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

Coningham R, Acharya KP, Strickland KM, Davis C, Manuel M, Simpson I, Gilliland K, Tremblay J, Kinnaird TC & Sanderson DCW (2013) The earliest Buddhist shrine: Excavating the birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini (Nepal). Antiquity, 87 (338), pp. 1104-1123.

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.

Nepal; Lumbini; first millennium BC; Buddha; Asoka; Mauryan Horizon; shrine; temple

Antiquity: Volume 87, Issue 338

Author(s)Coningham, Robin; Acharya, Kosh Prasad; Strickland, Keir M; Davis, Christopher; Manuel, Mark; Simpson, Ian; Gilliland, Krista; Tremblay, Jennifer; Kinnaird, Tim C; Sanderson, David C W
FundersUniversity of Durham
Publication date31/12/2013
Date accepted by journal30/04/2013
PublisherAntiquity Publishing
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