Mundigak @ the Guimet

A visit to discoveries from Mundigak, a little-known Bronze Age and earlier [c. 4500-2000 BCE] site in southern Afghanistan. The objects are now at the Guimet, the French National Museum of Asian Art in Paris. Their similarity to objects and motifs in the ancient Indus Valley is remarkable. Examples include the pipal leaf, a rat trap, the humped bull, a bird whistle and classic goblets the Mundigak excavators called "brandy balloons." There is even a stone sculpture which resembles the "priest-king."

This 33 slide section is accompanied with excerpts from the writings of Jean-Marie Casal, who led the excavations at Mundigak in the 1950s, and the writings of other major scholars and archaeologists of the region. There are quotes from the lively on-scene memoir Time Off to Dig by the journalist Sylvia Matheson (1961), historic photographs from the site, and two dozen objects that remain largely unseen except when one visits the Guimet. Best of all, there are new more secure dates for Mundigak Periods I-IV . Finally, exciting new speculations by Massimo Vidale on the "Priest King" and the Mundigak head, and connections between Mundigak Palace and the "hut" motif of the recently discovered Halil Rud Civilization in Iran, are among the 7 new articles added by the world's leading archaeologists filling in recent discoveries.

In the new The Archaeology of Afghanistan authors F. R. Allchin, Warwick Ball and Normand Hammond write: "The Helmand [river] is actually the only major perennial river located between Mesopotamia and the Indus River, and its importance in prehistoric cultural developments throughout this vast area between the Euphrates and the Indus cannot be over-emphasised. The location of Mundigak within the drainage of one of the main tributaries of this system is a major factor in understanding the cultural processes and phenomena which are reflected at this site." (2019, p. 163)