A report on AfghanistanShortugai and Lapis lazuli

Part of the excavations
Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan in its natural state
Lapis lazuli seen through a microscope (x240 magnification)
Tents of Afghan nomads in the northern Badghis province of Afghanistan. Early peasant farming villages came into existence in Afghanistan about 7,000 years ago.
Ancient Egyptian cult image of Ptah; 945–600 BC; lapis lazuli; height of the figure: 5.2 cm, height of the dais: 0.4 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
The extent of the Indus Valley Civilization during its mature phase
Crystals of lazurite (the main mineral in lapis lazuli) from the Sar-i Sang mine in Afghanistan, where lapis lazuli has been mined since the 7th Millennium BC
A "Bactrian gold" Scythian belt depicting Dionysus, from Tillya Tepe in the ancient region of Bactria
A polished block of lapis lazuli
Approximate maximum extent of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom, formed by the fragmentation of Alexander the Great's Empire, circa 180 BCE
Natural ultramarine pigment made from ground lapis lazuli. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance it was the most expensive pigment available (gold being second) and was often reserved for depicting the robes of Angels or the Virgin Mary
Saffarid rule at its greatest extent under Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar
19th-century lapis lazuli and diamond pendant
Mongol invasions and conquests depopulated large areas of Afghanistan
Sumerian bald clean-shaven male worshipper head; 2600-2500 BC; gypsum, shell, lapis lazuli and bitumen; from Nippur (Iraq); Museum of the Oriental Institute (Chicago)
Map of the Hotak Empire during the Reign of Mirwais Hotak, 1715.
Sumerian necklace beads; 2600–2500 BC; gold and lapis lazuli; length: 54 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Map of the Hotak Empire at its height in 1728. Disputed between Hussain Hotak (Centered in Kandahar) and Ashraf Hotak (centered in Isfahan)
Sumerian necklace; 2600–2500 BC; gold and lapis lazuli; length: 22.5 cm; from the Royal Cemetery at Ur (Iraq); Metropolitan Museum of Art
Portrait of Ahmad Shah Durrani c. 1757.
Ancient Egyptian scarab finger ring; 1850–1750 BC; lapis lazuli scarab set in gold plate and on a gold wire ring lapis-lazuli; diameter: 2.5 cm, the scarab: 1.8 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Afghan tribesmen in 1841, painted by British officer James Rattray
Neo-Babylonian conical seal; 7th–6th century BC; lapis lazuli; height: 2.7 cm, diameter: 2.1 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Map of Afghanistan (Emirate) and surrounding nations in 1860, following the conquest of [[Principality of Qandahar|
Kandahar]], and before the conquest of Herat.
Ancient Egyptian plaque with an Eye of Horus; 664–332 BC; lapis lazuli; length: 1.8 cm, width: 1.6 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Emir Amanullah invaded British India in 1919 and proclaimed Afghanistan's full independence thereafter. He proclaimed himself King of Afghanistan in June 1926.
Greek or Roman ring stone; lapis lazuli; 2.1 x 1.6 x 0.3 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
King Zahir, the last reigning monarch of Afghanistan, who reigned from 1933 until 1973.
Roman bead ornament; gold and lapis lazuli; 3 × 1.8 × 0.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Development of the civil war from 1992 to late 2001
20th century silver ring with polished lapis oval; 2 x 2.4 x 1 cm
U.S. troops and Chinooks in Afghanistan, 2008
Elephant carved from lapis lazuli. Length 7 cm.
A map of Afghanistan showing the 2021 Taliban offensive
Large lapis lazuli specimen from Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountains. National Museum of Natural History (Washington, D.C.)
Taliban fighters in Kabul on a captured Humvee following the 2021 fall of Kabul.
The mountainous topography of Afghanistan
Köppen climate map of Afghanistan
The snow leopard was the official national animal of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
A 2005 CIA map showing traditional Afghan tribal territories. Pashtun tribes form the world's largest tribal society.
Ethnolinguistic map of Afghanistan (2001)
Blue Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif is the largest mosque in Afghanistan
UNESCO Institute of Statistics Afghanistan Literacy Rate population plus15 1980–2018
The Daoud Khan Military Hospital in Kabul is one of the largest hospitals in Afghanistan
The Arg (the Presidential palace) in Kabul
U.S. representative Zalmay Khalilzad (left) meeting with Taliban leaders, Abdul Ghani Baradar, Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, Suhail Shaheen, unidentified. Doha, Qatar on 21 November 2020.
Afghanistan is divided into 34 provinces, which are further divided into a number of districts
Workers processing pomegranates (anaar), which Afghanistan is famous for in Asia
Afghan rugs are one of Afghanistan's main exports
Afghan saffron has been recognized as the world's best
Lapis lazuli stones
Afghanistan electricity supply 1980–2019
Band-e Amir National Park
The Minaret of Jam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, currently under threat by erosion and flooding
The Salang Tunnel, once the highest tunnel in the world, provides a key connection between the north and south of the country
An Ariana Afghan Airlines Airbus A310 in 2006
An Afghan family near Kholm, 1939 – most Afghans are tribal
A house occupied by nomadic kochi people in Nangarhar Province
Kabul skyline, displaying both historical and contemporary buildings
A traditional Afghan embroidery pattern
The Afghan rubab
Non (bread) from a local baker, the most widely consumed bread in Afghanistan
Haft Mewa (Seven Fruit Syrup) is popularly consumed during Nowruz in Afghanistan
The ancient national sport of Afghanistan, Buzkashi

Shortugai (Shortughai), in Darqad District of northern Afghanistan, was a trading colony of the Indus Valley civilization (or Harappan Civilization) established around 2000 BC on the Oxus river (Amu Darya) near the lapis lazuli mines.

