New archaeological find holds clues to Buddha’s birth date

Mayadevi Temple

Mayadevi Temple

New archaeological find in Lumbini – the birthplace of Buddha — has pushed back the birth date of Lord Buddha to 6th century BC.


The Buddhist shrine uncovered recently inside the Mayadevi Temple in Lumbini is believed to date back to 550 BC. The discovery points to Buddha living more than a century earlier than the dates accepted by many.


According to an article published in the journal Antiquity, a group of archaeologists dug beneath the existing brick structures at Mayadevi Temple which is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year.


“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,” Archaeologist Robin Coningham told National Geographic magazine.


To establish the dates of the earliest Buddhist shrine, archaeologists analyzed charcoal and sand collected at the excavation site. Different techniques used on each of these materials pointed to the same conclusion of the sixth century BC.


Issuing a statement, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ram Kumar Shrestha said these discoveries are very important to better understand the birthplace of the Buddha. “The government of Nepal will spare no effort to preserve this significant site,” he added.

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