFA, Schlumberger, 1951-63). Ca. 2nd century: The temple mound included a colonnaded courtyard, two temples (one with fire altar), and a 55 m staircase which revealed an inscription in the Bactrian language. A 25-line inscription was placed at the main entry to the staircase. Findings included coins, fragments of sculpture in unbaked clay, and pottery. The indigenous, Graeco-Iranian style is free of Indian or Buddhist elements. A Buddhist shrine one mile to the east (1954) has decorated pilasters (Proceedings of the British Academy 47, 1961; MDAFA 25, 1983).

Čam Qaḷʿa, Baḡlān; Baḡlān (accidental find, 1959). A mound site revealed bas-reliefs with scenes from the Buddha’s life; limestone capitals are ornamented with lion-griffons (MDAFA 19, 1964).

Wazīrābād, Pol-e Ḵomrī; Baḡlān (AIA, Mustamindy, 1968). This mound was largely destroyed by bulldozers. Besides building remains, there were found coins, unbaked clay ornaments and horse-trappings, and fragments of a near life-size horse and rider.

Pāytāva, near Bagrām; Parvān (DAFA, Hackin, 1924). Ca. 2nd century: A monastery and stupa complex was found, including schist statuary (MDAFA 1/12, 1942, 1947; Monuments et Mémoires 27/1, 1926).

Šotorak, near Bagrām; Parvān (DAFA, Meunié, 1937). This monastery and stupa complex was at its peak in the 2nd-4th century but survived into the 7th. Schist bas-reliefs and statuary of high quality were found. Nearby sites investigated were Bāḡ-gay, Qōl-e Nāder with its unique untouched reliquary, and Tapa Kalān with 7th-century clay statuary (MDAFA 10, 1942; 8, 1959).

Āb-e Īstāda (see above, Bronze Age). Ca. 150 A.D.: Three large stupa complexes were identified; a surface collection of pottery was carbon 14 dated.

Hadda; Nangrahār (DAFA, Foucher, 1923-28; Hackin, 1928; J. Barthoux, 1930, 1933). 2nd-7th century A.D.: Over 1,000 stupas were identified. Stucco statuary in great quantity, limestone and schist bas-reliefs, and wall paintings were found. Large collections now reside in the Musée Guimet, Paris, and the National Museum, Kabul (MDAFA 1/2, 1947; 4, 1933; 6, 1930; 19, 1964 ).

Tapa-ye Šotor, Hadda (AIA, Mustamindy, 1965-73; Tarzi, 1973-79). Chapels and decorative votive stupas were excavated, including the “fish porch” and “Heracles-Vajrapāni chapel” (Plate XXII/1) with statuary set against walls decorated in high relief. Various clay statues, bas-reliefs, and wall painting were found, as well as a small bronze Buddha’s head and a clay Buddha with a manuscript embedded in its back. The site was sacked and burned in the 7th century (Afghanistan 21/1, 2, 1968; 22/2, 3-4, 1969; 24/2-3, 1971; 26/4, 1974; Arts Asiatiques 19, 1969; Tarzi, Comptes rendues de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 1976).

Lalma, etc., near Hadda (Kyoto University, Mizuno, 1962-65). 2nd-5th century: At Lalma a large complex was investigated, including stupas and two-roomed and barrel-vaulted caves. The main stupa was decorated with relief sculpture. Numerous later stupas (4th-5th century) and votive Buddhas were found. Fīl-ḵāna contained a stupa and cave complex; its unique Indian style vihāra dates to ca. 200 A.D. At Bāsawal are several groups of schist caves, some pillared, extending to a distance of 3.5 km. Buddha figurines date to the 4th-5th century (Hazar Sum and Fil-Khana, Kyoto, 1967; Durman Tepe and Lalma, Kyoto, 1968; Basawal and Jalalabad-Kabul, Kyoto, 1971).

Tapa Maranǰān, Kabul; Kabul (DAFA, Hackin, J. Carl, 1933). 3rd-4th century: A monastery complex with two stupas was built in the 3rd century, renovated in the 4th, and fortified in the 5th. Buddhist statuary is set against a painted background in relief (showing the mud and straw technique used later at Fondūkestān, et al.). The stamped pottery with animal, bird, floral, and humanoid motifs is diagnostic. Sasanian coins occurred (MDAFA 14, 1953; 8, 1959).

