The discipline of archaeology in Afghanistan was at a turning point when the original editions of The archaeology of Afghanistan and the Archaeological gazetteer of Afghanistan were published in 1978 and 1982, respectively. The first three decades of modern archaeological activity in Afghanistan (1920s–1940s) were dominated by French archaeologists who primarily focused on the pre-Islamic past, particularly the Buddhist period. Following the Second World War, however, Afghanistan gradually opened archaeological practice to a more international community. Consequently, the scope of archaeological exploration expanded to include more robust studies of the prehistoric, pre-Islamic and Islamic periods. In the 1960s, the Afghan Institute of Archaeology began conducting its own excavations, and by the late 1970s, national and international excavations were uncovering exciting new discoveries across the country. These archaeological activities largely halted as Afghanistan descended into chaos during the Soviet-Afghan War (1979–1989) and the Afghan Civil War (1989–2001); the Afghan Institute of Archaeology was the only archaeological institute continuing operations. The original editions of the volumes under review were therefore timely and poignant publications that captured the peak of archaeological activity in twentieth-century Afghanistan and became classic texts on the subject.
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