John Mock & Kimberley O'Neil


The Red Buddha Hall Road Revisited: New Materials on the History and Culture of Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor 7th-9th c. CE

by John Mock, Ph.D.

2013 in Press: J. Mark Kenoyer, ed., Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan: New Discoveries and Challenges, Karachi, Oxford University Press.

Wakhan, the remote north-eastern district of Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province, is intimately connected with the Silk Road. Wakhan’s archeology is known largely from Aurel Stein’s travels in 1906 and less so from the work of Austrian, German and American teams in the early 1970s.

Five trips to Wakhan in 2004-2007 allowed re-visiting all sites described by Stein. This article expands upon Stein’s descriptions and presents an initial analysis of several new finds. These include the site Lien Yuen, which Stein discussed but was unable to locate, Tibetan-style fort complexes and watch towers, Tibetan inscriptions, and numerous rock carvings that appear to represent Silk Route caravan trade. These materials offer new information on the history and culture of Central Asia and the Silk Road, and underline an urgent need for thorough documentation and preservation of this globally significant heritage.

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