Archaeologists claim to have uncovered “world’s oldest Buddhist shrine” at site of Buddha’s birth

A high-profile archaeological discovery in Lumbini, Nepal — the Buddhist pilgrimage site thought to be the Buddha’s birthplace — has opened speculation that the Buddha’s birth date may be as much as a century earlier than commonly thought.

Archaeologist Robin Coningham led a team whose excavation underneath an existing third-century BCE shrine uncovered a much older shrine, dated to the sixth century BCE. Coningham claims, in an article published in the December issue of Antiquities magazine, that his team uncovered the “oldest Buddhist shrine in the world.” The excavation was partly funded by UNESCO and National Geographic. The latter will air a documentary about the discovery on its cable channel this coming February, entitled “Buried Secrets of the Buddha.”