VoiceAmerica Variety

VoiceAmerica Variety

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Can the Ancient Archaeological Complex of Mes Aynak (Afghanistan) be Saved from Destruction?

Join Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein on Wednesday, October 10 at 3 p.m. Pacific Time and his guests, award winning film director and producer Brent Huffman and prominent archaeologist Dr. Rita Wright, as they discuss the potentially tragic fate of Mes Aynak, one of Afghanistan’s premier cultural heritage sites. The site preserves some of the most critical evidence for early copper mining in the Old World and is the location of a complex network of Buddhist monasteries dated to the second century A.D.
Phoenix, AZ (PR-Inside) October 11, 2012 -- Dr. Schuldenrein and his guests Brent Huffman and Dr. Rita Wright will discuss the potential fate of this 2,600-year-old city with numerous Buddhist temples, monasteries, and thousands of statues, along with extensive evidence for the earliest prehistoric mining technology. The site is scheduled to be demolished at the end of December 2012 to make way for an extensive copper mine. The latter is owned and operated by the China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC). Brent Huffman, award winning director and cinematographer together with a leading South Asia archaeologist Dr. Rita Wright (New York University), will join Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein, for a special edition of Indiana Jones, Myth, Reality, and 21st Century Archaeology on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel ( www.voiceamericavariety.com) on Wednesday, October 10, at 3 p.m. Pacific Time.

Mes Aynak is a 2,600-year-old walled-in city that flourished in Afghanistan during the age of the Silk Route. The site features majestic Buddhist temples, monasteries, and statues. Across its landscape it preserves evidence for the earliest copper mining technology and trade in the ancient world. Within its walls the site houses numerous artifacts and manuscripts describing the daily life of the city. Mes Aynak was also an important trading center in Asia thanks to its convenient location along the Silk Road. However, in 2007 MCC got a contract to lease the area for 30 years with a plan to create an open-pit style copper mine by stripping and relandscaping the magnificent mountain terrain that includes the Mes Aynak site and six villages. The archaeologists were given 3 years to excavate the site and salvage everything they could, but they are facing great challenges. Archaeologists are working on a very restricted time schedule, since such work usually takes decades to complete. The archaeological team also faces great personal risks by performing their work in the often-hostile environment of war-torn Afghanistan.

Brent Huffman is an award winning director, writer and cinematographer of documentaries and television shows. His documentaries have aired on The Discovery Channel, The National Geographic, NBC, PBS, and Al Jazeera. Mr. Huffman has been filming segments covering social issues documentaries and environmental films for over a decade in Asia, Africa and Middle East. Most recently, he completed an award-winning documentary The Colony for Al Jazeera and Link TV about the Chinese presence in Africa.

Dr. Rita Wright is a professor of anthropology at the New York University, an assistant director of the Harappa Archaeological Research Project in Pakistan, and director of the Beas Landscape and Settlement Survey. Her research focuses on the development of complex societies, urbanism and states in the Near East and South Asia.

Join Dr. Joseph Schuldenrein and his guests, Brent Huffman and Rita Wright, as they underscore the need to raise the awareness of the potential danger to the Cultural Heritage of Afghanistan. While the danger to Mes Aynak is potentially devastating, there are efforts afoot to develop a mitigating strategy for site preservation and heritage management. The question is whether or not these plans are too little and too late.

“Indiana Jones, Myth, Reality, and 21st Century Archaeology” airs live on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Pacific/ 5 p.m. Central/ 6 p.m. Eastern on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel. To access the show, log on at www.voiceamericavariety.com. All shows will be available in Dr. Schuldenrein’s Content Library on The VoiceAmerica Channel for on-demand and pod-cast download, www.voiceamericavariety.com.

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