Mes Aynak Archaeology - Ministry of Mines and Petroleum

Mes Aynak Archaeology


Mes Aynak Archaeological site covers an area of  450,000 square meters,  encompassing several separate monasteries and commercial area. It appears that Buddhists who began settling the area almost two millennia ago were drawn by the availability of copper.
Archaeologists believe that Mes Aynak is a major historical heritage site. It has been called “one of the most important points along the Silk Road” by French  archaeologist Philippe Marquis.  In addition to the Buddhist monasteries and other structures from the Buddhist era that have already been identified, Mes Aynak also holds the remains of prior civilizations likely going back as far as the 3rd century BC. Historians are particularly excited by the prospect of learning more about the early science of metallurgy and mining by exploring this site. It is known to contain coins, glass, and the tools for making these, going back thousands of years. Archaeologists have already unearthed manuscripts that may provide evidence regarding the presence of Alexander the Great’s troops.

The initial archaeological assessment of DAFA in  2011 is the starting point for references to the activities of the Mes Aynak Archaeology Project. The work  plan submitted by  MCC is the basis for organizing  a strategy  and schedule for the archaeological operations at Mes Aynak. According to these their enabling works would be carried out in 3 staggered phases.

The first phase of works at Mes Aynak covers an area of approximately 230 000 m2 (The ‘Red Zone’). Within this 8 blocks of extensive archaeological remains have been identified covering 150 000 m2.

As stated above the first phase of  archaeological operations are centred  on 8 separate zones covering 150 000 m2. After some initial excavations it is possible to elaborate on the nature of these remains and the site can be divided into 3 archaeological zones from a functional perspective. The first two of these archaeological zones are contained within one the eight zones mentioned above. The remaining 6 are more peripheral to this central core. 






Monthly Reports


Mes Aynak  Archaeology

Preliminary Results of the Tajik and Afghan Archaeologists Excavations

(In Dari)