Archaeologists working in Nepal have uncovered evidence of a structure at the birthplace of the Buddha dating to the sixth century B. This is the first archaeological material linking the life of the Buddha -- and thus the first flowering of Buddhism -- to a specific century.
Archaeologists working in Nepal have uncovered evidence of a structure at the birthplace of the Buddha dating to the sixth century B. This is the first archaeological material linking the life of the Buddha -- and thus the first flowering of Buddhism -- to a specific century. Laid out on the same design as those above it, the timber structure contains an open space in the center that links to the nativity story of the Buddha himself.
Precisely dating archaeological artifacts is not as easy or harmless as it might seem.
The most common method, radiocarbon dating, requires that a piece of an organic object be destroyed—washed with a strong acid and base at high temperature to remove impurities, and then set aflame.
The archaeological investigation there was funded by the government of Japan in partnership with the government of Nepal, under a UNESCO project aimed at strengthening the conservation and management of Lumbini. Four main Buddhist sites Lumbini is one of the key sites associated with the life of the Buddha; others are Bodh Gaya, where he became a Buddha or enlightened one; Sarnath, where he first preached; and Kusinagara, where he passed away. At his passing at the age of 80, the Buddha is recorded as having recommended that all Buddhists visit "Lumbini." The shrine was still popular in the middle of the first millennium A. and was recorded by Chinese pilgrims as having a shrine beside a tree. Geoarchaeological research also confirmed the presence of ancient tree roots within the temple's central void. For a National Geographic news video about the findings, see: Archaeologists have uncovered in central Israel the earliest known Neolithic quarry in the southern Levant, dating back 11,000 years."UNESCO is very proud to be associated with this important discovery at one of the most holy places for one of the world's oldest religions," said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, who urged "more archaeological research, intensified conservation work and strengthened site management" to ensure Lumbini's protection. Findings from the site indicate large-scale quarrying activities ...