Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Balkh & the Sar-i Sang Lapis Lazuli Trade Route

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Sar-i Sang lapis lazuli mine, probably dating from proto-historic times. It consists of one old disused shaft and two new shafts. This was the main source of lapis lazuli in the ancient world, with lapis from here occurring in such famous archaeological discoveries as the Royal Treasure of Ur (founded circa 3800 BC) and the Tomb of Tutankhamun (1323 BC)....Sar-i Sang is a settlement in the Kuran Wa Munjan District of Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan, famous for its ancient lapis lazuli mines producing the world's finest lapis.....

"The Pamir Mountains near Balkh have been known since the earliest times, when first caravans went to ancient Egypt, bringing sky-colored lapis lazuli to the country. We are very limited on information about that time. But one thing is clear; the country was on The Great Khorsan Road.....aka: The Silk Route for a long time. And huge ruins of old fortresses still remain silent about that time///Sar-i Sang lapis lazuli mine, probably dating from proto-historic times. It consists of one old disused shaft and two new shafts. This was the main source of lapis lazuli in the ancient world, with lapis from here occurring in such famous archaeological discoveries as the Royal Treasure of Ur (founded circa 3800 BC) and the Tomb of Tutankhamun (1323 BC)....."

"Lapis Lazuli from Sar-i Sang decorated pictures in which Queen Ankhesenamun anointing her husband beneath the life-giving rays of the sun disc....Ankhesenamun (ˁnḫ-s-n-imn, "Her Life Is of Amun".....(c. 1348 – 1322 BC) was a queen of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Born as Ankhesenpaaten, she was the third of six known daughters of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti, and became the Great Royal Wife of her half-brother Tutankhamun.....[ar-i Sang is of interest because it indicates an important Lapis trade route between Balkh and ancient Egypt and Ur that evidently began about 4000 BC."

"Archaeologists studying the jewelery and other artifacts unearthed from the Royal Tombs (circa 2400 BC) discovered that More than twenty thousand beads and other objects made of lapis lazuli retrieved from the Royal Tombs all had the same mineral compostition; hence all all originated from the same mine. Extensive cross-checking discloed that virtually every piece of lapis lazuli used in the ancient Near East — many tons of material — all came from the same mountain range, the Sar-i Sang, deep in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan...Sar-i Sang lapis lazuli mine, probably dating from proto-historic times. It consists of one old disused shaft and two new shafts. This was the main source of lapis lazuli in the ancient world, with lapis from here occurring in such famous archaeological discoveries as the Royal Treasure of Ur and the Tomb of Tutankhamun..".....http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/afghanistan/history-pre.htm

"To carry so much lapis from Afghanistan all the way to Mesopotamia, as well as to Egypt (where the blue stone was considered the height of fashion), must have required sophisticated logistics and a series of trading posts and oasis settlements along an established route on which other precious goods (such as gold, copper, precious stones, woods, exotic animals) could also be shipped. The lapis lazuli that arrived from the Sar-i Sang mines in Afghanistan to the great cities at Ur about 2400 BC travelled along routes or exchange that had already been active for thousands of years....http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/afghanistan/history-pre.htm"

Click on the map to enlarge

"Mundigak (near modern-day Kandahar) provides evidence of a true city, perhaps a provincial capital of the Indus valley civilization, and evidence of the type of structures and objects that true cities produce: religious structures and carved or painted works of art. At Mundigak, archaeologists have discovered a large 3rd millennium BC pillared terrace structure with a doorway outlined in red, which probably had a religious purpose. At Deh Morasi Gundai, archaeologists found evidence of a shrine complex containing various ritual items such as goat horns, a goblet, a copper seal, hollow copper tubing, a small alabaster cup, and a carved and hand-molded pottery figurine of a mother goddess or fertility figure similar to figurines that were also found at Mundigak. Deh Morasi Gundai was eventually abandoned about 1500 BC, perhaps because of the westward shift of the river on which it was built. Mundigak continued another 500years. Two successive invasions by a nomadic tribe from the north forced the inhabitants to abandon the city after more than 2,000 years of continuous occupation"....http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/afghanistan/history-pre.htm"

"Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur.....Ur was likely first settled during the Ubaid period near the end of the 6th millennium BC. Over time a true city grew, until about 2500 BC, by which time the city was one of the transportation centers of the Sumerian civilization. In this, its heyday, Ur was an important harbor at the head of the Persian Gulf. Because of Ur's extensive trade contacts, the rulers of Ur had access to the wealth of Arabia, India, Iran, and Afghanistan...Known locally as Tell al-Muqayyar, this site has also been recognized as the capital city of ancient Sumeria called Ur. .".....http://archaeology.about.com/cs/museums/a/urexhibit.htm

"Mount Imeon was famous for its lapis lazuli deposits in western Badakhshan, indicated on Shirakatsi’s map. The mines at Sar-e-Sang have been producing lapis lazuli for millennia now, supplying the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and Rome, and still yielding the world’s finest lapis. The Venetian adventurer Marco Polo visited the mines in 1271 during his famous journey to China, following the Silk Road to cross the mountains by way of Wakhan."......http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Imeon

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….February 2013

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