Goldara and Sāk; Lōgar (DAFA, Carl, 1935; Fussman, M. LeBerre, 1963-65. UNESCO, L. Lezine, 1962-64). A 4th century monastery with two stupas (Goldara, 1963-65) and a 5th century fort (Sāk, 1935) were excavated; pottery and statuary were also found. UNESCO carried out preservation work (MDAFA 8, 1959; 22, 1976; Lezine, Afghanistan 17/4, 1962; idem, Artibus Asiae 27/2, 1964). (BIAS, G. K. Rao, 1977): A conservation project was begun at the monastery.

Manār-e Čakarī; Kabul (BIAS and ASI, G. K. Rao, 1975). Preservation work was done on this Buddhist pillar at the pass between the Kabul valley and Goldara (Afghan Studies 4, forthcoming).

Demīr, Sarā-ye Ḵᵛāǰa, Kōhdāman; Kabul (AIA, Mustamindy, 1967). Two large schist standing Buddhas representing the miracle of Śravāstī were recovered accidentally; excavations revealed ceramics, coins, and building remains (M. Taddei, Gururājamañjarikā, Naples, 1974).

Kūh-e Mōrī, Ḵām Zargar; Parvān (AIA, Mustamindy, 1966). Recovered from the monastery and stupa complex were statuary fragments, a one-meter standing Buddha of schist, stone lion-throne bases, and reliquary holders with bas-relief (Afghanistan 20/4, 1968).

Saʿīd Qaḷʿa Tapa (see above, Bronze Age; Shaffer and M. Hoffman). After 300 A.D.: Thirty-six burials were studied. Four contained grave goods, including gilded bronze and glass earrings, pottery vessels, an iron knife, stone and glass beads, and a gilded bronze ring set with shell (East and West N.S. 26/1-2, 1976).

Bāmīān; Bāmīān (DAFA, Foucher, 1922; A. Godard, 1923; Hackin, 1931, 1933; B. Dagens, 1957). 3rd-7th century A.D. (peak): The two colossal Buddhas and the surrounding monastic caves with polychrome wall-paintings were studied, as well as the side valley of Kakrāk with its 21-foot standing Buddha and caves. Wall paintings (Plate XXIII/1) were removed to the National Museum, Kabul (MDAFA 2, 1928; 3, 1933; 8, 1959; 19, 1964). (ASI, R. Sengupta, 1969-77): Preservation and cleaning was done; the measurement of the smaller colossal Buddha was corrected to 38 m, of the larger to 53 m (Afghanistan 26/3, 1973; R. Kostka, Afghanistan Journal 1/3, 1974). (AIA and DAFA, E. Aram and Fussman, 1972): The right forearm of the smaller Buddha was examined. Evidence of fire was noted, which may account for the later refurbishing of the wall paintings (Fussman, Afghanistan 7/2, 1974; see also Z. Tarzi, L’architecture et le décor rupestre des grottes de Bamiyan, Paris, 1977). See also Islamic.

Fōlādī; Bāmīān (IsMEO, Scerrato, 1957; A. Bruno, 1961). Caves and wall-paintings (ca. 5th-6th century) were studied (East and West N.S. 11/2-3, 1960).

Kohna Masǰed, opposite Sorḵ Kōtal; Baḡlān (DAFA, Bernard, 1963-65). A small hilltop fort was later than Sorḵ Kōtal but before Islam. Three levels were excavated. Findings included large storage jars, diverse potteries, and a dark gray ceramic rhyton in the form of a horned goat supporting a human head; style and technique compare with those at Fondūkestān from the late 7th century (Comptes rendues de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 1964; Schlumberger in Arts Asiatiques 24, 1971).

Šahr-e Bānū, near Ḵolm; Samangān (DAFA, Hackin, 1924, 1939; Carl, 1938). On this mound several villages were superimposed, primarily of the Kushan period. Outlines of a fortress survived. Findings included stamped pottery, clay humanoid and animal figurines, drainage pipes, metal fragments, glass, and coins (MDAFA 8, 1959).

