The excavations of the Italian Archaeological Mission led to the discovery of three main sites belonging to both pre-Islamic and Islamic periods.

Buddhist sites in Ghazni

As for the pre-Islamic period, the Buddhist sacred area of Tapa Sardar provided a unique archaeological oversight of major cultural issues, such as the different artistic conventions exploited in the course of time ‒ from the traditions of Gandharan ascendance of the Early Period to the “Hindukush” koiné of the late Period, where elements of Central-Asiatic, Chinese and Indian origin coalesced in an innovative visual language ‒ or the interconnection between religion and politics, of great interest especially with regard to the period when Buddhist and Islamic cultures started to confront each other. Moreover, this documentation and the relevant studies constitute an important repository of reference data for ongoing excavations, such as Mes Aynak and Tepe Narenj.

Islamic sites in Ghazni

Two Islamic buildings of the medieval period were brought to light in the plain of Dasht-i Manara: a Ghaznavid palace (also known as the palace of Mas‘ud III) with a four-iwan plan and domed throne hall – originally richly decorated with polychrome-painted wall paneling in marble and stucco – and a private residence, named the house of lustre-wares after the almost intact assemblage of lustre-painted ceramics found in it. Both date back to the domination of the powerful dynasties of the Ghaznavids and the Ghurids (end of the 10th-13th century), when the city of Ghazni was one of the main Islamic capitals of Asia, a cultural centre where men of letters and science met, and an interaction area between the Iranian, Central Asian and Indian worlds.

In addition, the area of Ghazni is scattered with remnants dating from the Ghaznavid period onward, which include extant buildings (minarets, mosques, mausoleums), and cemeteries