Lithuanian archeologists make discovery in Afghanistan

The Baltic Times, May 22, 2008

Ghor, Afghanistan -- After more than a month of digging work in the Ghor province of Afghanistan, Lithuanian archeologists collected large amounts of evidence about cultures that prospered in the region centuries ago.

Four participants of the archeological-heritage mission of the Archeological Projects Center Antiqua continued their last year's mission in the Ghor in April and May in search of remains of historical, archeological and cultural heritage, said the head of the Lithuanian Special Mission to Afghanistan, Aleksandras Matonis.

The scientific leader of the expedition, Professor Aleksiejus Luchtanas of the VilniusUniversity's History Faculty, said that the scientists have discovered nine still unknown archeological and cultural objects including remains of settlements that date back a few millenniums.

Other discoveries included the ruins of a few castles and other defense fortifications. One of the key findings was the remains of a Buddhist monastery hand-carved in the bluff of the River Harirud. The artificial caves revealed testimony of daily life of the Buddhist monks. Specialists believe the monastery could have existed in the first centuries of our era during the prevalence of Buddhism in the current territory of Afghanistan, which was later pushed back by Islam.

The Antiqua project was supported and sponsored by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry. Just like in 2007, the Afghan Ministry of Culture and Information delegated two heritage protection and archeology specialists to the expedition.

The archeologists were accommodated and escorted by troops of the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the Ghor province.