Afghanistan

Bactrian Gold

In 1988, a decade into Afghanistan’s bitter civil war, officials at the country’s national museum decided to hide its most valuable artifacts for fear they would be destroyed. These included the famous Bactrian Gold—more than 20,000 precious objects found in ancient burial mounds in Tillya Tepe in the north of the country.

These items remained hidden throughout the war, and survived the Taliban ransacking of the museum in 2001, when it destroyed thousands of artifacts. After the fundamentalist movement was ousted following the US-led military campaign, authorities found the Bactrian Hoard was still intact.

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