At the foot of the cliff where the two Buddhas used to stand 130 kilometres west of Kabul, an archaeological site has been found and parts of a third Buddha, lying down, were discovered in 2008.
The area of the lying Buddha is around half the size of a football pitch. A dozen statues or more lie under tonnes of stone and earth.
“We covered everything up because the ground is private and to prevent looting,” says Zemaryalai Tarzi, the 75-year-old French archaeologist born in Afghanistan who is leading the project.
Like I (almost) always say, artifacts are nearly always better protected where they’ve been sitting.