D., predate the origins of similar sophisticated painting techniques in medieval Europe and the Mediterranean by more than a hundred years.The discovery may also provide insights into cultural exchange along the Silk Road connecting east and west Asia during that time period.
The Bamiyan valley marked the most westerly point of Buddhist expansion and was a crucial hub of trade for much of the second millennium CE.
It was a place where East met West and its archaeology reveals a blend of Greek, Turkish, Persian, Chinese and Indian influence.
The two most prominent statues were the giant, standing Buddhas, measuring 55 and 37 metres (180 and 121 feet) high respectively, the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world.
They were perhaps the most famous cultural landmarks of the region and the site was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the surrounding cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamyan Valley.
The decorations date to between the 5th and 9th centuries A. Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, scientists found that samples from 12 caves and the two destroyed giant Buddhas contained oil- and resin-based paints—likely the earliest known use of either substance for painting.