A team of Japanese researchers has found Buddhist stone caves believed to date back to the eighth century about 120 kilometers west of the Bamiyan ruins in central Afghanistan, the team said Wednesday.
The team, headed by Ryukoku University professor Takashi Irisawa, confirmed in late October the discovery of a group of caves built on cliffs located 1 km west of the Keligan ruins in the upper Band-e-Amir River area.
The discovery indicates the possibility that the influence of Buddhism may have extended to the area of the upper waters of the river centering around the Keligan ruins around the eighth century, and that the religion's sphere of influence in the region may have been greater than previously thought, team members said. Islam was beginning to gather momentum around that time.
"It will provide an invaluable clue in researching the sphere of Buddhism stretching westward," said Irisawa, an expert on Buddhist culture at the Kyoto-based university.
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