AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS.- De Nieuwe Kerk presents Hidden Afghanistan, on view through April 20, 2008. Strategically located on the trade routes between East and West, ancient Afghanistan was at the crossroads of civilisations in central Asia. This is evident from the magnificent archaeological finds that have been made there. The exhibition presents 250 archaeological objects, most of which were 'rediscovered' in 2004 in the vaults of the Central Bank in Kabul and brought to Europe in 2006 for restoration and for this travelling exhibition.
Four archaeological sites play a key role. The oldest, Tepe Fullol, dates from the Bactrian Bronze Age (around 2000 BC). In the exhibition it is followed by a larger section dealing with Ai Khanum, a city that was founded by Greeks in the wake of Alexander the Great's campaign of conquest and that bears witness to Hellenism on the edge of the steppes (4th to 2nd centuries BC). The famous gold treasure of Tillya-tepe is renowned: jewellery and other art objects from six graves from the 1st century AD which were excavated in 1979 by a Soviet-Afghan team led by the Russian archaeologist Sarianidi. They form a splendid mix of the art of the steppes, Graeco-Roman iconography, Indian objects and Chinese mirrors. Finally, in Begram, also from the 1st century AD, in 1937 and 1939 two sealed chambers were revealed containing elaborate Indian furniture in ivory, glass, vases and plaster emblemata of Hellenist origin. This exhibition will travel after to USA.