Digging for copper, finding Buddhist treasures

June 26, 2012

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When the China Metallurgical Construction Company purchased a mine in Mes Aynak, Afghanistan, they found more than copper: Ancient Buddhist artifacts were buried below. It's believed there was once a temple and monastery at the site. Now as the Chinese company gets ready to dig, a team of international archeologists is working to preserve the artifacts.

Filmmaker Brent Huffman has been documenting their dig and the politics that encompass the region. Huffman has traveled to Afghanistan five times to interview the archaeologists and Afghans living near the site. The filmmaker also wrangled an interview with the Chinese mining company, which admitted that the Buddhist site was "a problem" as they get closer to digging copper in the mine. Huffman says the search for the Buddhist treasures is also complicated by the presence of the Taliban; archaeologists have received death threats as they search for more relics, according to Huffman. 

Huffman's documentary is still in production, but he joins Worldview Tuesday to share stories of his journey, and discuss what the future holds for the Buddhist site at Mes Aynak.