15 December 2017

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Friday December 15, 2017
Kabul (BNA) Researchers are using drones to identify archaeological sites across Afghanistan that external forces like the Taliban have made impossible to safely visit in person. They’ve more than tripled Afghanistan’s catalog of known archaeological features, according to Science, bringing the number above 4,500. These span roughly two millennia and include everything from massive shelters for caravan travelers to ancient canal systems.
The Afghan Heritage Mapping Partnership is a collaboration between U.S. and Afghan researchers who are poring over data gathered through a combination of commercial satellites, U.S. spy satellites and military drones. It received a $2 million grant from the United States State Department in 2015, and will continue through 2018, according to the University of Chicago, whose researchers comprise the American side of the collaboration.
“The capability to explore a relatively little known region efficiently and safely is really exciting,” David Thomas, an archaeologist at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, who is not a member of the mapping team, told Science. “I’d expect tens of thousands of archaeological sites to be discovered. Only when these sites are recorded can they be studied and protected.”
The discoveries have included 119 football field-sized caravanserais—lodging for those traveling by camel caravan—which extend across the country’s southern deserts in roughly 12-mile intervals, according to Science. Emily Boak, a UChicago heritage analyst, told Science that the caravans once transported precious goods like silk, gems and spices from India and even porcelain from China.
Previously, Boak told Science, many researchers assumed the Safavid Empire—the early Iranian dynasty whose reach included Afghanistan—had faded by the 16th and early 17th centuries.
The scale and planning that went into constructing the caravanserais from that time suggests it may have actually been thriving.
“There is a long-standing view that once the Portuguese entered the Indian Ocean [in the 16th century] no one bothered to cross Central Asia,” project manager Kathryn Franklin, an archaeologist at the University of Chicago, told Science. “But this shows a huge infrastructure investment of the Safavids a century later.”
The use of American drones in the Middle East for the purpose of scientific preservation is a welcome change. The Taliban has also historically pursued an agenda of destroying valuable archaeological features, as outlets like NBC have reported. In an unexpectedly touching detail, Science noted that the project has proved so compelling that archaeologists in their 80s have been coming out of retirement in order to help.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Chaired by acting minister of information and culture Prof. Mohammad Rasoul Bawari, 3rd session of convening commission for preparation of Silk Road scientific and research Seminar (Afghanistan and Silk Road) was held yesterday.
In the session, it was decided that the first day of the seminar should be held in Kabul and two other days held in Nangarhar. Therefore, the commission decided that a three-person delegation should visit Nangarhar for better management of the seminar.
In the session, acting minister of information and culture asked officials of relevant committees to further make effort in holding the seminar.
He said that financial year was about to finish, so expenses of the seminar should be counted precisely.

Tuesday December 12, 2017

Kabul (BNA) Prof. Mohammad Rassoul Bawari, acting minister of information and culture during his visit to Ghazni province, urged the organs concerned to soon step up for basic repairing of the provincial historical monuments, BNA reported the other day.
Bawari added that the historical monuments of the ancient city needed fundamental reconstruction, as they were not basically repaired to mark the 2013 festival, the agency quoted. “Currently, a professional team of the ministry of information and culture is involved in repairing the provincial historical monuments,” said the minister adding all historical monuments in the center and districts of the province are expected to be repaired. Expressing concern over the usurpation of the historical sites by land-grabbers, he said the historical areas should be recovered from them as soon as possible, the agency quoted.
He instructed for returning the usurped historical objects and said illegal excavation of the historical sites should be banned. Thanking the acting minister of information and culture for his visit to the province’s historical sites, governor, Eng. Abdul Karim Mateen and asked the ministry for doing more in prevention of destruction and collapse of the historical monuments in the province. He said that the president has ordered that Ghazni Fortress should repaired. According to another report, new building of the provincial information and culture, which was built at the cost of up to 26 million Afghanis, and the provincial national museum built at the cost of up to 8 million Afghanis from the budget of the ministry inaugurated and put in utilization.
The acting minister and the governor of Ghazni also attended the utilization ceremony of the Al-Beroni library, which according to the provincial director of information and culture department of Ghazni, at the present the library contained up to 6,000 various books. Numerous books of the mentioned library annihilated due to terrorists attack in 2014, now trying to make enrich the library again, the provincial director added.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Kabul (BNA) English learning course was launched yesterday for 30 employees of ministry of information and culture.
The course was held by capacity building department of the ministry. Opening the course, deputy minister of finance, administrative and tourism Sayeda Mojgan Mustafavi said the course would continue for six months.
She stressed that 4 million Afghani was allocated annually for holding such programs, but unfortunately the allocated money has not been spent in this regard in past years.
“This year we have been able to have 30 students in the country’s three top universities. We have a plan to introduce 30 employees to Kabul University for master degree,” Mustafavi added.
She further said that those who were about to be retired and working in top positions could participate in entry test of master degree at Kabul University.
Director of human resources for MoIC asked participants in the course to attend the course and make use of the given opportunity.

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