Oldest Buddhist Shrine Uncovered In Nepal May Push Back the Buddha's Birth Date
Excavations uncover a shrine dating to the sixth century B.C.
"What we have got is the earliest Buddhist shrine in the world," says archaeologist Robin Coningham of the United Kingdom's Durham University, lead author of the discovery study, released on Monday by the journal Antiquity.
In the study, the international archaeology team reports digging beneath existing brick structures at the shrine, which is visited yearly by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.
The excavations showed that older wooden structures lay beneath the walls of the later brick Buddhist shrine. The layout of that more recent shrine duplicates the layout of the earlier wooden structures, pointing to a continuity of Buddhist worship at the site, Coningham says.
"The big debate has been about when the Buddha lived and now we have a shrine