Taḵt-e Rostam, Aybak; Samangān (Kyoto University, Mizuno, 1959-60). 4th-5th century A.D.: A Buddhist cave monastery includes high relief stucco decoration and a rock-cut limestone stupa unique in Afghanistan (Haibak and Kashmir-smast, Kyoto, 1962).

Čaqalaq Tapa, west of Kondūz (Kyoto University, Mizuno and T. Higuchi, 1964-67). Late 4th-7th century: A fortified village mound underwent burning three times; it was apparently abandoned prior to the Islamic conquest. The Buddhist stupa is late 4th-early 5th century; limestone sculptures and fifteen pillar bases were found, as well as statue fragments, iron and bronze weapons and implements, gold jewelry, stone querns and implements, glass, and coins. The nearby mound of Dūrman Tapa was excavated and an exploratory trench dug at Bālā Ḥeṣār, Kondūz (Durman Tepe and Lalma, Kyoto, 1968; Chaqalaq Tepe, Kyoto, 1970).

Āq Koprūk (see above, Bronze Age). 5th-6th century A.D.: Found were ten to eleven human burials with elaborate grave furniture.

Ṣeddīqābād, near Bagrām. Parvān (DAFA, Ghirshman, 1943). This site held the first Hephthalite necropolis (ca. 450-565 A.D.) identified in Afghanistan. Findings included ceramic and metal utensils, a ram’s head rhyton, bronze beads and bracelets, and coins (MDAFA 13, 1948).

Orūzgān; Orūzgān (reported by A. Bīnavā). Two fragmentary rock inscriptions in the Hephthalite form of Greek script date ca. 500 A.D. (A. D. H. Bivar, Afghanistan 8/4, 1953; JRAS, 1954).

Šāḵ Tapa, Kondūz (DAFA, Casal, 1953; LeBerre, 3). Ca. 5th century: About one hundred Hephthalite tumuli were noted on a high plateau. 1953: Two burials were excavated; found were iron trilobate points and blades, bronze artifacts, beads, and a lapis pendant. 1963: Nine human and animal burials were opened; findings included a gold Byzantine coin, ring with semi-precious stone, and a necklace set with lapis (Schlumberger, Comptes rendues de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 1964).

Tapa Ḵezāna, Kabul (accidental find, 1930s; studied by M. Taddei). 5th-7th century A.D.: A group of fifty terracotta sculptured heads show stylistic trends from Hellenistic to mature Gupta. They once belonged to a group of monuments above the Kabul river (N. H. Dupree, The National Museum of Afghanistan: An Illustrated Guide, Kabul, 1974).

Šahr-e Żaḥḥāk, Bāmīān (DAFA, Bernard, 1964). This fortress was occupied up to 618/1221. Pottery and fragments of manuscript (6th-7th century) were found (P. Zestovki, Afghanistan 3/2, 1948).

Fondūkestān, Ḡorband; Parvān (DAFA, Carl, 1936-37). 7th-8th century: An elaborate Buddhist shrine complex contained a monastery, cells, meeting hall, and outbuildings. Elegant clay statuary (Plate XXIII/2, Plate XXIV) was found set against ornate polychrome backgrounds (removed to the National Museum, Kabul). This style was carried into Central Asia (Hackin, Afghanistan 5/2, 1950; MDAFA 8, 1959).

Tapa Sardār, Ḡaznī (IsMEO, D. Adamesteau, 1959-60; Puglisi, 1961; Taddei, 1962, 1967 on). Another shrine complex yielded votive stupas and pedestals with molded relief and side chapels retaining the lower halves of monumental seated Buddhas of unbaked clay. Part of a reclining Buddha (originally 15 m) also survived; a figure of the Hindu goddess Durgā Mahiśamardini dates from the site’s last phase. Other finds included polychrome wall-paintings, mosaic flooring, gilded clay Buddhas, and manuscript fragments. The early building period was ca. 3rd century; a peak reached in the 7th-8th, marked by connections with Central Asia, and followed by destruction by fire. At nearby Gūdol-e Āhangarān, there were found miniature stupas and unbaked clay tablets inscribed in Sanskrit (post-Gupta; East and West N.S. 18/1-2, 1968; 20/1-2, 1970; Il Veltro 16/5-6, 1972; South Asian Archaeology, ed. N. Hammond, London, 1973; South Asian Archaeology1973, ed. J. E. van Lohuizen de Leeuw, Leiden, 1974).

