In memoriam: Mr. Edmund Melzl

Mr. Edmund Mezl worked with ICOMOS Germany and UNESCO for many years on the Organization's conservation projects in the Bamiyan Valley. He took on the massive task of sorting and classifying the thousands of Buddha fragments and other material that came out of the Buddha niches after their destruction.

Edmund had visited the Bamiyan Valley many times, making his first trip there as young man in the 1950s, right up until recently. He spent many months there over many years since 2002 doing the arduous work of sorting through hundreds of tons of rock, sand, and twisted metal from spent armaments to find pieces of sculpture and plaster that remained of the Bamiyan Buddha statues. He did it always with a friendly smile and encouragement for the work of others involved in the project, motivating them to also strive to address the terrible damage that had been wrought in the Valley through the years of war.

Edmund Mezl made an important contribution to the project of conservation of the Buddha fragments and niches and planning for the conservation of the Kakrak Valley through his immense knowledge of Bamiyan and through his research and practical work on the site. Edmund was able to discover in the ruins of the destroyed sculptures, for example, details and methods of their original construction which had remained relatively unknown, and to shed light, therefore, on the possibilities and planning for action into the future. Edmund's work and passion for the art and archaeology of the Bamiyan Valley will continue to positively influence those who follow in his footsteps.

Edmund Mezl passed away in his native Germany at the age of 78. He was a dear friend and will be greatly missed by all colleagues at UNESCO and of Afghanistan, as well as by the World Heritage community, who has looked to him for guidance and inspiration over the years. UNESCO expresses its deepest condolences to Edmund's spouse, family, friends and colleagues. Edmund will be sorely missed.