A History of Afghanistan in 100 Objects: Q&A with Alejandro Gallego López
November 28, 2022
Described as the “crossroads of cultures,” Afghanistan is home to a wealth of cultural heritage hailing from the Near East, Central Asia, South Asia, and more. Like many other nations, the country has also suffered consequences to its history as a result of global conflicts.
Decades of war from the ongoing Soviet invasion devastated the National Museum of Afghanistan, the most important repository of heritage in the country. Research estimates 70% of the objects from the museum were looted and 90% of registration records were destroyed.
The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is committed to preserving and protecting the cultural heritage in Afghanistan. Their work is supported by major grants from the US Department of State through the American Embassy in Kabul and aims to rebuild the National Museum, develop a geospatial database of all detectable archaeological sites, support infrastructure projects, and raise awareness for the National Museum among high school students in Afghanistan.
Alejandro Gallego López, OI’s Program Field Director in Afghanistan, collaborates with other heritage experts to carry out these projects and to protect precious, culturally significant artifacts from destruction or theft.
Additionally, López along with Dr. Gil Stein and M. Fahim Rahimi published “A History of Afghanistan in 100 Objects” which details some of Afghanistan’s most culturally significant artifacts from prominent historical time periods. The book is free to download or read online.
The Antiquities Coalition interviewed López about his recent publication and work with the OI.