The cultural sequence of Buddhist sites in the Kabul region
Recent, „pre-Taliban II“ archaeological explorations and excavations in Afghanistan since 2010 have resulted the discovery of new important sites from Buddhist times (2nd Century BC-8TH Century CE); Mes Aynak in Logar, Khum-e-Zargar in the Kapisa region, Shewaki, Tape Narinj and Tape Maranjan in Kabul province, and Tope Dara in Parwan province. All of these sites are located along the ancient Silk Road that connects Mediterranean world, ancient Iran and China. The Archaeology Institute of Afghanistan (AIA) under my supervision (between 2017-2021) has initiated safeguarding and excavation projects in various parts of the country, particularly at the above-mentioned sites which have yielded vital archaeological information; however, the Institute efforts also included increasing local awareness and involvement of local communities in heritage safeguarding. The proposed doctoral research will focus on the results of these recent activities in detail, with first-hand and fresh information. Furthermore, I will analyze the role of local communities in the preservation and protection of heritage, particularly archaeological heritage. Considering the current political situation in Afghanistan by a religious ideology, I will describe their intent in regard to cultural heritage in a short and long term basis as well as its consequences for local people.