Qaḷʿa Āhangarān; Ḡōr (L. Leshnik, 1965). A surface collection from four mounds indicated a single-period


Kushano-Sasanian settlement. Five distinct painted ceramic wares were locally made; molded designs are attested, and a few simulate metalwork (Berliner Jahrbuch für Vor- und Frühgeschichte 7, 1967).

Pol-e Zak, Qaḷʿa Šahrak; Ḡōr (AMNH, Dupree, K. Fischer, 1960). 800 A.D., 1200 A.D.: A sondage gave carbon 14 datings; painted potteries were found. This site attests an isolated survival of pre-Islamic culture.

Turki and Hendūšāhī, 7th to 10th century A.D. Ḵayr-ḵāna, Kabul (DAFA, Carl, 1934). A Brahmanic temple contained three sanctuaries and two altars. A late 7th or early 8th century sculptured marble depicts Sūrya in a horse-drawn chariot driven by Dawn; a fragmentary pedestal bore a figure in Sasanian-style dress (MDAFA 7, 1936). (Accidental find, 1980): A second, superb Sūrya torso was unearthed by bulldozers (The Kabul New Times 21 December 1980, 11 March 1982).

Tapa Sekandar, near Sarā-ye Ḵᵛāǰa, Kōhdāman, Kabul (Kyoto University, Higuchi, 1970 on). Late 6th to late 9th century: A two-phase secular and religious complex was found (the later phase being 7th-century). A massive shrine contained a Saivite painted marble statue of Umamaheśvara (Plate XXII/2); style and inscription compare with the Ḵayr-ḵāna statue (above). The stamped pottery resembles that of Tapa Maranǰān (above), with animal, bird, floral, and humanoid motifs. A potter’s cylindrical seal was found, as well as terracotta figurines and objects of bronze, iron, stone, ivory, and glass (Kyoto University Archaeological Survey, Kyoto, 1972, 1974, 1976; see also S. Kuwayama, East and West N.S. 26/3-4, 1976).

Šakar Dara, Kōhdāman; Kabul (accidental find). A marble statue of Ganeśa is now in the Narsinghdwara temple, Kabul (M. Dhavalikar, East and West N.S. 21/3-4, 1971 ).

Gardīz; Paktīā (accidental find). A marble statue of Ganeśa is now in the Dargah Pir Rattan Nath, Kabul; it bears a post-Gupta Sanskrit inscription but has been variously dated (Tucci, East and West 9, 1958; Agrawala, East and West N.S. 18/1-2, 1968).

Gardīz; Paktīā. Tagāo; Parvān (accidental finds). 8th-10th century: At Gardīz a head of Śiva and a marble figure of Durgā Mahiśamardini were found; at Tagāo, a head of Durgā and a male torso and lingam. Miscellaneous coins were found (Barrett, Oriental Art 3/2, 1957; Goetz, Arts Asiatiques 4, 1957; Fischer, Arts Asiatiques 10/1, 1964; D. W. Macdowell, Numismatic Chronicle 8, 1968).

Šamšīr Ḡār (see above, Kushan). The fifth chamber may have served as a Hindu temple. See also Islamic.

Konar valley; Konar (Bonn University, Fischer, 1960). Architectural stone pieces, carved with Hindu motifs, had been reused in a Muslim graveyard (Zentralasiatische Studien, 1969).

Islamic, 2nd/8th to 12th/18th century. Sīstān (see also Bronze Age; DAFA, Hackin, 1936). A reconnaissance survey was made (MDAFA 8, 1959; see also Fischer, East and West N.S. 21/1-2, 1971). (Bonn University, Fischer, 1960, 1968-73): A multi-faceted study of settlement patterns included a hydrological survey and identification of ancient irrigation systems, geological studies of the shifting delta region, botanical study on medieval ecological conditions, photogrammetric surveys of mud-brick ruins, architectural studies of pre-Islamic building remains to determine models for medieval construction, and mapping. The period most represented was the early 6th/12th-late 9th/15th century (South Asian Archaeology, 1973; Afghanistan 22/3-4, 1969; 23/4, 1970; 26/3, 1973; 27/1, 1974; Nimruz, Bonn, I, 1976, II, 1974).

