Race to Save Buddhas from Bulldozers ; China Is to Turn One of Afghanistan's Most Historic Sites into a Mine. Robert Fox Reports on a Battle to Rescue the Treasures

By Fox, Robert | The Evening Standard (London, England), May 27, 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Race to Save Buddhas from Bulldozers ; China Is to Turn One of Afghanistan's Most Historic Sites into a Mine. Robert Fox Reports on a Battle to Rescue the Treasures


Fox, Robert, The Evening Standard (London, England)


IT might be called the battle of the Buddha's feet, a struggle to rescue one of the great Buddhist sites in Afghanistan. The deadline has just been cut to a year for a team of Afghan and foreign archaeologists to rescue what they can from the sites of four shrines and temples round Mes Aynak -- the Copper Mountain -- in the plains of Logar, 25 miles south of Kabul.

The Chinese have signed a 20-year lease to make this the biggest open-cast copper mine in the world outside Africa. They plan to blow up the mountain and what is left of the Buddhist temples, hoping to dig as much as they can of the copper estimated to be worth Pounds 45 billion. Initially, they're offering Pounds 800 million a year for the concession.

It is a race between Afghanistan's cultural past and commercial future. A team of 32 archaeologists is moving everything it can from the site, rediscovered in the Sixties, rebuilding one of the temples and putting the treasures in a custom-built museum. They are helped by 900 local Afghan workers.

Initially they were given three years, but under pressure from the Chinese, President Karzai has said the conservation must end for the blasting and mining to begin late next year.

"The site is very important because this was a main junction on the Silk Road. The monks came here and settled between the 5th century and the 8th century, lured by the copper," said Philippe Maquis, the leading French archaeologist at the site.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Race to Save Buddhas from Bulldozers ; China Is to Turn One of Afghanistan's Most Historic Sites into a Mine. Robert Fox Reports on a Battle to Rescue the Treasures
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?