27.11.2013 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

Archaeological discoveries in Nepal confirm early date of Buddha’s life

© Ira Block/National Geographic

Archaeologists working in Nepal have uncovered evidence of a structure at the birthplace of the Buddha dating back to the sixth century B.C. This is the first archaeological material linking the life of the Buddha — and thus the first flowering of Buddhism — to a specific century.Pioneering excavations within the Sacred Garden of Lumbini, Nepal, a UNESCO World Heritage site long identified as the birthplace of the Buddha, uncovered the remains of a previously unknown timber structure under a series of brick temples.

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.“Very little is known about the life of the Buddha, except through textual sources and oral tradition,” said archaeologist Professor Robin Coningham of Durham University, U.K., who co-led the investigation. Some scholars, he said, have maintained that the Buddha was born in the third century B.C. “

We thought ‘why not go back to archaeology to try to answer some of the questions about his birth, “Coningham said. “Now, for the first time, we have an archaeological sequence at Lumbini that shows a building there as early as the sixth century B.C.”  read more




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