Southwest Afghanistan (Cambridge University, N. Hammond, 1966). A surface collection from forty-five sites along the left bank of the Helmand was strongly Ghaznavid, with some Kushan and fewer prehistoric pottery pieces; petroglyphs were noted (East and West N.S. 20/4, 1970).

Bāmīān (see above, Kushan; DAFA, J. C. Gardin, LeBerre). 1st/7th to mid-7th/13th century: Surface collected ceramics were analyzed (Gardin, Ars Orientalis 2, 1957) and architectural studies done. (IsMEO, G. Scarcia): A legal document of 470/1078 was studied (East and West N.S. 14/1-2, 1963).

Ḡārlōlī (see above, Iron Age). Northern variants of early Islamic period pottery were found.

Hazār Som (see above, Kushan). 1st/7th to mid-7th/13th century: Forty mounds indicate a major caravan depot; architecture remains and glazed pottery were found.

Šamšīr Ḡār (see above, Turki and Hendūšāhī). 8th-12th century: Findings included early Islamic glazed pottery, stamped wares, iron projectile points, horse trappings, beads (glass, glazed and unglazed clay, mother-of pearl, stone), coins, and textile fragments.

Sar o Tar (see above, Graeco-Parthian). 4th/10th-9th/15th century: The city mound is accompanied by various others. The Šahr-e Ḡolḡola citadel is within a 15 m. high wall; it has massive fortifications and three moats, and contains a mosque and civil and residential quarters (Plate XXV). It is chiefly Ghaznavid and Timurid (over Parthian and Sasanian levels); late Saffarid coins, ceramics, and glass also were recovered. An environmental survey revealed the great assemblage of 9th/15th-century architecture in the southern Hāmūn region. Dune characteristics were studied, and the canal system mapped in relation to its history (Amiri, Afghanistan 26/2, 1973; Trousdale, The Illustrated London News 2911/263, 1976).

Šahr-e Kohna (see above, Kushan). 4th/10th-12th/18th century: A 6th/12th-7th/13th century barrow cemetery on the south side of the city contained pottery similar to that of Laškarī Bāzār (see below) and multicolored glazed and sgraffito ware. The Timurid occupation may have included a ḥammām with conduits, cistern, and central, octagonal pool. Its well contained two bronze ewers, worked bone objects, fine white Chinese porcelain, blue-white glazed Persian ware, ornate glass decanters, local ceramics, and coins—all these ca. 10th/16th-12th/18th century. A separate pit produced numerous, perhaps local, dishes of the late Persian lusterware type (for the barrow cemetery see D. Whitehouse, AIUON 36, 1976; Taddei, South Asian Archaeology 1977, ed. M. Taddei, Naples, 1979).

Noh Gonbad, Balḵ (AIA, 1973). Early 3rd/9th century: Cursory preservation work was done on the Samanid mosque, which has fine stucco decoration (Plate XXVI; G. A. Pugachenkova, Afghanistan 21/1, 1968; L. Golombek, Oriental Art 15, 1969).

Ḡaznī (see above, Kushan; IsMEO, Scerrato, A. Bombaci, Taddei, 1956 on). 4th/10th-6th/12th century: The buildings (palace, “house of lusters,” two minarets) chiefly represent the period of the Ghaznavids from Masʿūd III to Bahrāmšāh (492-547/1099-1152). Finds included a sculptured marble dado with an epigraphic band, sculptured marbles, ceramics, glazed tiles, bronzes, and a marble statue of Brahma. Various restoration projects were initiated (IsMEO Reports and Memoirs 5, 1966; East and West N.S. 10, 1959; 29, 1979; J. Sourdel-Thomine, Syria 30, 1953). See also below.

Laškarī Bāzār, Helmand (DAFA, Schlumberger, 1949-52). The site dates from the period of Sultan Maḥmūd through Ḵᵛārazmšāh renovations (5th/11th-7th/13th century). The first major excavation of the Islamic period revealed three palaces, two mosques, and a bazaar. Findings included ornamental stucco with epigraphy, polychrome wall-paintings with human figures, and glazed polychrome pottery. A meḥrāb from the palace mosque is installed in the National Museum, Kabul (Afghanistan 4/2, 1949; 5/4, 1950; Syria 20, 1952; MDAFA 18, 1963).

