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Salvagers date Afghani Bamiyan Buddhas

March 18, 2005 at 2:05 PM

BAMIYAM, Afghanistan, March 18 (UPI) -- Archaeologists working at the site of Afghanistan's Bamiyan Buddhas have been able to date the two colossal figures carved from the living rock.

Michael Petzet, president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites which has a team working on the Buddhas, blown up by the Taliban in 2001, said tests using carbon 14 show the smaller of the two Buddhas was completed in 507 A.D. and the larger was completed in 551 A.D. Dating was made possible by testing organic material embedded in the mud plaster with which the rock sculptures were faced.

Petzet said it was previously estimated the figures were chiseled out of the rock cliffs at Bamiyan as early as the third century A.D.

He added the ICOMOS salvagers, who have been working at the site since last summer, believe that piecing together the fragments of the two Buddhas is a feasible proposition using an easily distinguishable modern material to fill in the gaps. Numerous large fragments have been found including one piece weighing 100 tons.

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