Lumbini excavations: Findings shed light on Buddha birth era
KATHMANDU, NOV 26 –
Archaeologists have found a timber structure dating back to the sixth century BC, which strongly suggests that Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini in Nepal in that era, two centuries earlier than previously thought.
This is the first archeological material discovered so far that links Buddha’s life to as early as the sixth century BC, national and international experts have said. The life of the Buddha has so far been known only through textual sources and oral tradition. A team of experts involved in excavation since January 2013 within the Sacred Garden of Lumbini, has uncovered the remains of the previously unknown structure belonging to the ancient timber shrine containing an open space in the centre. The structure links to the nativity of the Buddha.
“For the first time, we have an archaeological sequence at Lumbini that shows a building there as early as the sixth century,” said Robin Coningham, Professor at Durham University in the UK, in a statement jointly issued by the Nepal government, Unesco and Durham University here on Monday.
Coningham co-led an excavation team, along with senior Nepali archaeologist Kosh Prasad Acharya.
To determine the dates of the timber shrine and an unknown early brick structure above it, the team used the fragments of charcoal and grains of sand that were tested using a combination of radiocarbon (tool used to determine the approximate age of an ancient specimen) and optically stimulated luminescence techniques, the statement said.The ‘archeological investigation project’ initiated by Unesco was funded by the Japan government in partnership with the Nepal government, along with Durham and Stirling Universities and Global Exploration Fund under the National Geographic Society.
Head of the archival section at the Department of Archaeology (DoA) Prakash Darnal said that the discovery has provided concrete evidence to support the claim that the birth of the Buddha and development of Buddhism link to the Lumbini area as far as the sixth century BC.
According to him, Lumbini has so far been considered the birthplace of the Buddha on the basis of a sandstone pillar with an inscription, documenting a visit by Emperor Ashoka in the third century BC.
Posted on: 2013-11-26 08:50