A dozen out of the 50 caves were painted with oil painting technique, using perhaps walnut and poppy seed oils, conclude Ms Yoko Taniguchi from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo, working with the Centre of Research and Restoration of the French Museums-CNRS, France, the Getty Conservation Institute.
"This is the earliest clear example of oil paintings in the world, although drying oils were already used by ancient Romans and Egyptians, but only as medicines and cosmetics", explains Ms Taniguchi, leader of the team."My European colleagues were shocked because they always believed oil paintings were invented in Europe.
Al Jazeera Six lakes make up Band-e-Amir, the site of Afghanistan\(***)s first national park.
Although Bamiyan is picturesque and is often referred to as the "safest" province in Afghanistan, few tourists travel to the impoverished region.
They couldn't believe such techniques could exist in some Buddhist cave deep in the countryside." A combination of techniques to study the paintings was crucial to conclude that oils were used, says Dr Marine Cotte, one of the team.
"We needed different techniques to get the full picture".
The scientists therefore carried out cross sectional analyses using the micro-imaging systems of the Grenoble synchrotron.
This beam is so fine that it can be used to investigate materials on ever smaller scales.
The destruction of this heritagea crime against cultureshocked the world.Art is almost as old as people, and at our best, we seek to protect and preserve it wherever we find it.The older it is, the more precious it is, because of what it can teach us about people long gone."Perhaps if we blow something up, the world will pay attention to us," many in the province told Al Jazeera.The Buddhas were "a historical artifact for Afghanistan, but now another part of our history has been wiped away", says Gholam Sakhi, a native of Bamiyan who moved to Mazar-e-Sharif during the Taliban(***)s rule.The oldest examples of prehistoric rock art found to date are a form of pictograph that archaeologists call “cupules” (cup-marks), which are sometimes accompanied with linear carved grooves.Cupules are depressions carved into both horizontal and vertical rock, often arranged systematically into rows or columns.The samples of paint are made up of several stacked layers, each of which is much thinner than the diameter of a hair, Cotte explains.The major problem lies in analyzing them separately. By combining several analytical methods, we identified not only the original ingredients, but also the alteration products.Al Jazeera This market in Bamiyan city, the provincial capital, is known as "Titanic Market" by locals.Several hotels in Bamiyan city have closed for the winter because their pipes have frozen over.