Mes Aynak monastery, (near) Aynak, Velayat-e Kabol, AF

Raw data

"The French archaeological mission […] returned [to Afghanistan] in 2002 and […l]ast year, in cooperation with the Afghan National Institute of Archaeology, it began an excavation of an ancient Buddhist settlement at the Mes Aynak mine, which has the second-largest known unexploited copper deposits in the world. The Afghan government has awarded the mining project to the China Metallurgical Group Corporation, which is keen to begin work at the site, 40 kilometres outside the capital Kabul.
But Marquis says it risks destroying untold numbers of archaeological treasures, and he and his team are racing to rescue as much as possible before the mining work begins. 'It appears there was a copper mine on the site from the second century BC right up to the sixth century AD,' he said.
'Excavation started in 2009 and we have already discovered wall paintings and hundreds of statues, some quite large, including a five-metre sleeping Buddha.'
The area around Mes Aynak has already been heavily looted. Marquis’s team found parts of giant clay statues left behind by thieves who had apparently broken them apart because they were too heavy to carry in their entirety." (Cozens 2010)

"[…] Mes Aynak, 30 kilometres from Kabul, is caught between Afghanistan's hopes for the future and its history. Archaeologists are rushing to salvage what they can from a 7th century BC religious site along the Silk Road.
Archaeologists working on the site since May say that won't be enough time.
''That site is so massive that it's easily a 10-year campaign,'' said Laura Tedesco, an archaeologist brought in by the US embassy.
Said French archaeologist Philippe Marquis: ''This is probably one of the most important points along the Silk Road. What we have at this site, already in excavation, should be enough to fill the [Afghan] national museum.''

"Archaeologists are rushing to salvage what they can from a major 7th century B.C. religious site along the famed Silk Road connecting Asia and the Middle East.
The ruins, including the monastery and domed shrines known as 'stupas,' will likely be largely destroyed once work at the mine begins.
The monastery complex has been dug out, revealing hallways and rooms decorated with frescoes and filled with clay and stone statues of standing and reclining Buddhas, some as high as 10 feet.
An area that was once a courtyard is dotted with stupas standing four or 5ft high."

Input by: tmciolek, Jul 20, 2010

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 03 Oct 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 2 km from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Mes Aynak monastery, AF.

General location of the Mes Aynak monastery, AF.
Lat 34.3990 Long 69.3664
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2010.

Google Map link:,%20AF)&ll=34.3990,69.3664&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Afghanistan:Velayat-e Kabol

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • [missing data]

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx, Lat 34.3990 Long 69.3664 - based on possible identification of the site on a hill E of the village Aynak, satellite imagery, - tmciolek, 15 Mar 2012.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • [missing data]

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

MBM chrono-tag: 0600-32p 0633-66p 0667-99p - tmciolek 03 Oct 2013
0600-32p 0633-66p 0667-99p dated-e

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • [missing data]

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Archaeological

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)….

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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