Bost; Helmand (Governor of Qandahār, A. G. Zia and N. M. Herawi, 1957). An elaborately decorated 5th/11th century arch was restored; the nearby 6th/12th century tomb of Šāhzāda Ḥosayn, with its ornamental brickwork, was studied (D. Hill and O. Grabar, Islamic Architecture and its Decoration, Chicago, 1967; H. Crane, East and West N.S. 29/1-4, 1979).

Wardak (see above, Kushan). The site bore an imposing Ghaznavid chateau of the 4th-5th/10th-11th centuries.

Emām-e Ḵord, Sar-e Pol; Jozǰān. Ca. 450/1058: A Saljuq period shrine contains elaborate inscriptional decoration in carved stucco (Bivar, BSOAS 29/1, 1966).

Dawlatābād; Balḵ. 502/1108-09: Remains of a decorated “minaret” were noted; an inscription names the Saljuq governor Moḥammad b. ʿAlī (Sourdel-Thomine, Syria 30, 1953).

Zīārat-e Bābā Ḥātem, west of Balḵ (reported by J. Powell, 1960). Before 550/1155: The mausoleum’s interior is richly decorated in stucco. The geometric and floral designs parallel Noh Gonbad and Laškarī Bāzār; inscriptions and panels are similar to those of the Ghurid portal at Herat (Plate XXVII; M. Chirvani, Arts Asiatiques 17, 1968; D. Sourdel, Ētudes islamiques 39/2, 1971).

Danestama, near Tāla; Baḡlān (DAFA, LeBerre, 1960). After 545/1150: A madrasa contains a meḥrāb with panel similar to the one at Laškarī Bāzār. Also studied were ceramics and fragmentary inscriptional material (Ētudes islamiques 38/1, 1970). Šah-e Mašhad; Bādḡīs. 571/1175-76: A madrasa (Plate XXVIII) contains stucco decoration, ornate terracotta mosaic, and fifteen inscriptions. There are stylistic affinities with Dawlatābād and Ḡaznī (M. Casimer and B. Glatzer, East and West N.S. 21/1-2, 1971 ).

Češt-e Šarīf, Herat. A fragmentary inscription on two cupolas of a mosque and a madrasa ascribe the buildings to the Ghurid ruler Ḡīāṯ-al-dīn Moḥammad (558-99/1163-1203); they are decorated with raised terracotta mosaic (von Neidermayer and M. Diez, Afghanistan, Leipzig, 1924; MDAFA 16, 1959). (DAFA, LeBerre, 1960): Architectural studies were carried out.

Jām; Ḡōr (reported by A. Malikyar and Kohzad, 1943). A 213-foot “minaret” (Plate XXIX) bears an inscription naming Ḡīāṯ-al-dīn Moḥammad. The kufic inscription is done in blue-glazed tile; the structure has elaborate terracotta mosaic decoration. (DAFA, Maricq, LeBerre, 1957, 1960): An inspection and architectural study were carried out (MDAFA 16, 1959; Ch. M. Kieffer, Afghanistan 15/4, 1960; Trousdale, Archaeology 18/2, 1965; Leshnik, Central Asiatic Journal 12/1, 1968). (IsMEO, A. Bruno, 1961): Architectural study was performed. A Jewish cemetery dating A.D. 1149-1215 was discovered; it contained tablets inscribed in Jewish Persian (East and West N.S. 14/3-4, 1963; G. Gnoli, Serie Orientale Roma 30, 1964; Zander, Il Veltro 16, 1972).

Masǰed-e Jāmeʿ, Herat (UNESCO, E. Hansen 1964). Ca. 7th/13th-9th/15th century: Timurid tile work was removed from a portal to reveal an inscription naming Ḡīāṯ-al-dīn Moḥammad. Since 1943 work has continued on redecoration with tile simulating the Timurid decoration applied in 903/1498 (F. Salǰūqī, Ḵīābān, Kabul 1343 Š./1964; N. H. Wolfe, Guide to Herat, Kabul, 1966).

