Category Archives: Archaeology

Experts Fear Capital Burial of Buddhist Heritage along Krishna

Tourists enjoying the beauty of the Undavalli caves in Guntur district on Monday. (Bottom) A view of the famous Mogalrajpuram caves that are located in the heart of Vijayawada | EXPRESS PHOTO

Tourists enjoying the beauty of the Undavalli caves in Guntur district on Monday. (Bottom) A view of the famous Mogalrajpuram caves that are located in the heart of Vijayawada | EXPRESS PHOTO

New Indian Express
By P Laxma Reddy Published: 09th September 2014 06:24 AM Last Updated: 09th September 2014 06:24 AM

VIJAYAWADA: The state government must evolve a proper mechanism to protect archaeological monuments and historical sites before embarking on the massive construction of the Capital city in Vijayawada region as several important Buddhist remnants and sites are located on either side of river Krishna, feel culture and heritage enthusiasts.

They are worried about the possible destruction of the sites that are yet to be declared as protected monuments and also threat to the sites that were already declared as protected due to the rapid construction activity.

In view of this, they are demanding that the government take steps for a survey by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in this region in addition to the survey taken up by the state government to unearth more Buddhist or other remnants and also protect the unearthed sites.

“During the Satavahana period, the present Amaravati town was called Dhanyakataka or Dharanikota. And it was also the capital for them. We can find several ancient remains on either side of river Krishna in both Guntur and Krishna districts. I expect that we can unearth several monuments, if we take up a comprehensive survey and excavations in the area. In view of this, the government should take utmost care and conduct a survey before taking up constructions between Mangalagiri and Amaravati towns,” said an official of the Archaeology Department. Continue reading

China And Afghanistan’s Minerals: Archaeologists Still Scrambling To Save Mes Aynak

A Buddha statue discovered at the Mes Aynak archaeological site in the eastern province of Logar, in Afghanistan. The ancient city sits on top of one of the world’s largest known copper deposits, which is currently on lease to a state-owned Chinese mining company. Brent Huffman

A Buddha statue discovered at the Mes Aynak archaeological site in the eastern province of Logar, in Afghanistan. The ancient city sits on top of one of the world’s largest known copper deposits, which is currently on lease to a state-owned Chinese mining company. Brent Huffman

International Business Times
By Kathleen Caulderwood

on August 25 2014 4:56 PM

More than a decade ago, the world was outraged when the Taliban destroyed two massive Buddha statues in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley in a vendetta against all non-Islamic art. Today, an even larger and older collection of artifacts is under threat, but this time the conflict has more to do with economics than religion.

Mes Aynak is a 9,800-acre archeological site in Afghanistan’s Logar Province. It was once a major city on the ancient Silk Road and is home to structures dating back more than 2,600 years. Archeologists say it’s a cultural goldmine, but others are more concerned with what lies beneath it — 5.5 million metric tons of high-grade copper ore.

Six years ago, China’s largest mining company signed a $3 billion agreement with the Afghan government for rights to the site, a move cheered for its potential to boost jobs and the country’s struggling economy. But the decision left archeologists scrambling to recover what cultural heritage they could before work on the mine began. Even though the company has delayed its project for other reasons, tight budgets and a lack of assistance from the Afghan government mean the ancient city is far from safe.

An ancient Buddhist stupa uncovered at the Mes Aynak archaeological site. Brent Huffman

An ancient Buddhist stupa uncovered at the Mes Aynak archaeological site. Brent Huffman

Continue reading

‘Hand over Bheemili sites to ASI for upkeep’

Times of India
TNN | Aug 26, 2014, 02.45AM IST

VISAKHAPATNAM: The ancient Buddhist heritage sites of Thotlakonda and Bavikonda should be handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for conservation as they are not properly maintained by the state-run archaeology department and archaeological norms are being violated in and around the sites. This was the observation made by a heritage conservation expert when asked by the Intach (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) headquarters at Delhi to visit the sites and submit an assessment report.

BK Rath, heritage conservation and culture consultant with Intach, and former superintendent of Odisha State Archaeology and State Archives, toured the two Buddhist sites of Thotlakonda and Bavikonda near Bheemilipatnam on Monday. He was accompanied by senior Intach Vizag members Rani Sarma and Mayank Kumari Deo. The sites have 2,000-year-old stupas and chaityas and is said to belong to the non-iconic Therawada Buddhism sect.

“These are very important and ancient archaeological sites, which can definitely be better managed by ASI where even the Union tourism ministry can’t interfere. From my work experience, I have found that the state archaeology departments suffer from various limitations, including shortage of technically skilled manpower, expertise and funds, besides various types of political pressure in fund utilisation. The work done in the sites some two to three decades ago now needs retouching by skilled hands, but the tourism department usually engages consultants who are modern architects and not archaeologists,” averred Rath. Continue reading

Buddha bowl return request gets louder

The Telegraph
PIYUSH KUMAR TRIPATHI

Patna, Aug. 10: Strong voices are now being raised from the state to bring back the 400kg greenish-grey bowl kept at National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul to Vaishali, which is being claimed to be its place of origin.