- Shortugai

As early as the 7th millennium BC, lapis lazuli was mined in the Sar-i Sang mines, in Shortugai, and in other mines in Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan.

- Lapis lazuli

An Indus Valley site has been found on the Oxus River at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan.

- Afghanistan

Goods and ideas were exchanged at this center point, such as Chinese silk, Persian silver and Roman gold, while the region of present Afghanistan was mining and trading lapis lazuli stones mainly from the Badakhshan region.

- Afghanistan

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Overall

Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro, Sindh province, Pakistan, showing the Great Bath in the foreground. Mohenjo-daro, on the right bank of the Indus River, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first site in South Asia to be so declared.

Indus Valley civilisation

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Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE.

Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of South Asia, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, and in its mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE.

Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro, Sindh province, Pakistan, showing the Great Bath in the foreground. Mohenjo-daro, on the right bank of the Indus River, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first site in South Asia to be so declared.
Miniature votive images or toy models from Harappa, c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta figurines indicate the yoking of zebu oxen for pulling a cart and the presence of the chicken, a domesticated jungle fowl.
Major sites and extent of the Indus Valley civilisation
Alexander Cunningham, the first director general of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), interpreted a Harappan stamp seal in 1875.
R. D. Banerji, an officer of the ASI, visited Mohenjo-daro in 1919–1920, and again in 1922–1923, postulating the site's far-off antiquity.
John Marshall, the director-general of the ASI from 1902 to 1928, who oversaw the excavations in Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, shown in a 1906 photograph
Early Harappan Period, c. 3300–2600 BCE
Terracotta boat in the shape of a bull, and female figurines. Kot Diji period (c. 2800–2600 BC).
Mature Harappan Period, c. 2600–1900 BCE
Skull of a Harappan, Indian Museum
Harappan weights found in the Indus Valley, (National Museum, New Delhi)
Male dancing torso; 2400-1900 BC; limestone; height: 9.9 cm; National Museum (New Delhi)
red jasper male torso
Stamp seals and (right) impressions, some of them with Indus script; probably made of steatite; British Museum (London)
human deity with the horns, hooves and tail of a bull
Archaeological discoveries suggest that trade routes between Mesopotamia and the Indus were active during the 3rd millennium BCE, leading to the development of Indus–Mesopotamia relations.
Boat with direction-finding birds to find land. Model of Mohenjo-daro tablet, 2500–1750 BCE.(National Museum, New Delhi). Flat-bottomed river row-boats appear in two Indus seals, but their seaworthiness is debatable.
Ten Indus characters from the northern gate of Dholavira, dubbed the Dholavira signboard
The Pashupati seal, showing a seated figure surrounded by animals
Swastika seals of Indus Valley civilisation in British Museum
Late Harappan Period, c. 1900–1300 BCE
Late Harappan figures from a hoard at Daimabad, 2000 BCE (Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay)
Painted pottery urns from Harappa (Cemetery H culture, c. 1900–1300 BCE), National Museum, New Delhi
Impression of a cylinder seal of the Akkadian Empire, with label: "The Divine Sharkalisharri Prince of Akkad, Ibni-Sharrum the Scribe his servant". The long-horned buffalo is thought to have come from the Indus Valley, and testifies to exchanges with Meluhha, the Indus Valley civilisation. Circa 2217–2193 BCE. Louvre Museum.
Ceremonial vessel; 2600-2450 BC; terracotta with black paint; 49.53 × 25.4 cm; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (US)
Cubical weights, standardised throughout the Indus cultural zone; 2600-1900 BC; chert; British Museum (London)
Mohenjo-daro beads; 2600-1900 BC; carnelian and terracotta; British Museum
Ram-headed bird mounted on wheels, probably a toy; 2600-1900 BC; terracotta; Guimet Museum (Paris)
Reclining mouflon; 2600–1900 BC; marble; length: 28 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
The Priest-King; 2400–1900 BC; low fired steatite; height: 17.5 cm; National Museum of Pakistan (Karachi)
The Dancing Girl; 2400–1900 BC; bronze; height: 10.8 cm; National Museum (New Delhi)
Seal; 3000–1500 BC; baked steatite; 2 × 2 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Stamp seal and modern impression: unicorn and incense burner (?); 2600-1900 BC; burnt steatite; 3.8 × 3.8 × 1 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Seal with two-horned bull and inscription; 2010 BC; steatite; overall: 3.2 x 3.2 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, Ohio, US)
Seal with unicorn and inscription; 2010 BC; steatite; overall: 3.5 x 3.6 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art

Its sites spanned an area from northeast Afghanistan and much of Pakistan to western and northwestern India.

An Indus Valley site has been found on the Oxus River at Shortugai in northern Afghanistan, in the Gomal River valley in northwestern Pakistan, at Manda, Jammu on the Beas River near Jammu, India, and at Alamgirpur on the Hindon River, only 28 km from Delhi.

Trade networks linked this culture with related regional cultures and distant sources of raw materials, including lapis lazuli and other materials for bead-making.