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Archaeology and conflict in Afghanistan

Archaeology and Conflict in Afghanistan


Politics, war, heritage


The destruction of the Bamiyan buddhas by the Taliban in 2001 brought the tensions between archaeology and warfare into international focus. But this is only the most dramatic example of a site that has been damaged by the ongoing uncertainty in Afghanistan, which started with the Russian invasion of 1979. This workshop will look at how and why several important and spectacular Afghan archaeological sites have been impacted over this period.

Why this is important

Nations are held together by a shared concept of who they are. National identity comes in great part from a perceived collective history within a shared territory. Afghanistan’s culturally diverse archaeological resource, which includes prehistoric, classical, Buddhist and Islamic remains, is thus an important factor in the continuing politico-military attempts at state-building in the country.

Key descriptors

Heritage management, conflict, looting, antiquities trade

Year groups

Years 12 and 13



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