ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE AT MES AYNAK INTRODUCTION
Red Zone: 450,000 m 2. Central open mining cast. High potential of archaeological and architec- tural remains located within the zone. Central focus of current archaeological activities and the most urgent to be completed. Mining schedule – 3 zones of varying degree of priority Green Zone: 112,200 m 2. Deter- mined as ordinary priority. Seven areas to the south of Red Zone. Orange Zone, phase of urgent priority: five archaeological areas, total 47,780 m 2. Dispersed historical remains around the perimeter of Red Zone.
Chronological framework for Mes Aynak streching from the late 3rd century to the middle of the 8th century AD. Chronology of Mes Aynak Possible archaeological evidence for earlier (late Bronze and Iron Age) occu- pation of the site. Dating is based on coin finds discovered, stylistic analysis of pottery forms, charac- teristic details of architectural remains, sculptures and wall paintings.
Aynak mountain (industrial): a series of sites along the crest of the Kuh-i Aynak mountain. The area dominated by the copper slag deposits, melting furnaces, workings for ore crushing, a system of mining shafts and ha- bitable structures set on several terraces. Defensive wall built to protect copper wor- king areas. Mes Aynak – topography Lower Town (domestic): a dense cluster of a few mudbrick residential complexes loca- ted on the tops of tepe features, large stone walls and platforms, craft workshops at a domestic scale. Peripheral monastic area (religious): a dis- persed group of 6 Buddhist monasteries and/or religious features. The sites occupy higher, visible hill-tops. Three main zones can be distinguished in topography of the Mes Aynak site:
47 archaeological sites completed, un- der excavation or temporarily suspen- ded for further fieldwork. As mapped for mid-February, 2014: 10 sites (7,234 m 2 ) with complete exca- vation; 14 further areas (totals: 18,327 m 2 ) nearly accomplished. Mes Aynak Red Zone – project figures, April 2014 Total area of currently ongoing or temporarily suspended excavation: 15,372 m 2 (before May 2014). 80 sites or single objects of various date registered without the Red Zone as for February, 2014.. From May 2014: 10 sites on Mt. Aynak presently under excavation (of them 7 run by the MAAP team). The area to be completed as the first and second sub-zones of the Red Zo- ne (by Dec. 2014): ca. 350,000 m 2.
2011/2012: 12 international archaeologists; 2012/2013: the team consisted of 23 expat specialists (reduced in June/August 2013. Mes Aynak Archaeological Project facts Afghan graduate-trainees: 30 (2012), at the present: 10 (including two working as self-reliant site supervisors). Manpower as for May 2014: 190 workmen. MAAP/PMU logistic staff: 20. Current structure of MAAP: 8 archaeologists, 1 GIS officer, 1 conservator; in addition: between 15 and 21 Afghan archaeologists and restorers.
Training aimed at developing a set of basic and most essential on-site skills (excavation, recording). A regular review of field performance and individual monthly reports. A series of lectures on archaeology and history of Central Asia provided by the MAAP Tajik specialists for the graduate junior archaeologists (2012-2013). Educational aspects, capacity building Frequent site presentations organized for both MAAP and MoIC teams. Individual training for junior conservators and junior surveyors – ongoing.
WORK PROGRESS SEPTEMBER 2011 – MAY 2014 ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION
June 2012 Current status of excavation and mapping - overview December 2013 October 2012
November 2011 Site Mes044 October 2012 An example of progressing excavation and development of recording methods between 2011 and 2012.
November 2011 Site Mes045 November 2013 November 2012
November2011 Site Mes043 August 2012June/July 2013 June 2012
October 2010 Site Mes006 (Shah Tepe) November2011 Evolution of excavation on Site Mes006 (Shah Tepe) between 2010 and 2011 – compared aerial views and photogrammetric models by Iconem/DAFA.
November 2011 Kuh-i Aynak mountain – expanding fieldwork area October 2012 November 2011 October 2012 May 2014 Area Mes005-Mes034, aerial view Eastern upper slope towards the south Eastern slope, view to the north Eastern mid-slope, view to the south