Citadel, Herat (UNESCO, A. Bruno, 1975 on). Built in its present form in the 7th/13th century and strengthened by the Timurids in the 9th/15th century, this citadel is said to stand on the site of a fortress built by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C. The UNESCO restoration project is designed to revive the classical traditions of Herat (The Citadel and Minarets of Herat, UNESCO, 1976).

Moṣallā, Herat (Governor of Herat, A. Malikyar, 1942-46). Gardens were planted to protect the two minarets and mausoleum of Queen Gowhar Šād (d. 861/1457) and the four minarets of Sultan Ḥosayn Bāyqarā (d. 911/1506; Salǰūqī, Ḵīābān: Survey of Persian Art; Scheer-Thoss et al., Design and Color in Islamic Architecture, Washington, 1968). (UNESCO, Bruno, 1976 on): Stabilization of the minarets was commenced.

Gāzargāh, Herat (AIA, Mustamindy, 1966-73; Tarzi, 1973-78). Restoration and preservation was done at the shrine of Ḵᵛāǰa ʿAbdallāh Anṣārī, which was elaborately redecorated in 831/1428 (Salǰūqī, Gāzargāh, Kabul, 1962; Golombek, The Timurid Shrine at Gazur Gah, Toronto, 1969).

Herat region (A/S, Mustamindy, Pugachenkova, 1967, 1969). 9th/15th-10th/16th century shrines and mosques were studied, e.g., Kohsan; Masǰed-e Ḥawż-e Karbās (dated to 845/1441-42 by its inscription), which contains a meḥrāb with mosaic decoration; and the complex at Zīāratgāh, built during the reign of Sultan Ḥosayn Bāyqarā (Afghanistan 21/1, 1968; 23/3, 1970).

Mazār-e Šarīf; Balḵ (city of Mazār, 1940s). The 9th/15th century shrine of ʿAlī was redecorated.

Zīarāt-e Ḵᵛāǰa Pārsā, Balḵ (ASI, 1974-77). Preservation work was done on this late Timurid shrine (Plate XXX; Pugachenkova, Afghanistan 23/3, 1970).

Ḡaznī (see above; IsMEO, Bruno, 1961-66). Restoration was done at the mausoleum of Solṭān ʿAbd-al-Razzāq (ca. 912/1506) and a museum was installed (East and West N.S. 13/2-3, 1962; Zander, Il Veltro l6, 1972). Reinforcement of the 6th/12th century minaret of Bahrāmšāh was begun in 1978, but all restoration work was cancelled in 1979 (East and West N.S. 27/1-4, 1977; 28/1-4, 1978; 29/1-4, 1979).

Bāḡ-e Bābor; Kabul (IsMEO, B. C. Bono, 1964-66). Restoration was done on the mosque of Shah Jahān (dated by its inscription to 1056/1646; Zander, Il Veltro 16, 1972; M. Parpagliolo, Kabul: The Bagh-i-Babur, Rome, 1972). 


See also G. P. Tate, Seistan. A Memoir on the History, Topography, Ruins, and People of the Country, 2 vols., Calcutta, 1910-12.

G. A. Pugachenkova, Iskusstvo Afganistana, Moscow, 1963.

J. Auboyer, The Art of Afghanistan, Middlesex, 1968.

B. Rowland, Zentralasien, Baden-Baden, 1970. Idem, Art in Afghanistan, London, 1971.

L. Dupree, Afghanistan, Princeton, 1973.

W. Fairservis, The Roots of Ancient India, 2nd ed., New York, 1974.

S. Gaulier et al., Buddhism in Afghanistan and Central Asia, 2 vols., Leiden, 1976.

N. H. Dupree, An Historical Guide to Afghanistan, Kabul, 1977.

D. Brandenburg, Herat, Graz, 1977.

H. G. Franz, “Der Buddhistische Stupa in Afghanistan,” Afghanistan Journal 4/4, 1977; 5/1, 1978.

F. R. Allchin and N. Hammond, ed., The Archaeology of Afghanistan, London, 1978.

W. Ball, ed., Archaeological Gazetteer of Afghanistan, 3 vols., Paris, 1982.

(N. H. Dupree)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 22, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 5, pp. 525-544

Cite this entry:

N. H.  Dupree, “AFGHANISTAN viii. Ethnography,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, 1982, available at