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106. Kabul: Chaman-i Hazouri

Variant names: Chaman-i-Houzouri; Jeshn Ground

Kabul Province. A former parade ground within the city limits, recently used as a camp for displaced persons

Date: Achaemenid, 6th - 4th century BC


The Chaman-i-Houzouri lies at the foot of Tepe Maranjan hill, southeast of the center of Kabul. This open field was a golf course during the reign of Amir Habibullah (1901–1919) and today is a favorite meeting ground, especially on Fridays and during holidays such as Jeshn-i-Jamhuriat (July 17–19), Republic Day. In 1933 a building that adjoined Chaman-i Hazouri was under construction, and in the foundation an ancient pot was discovered containing jewelry and approximately 1,000 coins — including 6th and 5th century BC Gandharan bent bar silver pieces, coins of local manufacture, as well as 5th and 4th century BC Achaemenid period coins of Persian origin. The Chaman-i Hazouri Hoard, as it is now called, was probably buried ca. 380 BC, since no coin in the pot dated from after that time. The exact number of coins discovered at the constuction site may never be known; 127 coins were recovered and taken to the National Museum for further study.

The International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS) Newsletter, volume 17, March, 2002, page 14 reports the following: "Among the now lost coins from the plundered cabinet of the National Museum in Kabul are those from the hoard of Chaman-i Hazuri, named after its provenance, a parade ground in Kabul. This treasure, which also included pieces of jewellery, was discovered in 1933 when foundations for a house were being dug. Informants reported that some 1,000 silver coins were recovered, but this assessment was never supported by coin evidence; some 127 coins, all definitely from the Chaman-i-Hazuri hoard, found their way to the Kabul Museum. From the composition of this find it is clear that the hoard must have been buried somewhere in the fourth century BC, possibly not long after circa 380 BC. This terminus post quem is based on the presence in the hoard of a coin from a series that copies a sixth-century Athenian coin type, but was actually struck in the early fourth century BC. Most of the coins in the hoard are much older: sixty-three of the Chaman-i-Hazuri coins were struck by the Greeks before 550 BC; eight coins were issued in the name of the Achaemenid king, Darius I, who ruled between 521 and 486 BC. Of unknown date are twelve bent-bar coins in the hoard carrying punched wheel-symbols. These coins are typically found in early Gandhara, but their exact period of circulation is not known so far. Finally, the hoard contained forty-three coins, apparently of local manufacture, which have been punched with animal motifs on two sides. The hoard thus illustrates that Greek, Iranian, and local Gandharan coins may have circulated in the area of Kabul shortly before its burial. The hoard forms a perfect numismatic illustration to the blended cultural entourage of fourth century BC Afghanistan."

The Chaman-i Hazouri coins were first published and illustrated in 1955 (Tresors Monetaires en Afghanistan, volume 15 in the series known as Memoires de la Délégation Archeologique Française en Afghanistan) and remained at the Afghanistan National Museum until they were stolen during the looting of the Museum that occurred between the spring of 1992 and 1994. At least 14 of the Chaman-i Hazouri coins were smuggled to Pakistan, acquired by the collector Aman Ur Rahman and published in the book Pre-Kushana Coins in Pakistan in 1995. Their present whereabouts of these 14 coins, and the whereabouts of the other 113 Chaman-i Hazouri coins is unknown.



  34º 30' 53.28" N
  34.5148º N
  69º 11'42.0000 E

69.195º E

  517898 E
  3819255 N

Click here to view the Google
Earth satellite image of
Chaman-i Hazouri in Kabul
(the green arrow in the image
points to the precise location)