Afghan Institute of Archaeology


Street address: Kali Fatullah Bazaar, Sharh e Nau, Kabul, Kabul Province, Afghanistan
Telephone: 93 (0) 70 295281 (mobile)
Proprietor: Office of the Deputy Minister, Culture, Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs
Contact: Abdul Nasea Firozi Director
This archeological agency was originally part of the Museums Department (1919) and in 1922 signed a contract with French archaeologists as the Délégation archéologique Française en Afghanistan (DAFA) to work in their excavations, at a time when the Afghanistan government was trying to broaden its independent foreign relations away from the British and Russian spheres of influence. The first Director was Alfred Foucher, who received a licence for the co-ordination of the excavations for 30 years. The artifacts unearthed were to be handed over to the government for display in the National Museum. In 1952 the contract was extended for a further 30 years. After World War II, numerous archaeological missions, including those of the Italians, Americans, Japanese, British, Indians and Soviets, also conducted excavations. The first Afghan-led excavation took place in Hadda in 1965. The Institute of Archaeology was officially established in 1966 under Italian-trained Director Dr Chaibai Mustamundi. In 1978 the Institute of Archaeology worked with Soviet archeologists to excavate the Bactrian Gold Horde, one of the most amazing finds of the century. Although it became an independent institute in 1979 under the Department of Science, insecurity in the provinces during the 1980s and 1990s curtailed its work. Their premises near Darulaman Palace was damaged by rocket attacks and is now unusable. The Institute has opened no new digs since the end of war, although a one-week training course was held in the summer of 2002 in conjunction with the Berlin Institute and the Archaeology Department of Kabul University. Since 2002 it has been part of the Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs. During the 1960s and 1970s numerous articles and research papers were written about historical sites in Afghanistan, but nothing has been published now for 20 years. The Institute hopes to enlarge its library with books and research papers from abroad and to reprint its past research papers.