Fresh perspective as dig reveals 9 post holes in Buddha’s birthplace
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 10, 2014
KAPILVASTU, FEB 09 – The recent excavations in Tilaurakot have led to the finding of not one or two but nine ‘post holes’, justifying that the supposed ancient Shakya Capital had been in existence well before the birth of Siddhartha, who later went on to become Gautam Buddha.
The post holes were found 50 metres north-west to the security walls of the palace remains. “The recent findings have provided a fresh perspective towards the ancient city of Tilaurakot, substantiating the historical significance of the city,” said Kosh Prasad Acharya, co-director of the excavation project and senior consultant archaeologist at UNESCO.
The findings have further excited the two well known archaeologists, Prof Robin Coningham, chief archaeologist of the Durham University, and Prof Ian Simpson, specialist of Stirling University, involved in the dig. The well preserved post holes had not been found in former excavations. The nine post holes that range from 15 to 20 diametres have been opened to public viewing.
The soil at places where wooden or bamboo posts are fixed is different in nature and can easily be separated from charcoal and materials used in daily life.
Prof Simpson, who was brought in to examine the soil, has taken the samples for further examination. Another Unesco consultant and senior archaeologist Basanata Bhandari involved in the excavations said that the evidences had validated that the city of Tilaurakot had been there well before the birth of Prince Siddhartha, adding that the fact could be ascertained after the laboratory reports next year.
Unlike former excavations where they had found brick structures, the fresh excavations had led to the finding of wooden structures, establishing that wooden structures were in use earlier.
Prof Coningham said that the findings of the post holes had affirmed the historical significance of the city and would reschedule the dig accordingly.
In 1962, Indian archaeologist Dewala Mitra excavated in the same place. In her report, Mitra mentioned that the city had been in existence in the second or third century, but the preliminary reports from the recent excavations suggest that the city had been in existence in the sixth or seventh century BC. Based on the reports of Mitra, India had brought in the dispute suggesting that the Capital of King Sudhodhan was in Aligadhwa, Siddharthanagar in Indian soil.
But the archaeologists involved in the dig said that the recent evidences had disapproved the report of Mitra.
The excavation project, which is expected to last for two months, is initiated by Unesco and funded by the Japan government in partnership with the Nepal government, along with Durham and Stirling universities and Global Exploration Fund under the National Geographic Society.