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The earliest Buddhist shrine: excavating the birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini (Nepal)

  • R.A.E. Coningham (a1), K.P. Acharya (a2), K.M. Strickland (a3), C.E. Davis (a1), M.J. Manuel (a1), I.A. Simpson (a4), K. Gilliland (a4), J. Tremblay (a1), T.C. Kinnaird (a5) and D.C.W. Sanderson (a5)...
Abstract

Key locations identified with the lives of important religious founders have often been extensively remodelled in later periods, entraining the destruction of many of the earlier remains. Recent UNESCO-sponsored work at the major Buddhist centre of Lumbini in Nepal has sought to overcome these limitations, providing direct archaeological evidence of the nature of an early Buddhist shrine and a secure chronology. The excavations revealed a sequence of early structures preceding the major rebuilding by Asoka during the third century BC. The sequence of durable brick architecture supplanting non-durable timber was foreseen by British prehistorian Stuart Piggott when he was stationed in India over 70 years ago. Lumbini provides a rare and valuable insight into the structure and character of the earliest Buddhist shrines.

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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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