The Ancient Herat Project was planned and carried out in the general frame of the German-Afghan Archaeological Mission to Afghanistan, which had started working in Kabul in 2002 under the auspices of the Eurasia Department of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin and was carried out later on in collaboration with the Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
It took shape in discussions with the cooperation partners in Kabul during the last phase of the excavations in Bagh-e Babur, in the course of evaluating options for further research. The project, generously funded by the Cultural Preservation Department of the German Federal Foreign Office, developed through time and finally included three large, but closely linked components, which were complementary in an almost ideal way:
- an archaeological survey and documentation of sites and monuments in Herat Province (2004–2007; Vol. 1),
- archaeological excavations and explorations in Herat City (2005–2009; Vol. 2) and
- the re installation of the Herat Museum along with the documentation and conservation of its collection (2008–2012). This last project, published in 2016 as Volume 3 in the ‘Ancient Herat’ series, provided the opportunity to present the mission's finds and the museum's holdings in a wider regional, cultural and historical setting and to showcase them to a general public.
The three volumes avail for the first time comprehensive archaeological and primary information on the cultural heritage from a region of outstanding historical significance that remains beyond reach for scholars and interested people.