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Taliban searching for Bactrian gold treasure; Links to India

According to the Taliban, they have begun searching for Bactrian Gold, a treasure that dates back to 2000 years. ‘It is treason against Afghanistan if it has been moved (out of Afghanistan) and ¬†We’re looking into it, and we’ll gather information to figure out what’s going on’, Tolo News quoted Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban interim cabinet’s culture commission, as saying. ‘The Afghan government will take serious action if this and other antiques are transported out of Afghanistan,’ Wasiq said.

Bactrian gold treasure:
There has been an archaeological discovery of the Bactrian treasure in northern Afghanistan since 1978-79 in Tela Tapa or Hill of Gold, where six affluent nomads were buried dating back to the first century BC to the first century AD. Nearly 20,000 gold artifacts, including cupids, dolphins, gods, and dragons studded with semiprecious stones, were found in the graves of Saka tribesmen from Central Asia or Yuezhi from northwest China. The items discovered included gold rings, coins, weapons, earrings, bracelets, necklaces and crowns.

Sarianidi compared the effect of the discovery to Tutankhamen’s tomb discovered in 1922, a Moscow archaeologist who led the combined Soviet-Afghan excavation team that discovered the burials. A Smithsonian Magazine article states that Bactria’s gold stunned the world of archaeology. It added that no other time in history has so many distinct pieces from so many different cultures-Chinese boot buckles, Roman coins, and Siberian daggers-been unearthed together in situ.

Indian links:
Archaeologists discovered a wide variety of valuable artifacts along with the 2,000-year-old antiques, including a golden crown that was found in the 6th tomb, which displays unusual aesthetic influences (from Persian to classical Greek), according to the report. A five-inch-tall gold leaf diadem, for example, folds for easy travel. A thumb-sized gold figure of a mountain sheep has been etched with elegant curves and flaring nostrils, according to Smithsonian Magazine in 2009.

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In Sarianidi’s account, the treasure was collected by Yuezhi lords from China who arrived in Bactria about the second century BC and later founded the Kushan Empire in India. Scythians from modern-day Iran buried the hoard, according to other scholars. A gold necklace and ornaments were found surrounding the skull and skeleton found during the dig by Sarianidi. Sarianidi described the bones as those of a woman in her late twenties or early thirties, a nomadic princess.


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