Located on a rocky cliff on the outskirts of Kabul, Tepe Narenj is a Buddhist site with ruins dating from around the 5th or 6th century A.D. The site is a monastery, mentioned in a Chinese novel dating from the 1590s, and destroyed in the 9th century A.D. by Muslim armies. It was then forgotten until excavations in 1989, following the end of the Afghanistan war, carried out jointly by the Japanese National Research Institute and the Afghan Institute of Archaeology.
The site is threatened by the urban expansion of the city of Kabul, the hills surrounding which are occupied by shanty housing. The steep topography of the site has also prevented archaeologists from drawing up an overall plan of the site.
A rapid flight over the archaeological area enabled us to produce a detailed “orthophotograph*” of the entire site and its immediate surroundings, enabling the spatial adjustment of all of the archaeological structures and modern habitations constructed around the perimeter of the site.
*Broadly speaking, an orthophotograph is an image in which the effect of perspective has been eliminated.