In 2008 an international team of archaeologists discovered the worlds oldest known oil paintings in a cave maze in Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan. This is the same place where the Taliban’s blew up the giant stone Buddha statues in 2001. The teams work started in 2003 to start preserving Buddhist paintings in about 1000 caves. These paintings were damaged over the years, due to the harsh environment, looting and the before said explosions. In these caves, there are paintings of Lord Buddha, bodhisattvas, and female devotees. One unique painting shows solar deity Mithra, riding a chariot driven by 4 winged horses.
Their 2008 research revealed that paint samples from 12 of the caves contained “dry oils”, more likely to be walnut and poppy seed oils. According to Yoko Taniguchi the Japanese conservation scientist on the team there is evidence that the Mediterranean used dry oils for perfumes, medicines and cosmetics. But before this, discovery there was no evidence on usage of dry oil on paintings before the 12th century A.D.
These paintings and the statues which the Taliban exploded lies on the silk road. Yoko says that this is one of the most important scientific discovery on the field of archaeology. She says that it indicates that more complicated material and technical interconnections in this area than the world previously thought.