The bowl, considered to be one of the most revered relics in Buddhism across the globe, was supposedly used by Gautam Buddha as a “daanpatra” (alms bowl) during his stay in Vaishali.

Art, culture and youth affairs department minister Vinay Bihari said today that the state government would extend its support to the central government in establishing the provenance of the bowl in Vaishali.

Veteran RJD leader and former Vaishali MP Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has written a letter to chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, asking him to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate steps to bring back the bowl.

The Telegraph yesterday reported that archaeologists have lately found strong evidences to prove that the bowl was made in the 6th century BC in Vaishali, and taken to Kandahar (then Gandhar) in Afghanistan by the first century Kushan emperor Kanishka. Continue reading

Buddhist relics found at Confucian academy

A gilded bronze vajra (top left) and a bell (top right) used in Buddhist rituals and presumed to be from the 12th century were found in a Confucian academy site in Dobong District, northern Seoul, the Cultural Heritage Administration said yesterday. A total of 77 artifacts were found. [NEWS1],[NEWSIS]

A gilded bronze vajra (top left) and a bell (top right) used in Buddhist rituals and presumed to be from the 12th century were found in a Confucian academy site in Dobong District, northern Seoul, the Cultural Heritage Administration said yesterday. A total of 77 artifacts were found. [NEWS1],[NEWSIS]

Korean JoongAng Daily
The artifacts could be from as early as the eighth century.

Aug 22,2014

A trove of Buddhist artifacts was unearthed on the site of a Confucian academy in Korea, the first discovery of its kind in the country.

The site in Dobong District, northern Seoul, was originally the site of a Buddhist temple called Yeongguk Temple.

The temple, whose construction date is uncertain, existed between Korea’s Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and the early part of the subsequent Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Records say in 1573 a seowon – the Confucian institution that functioned as both an academy and a shrine – was built on the site, which was called Dobong Seowon.

Scholars say, therefore, the finding reflects one of Joseon’s governing policies: “Repress Buddhism and promote Confucianism.” Whereas during Goryeo, Buddhism was a state religion and Buddhist culture and art flourished, Joseon chose Confucianism as its state religion, leading to the decline of Buddhist culture and art. Continue reading

Researchers come across trove of Buddhist artifacts

This photo provided by the Seoul Institute of Cultural Heritage shows a Buddhist ritual bell from the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) uncovered at the site of Dobong Seowon, a Joseon-era (1392-1910) shrine in northern Seoul. (Yonhap)

This photo provided by the Seoul Institute of Cultural Heritage shows a Buddhist ritual bell from the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) uncovered at the site of Dobong Seowon, a Joseon-era (1392-1910) shrine in northern Seoul. (Yonhap)

Published : 2014-08-21 20:44
Updated : 2014-08-21 20:44
South Korean researchers said Thursday they have uncovered dozens of artifacts used in Buddhist ceremonies nearly a millennium ago, as they begin to unravel the mystery behind an ancient shrine where they were discovered.

The 77 artifacts include a vajra, a type of club with ribbed spherical heads, bells and censers thought to be from the Joseon era (1392-1910), or possibly even earlier.

Researchers at the Seoul Institute of Cultural Heritage were wrapping up an archaeological field survey on Dobong Seowon, a tiny shrine for two Joseon-era scholars in northern Seoul, when they came upon a pot containing the objects.

Scientists said the artifacts could even be from the earlier Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), as the site of their discovery matches the location of a Goryeo temple ― one of the utensils even bears its name, the Dobong Temple.

Joo Kyeong-mi, a professor specializing in metalcraft, said the artifacts seem to be from the 11th century “at the latest,” as some of them exhibit traits unique to those found from the eighth and ninth centuries.

The fact that the pot was wrapped in a straw mat also suggests it may have been buried intentionally, she added.

Although the field survey was conducted in 2012, researchers said it took them two years to ensure that the artifacts would not decompose.

They were put on display at Seoul’s National Palace Museum of Korea on Thursday in an exhibit cohosted by the South Korean government. (Yonhap)

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Ancient Buddhist Site Left Unprotected by Indian Government

Ancient archaeological site in Srinagar known to be a Buddhist monument. From www.risingkashmir.com

Ancient archaeological site in Srinagar known to be a Buddhist monument. From http://www.risingkashmir.com

Buddhistdoor International
Naushin Ahmed
2014-08-19

An archaeological site that is known to be a Buddhist monument is facing danger in Srinagar, India. The site, which dates to the 3rd century, is located in Srinagar’s Harwan area, and was proclaimed an archaeological site two years ago by the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums J&K (Jammu and Kashmir).

Despite being included in a proposal to the Indian government for the protection of unidentified archaeological sites in the state, officials told Rising Kashmir that they hadn’t received any response from either the state government or the government of India.

The site is known to belong to a Buddhist period from which terracotta tiles have been recovered. Two archaeological monuments, dated at 15 and 11 centuries old, have apparently also been left unprotected by the state government: according to Dr. Fida Hassnain one of them, Pandrathan Temple, was built on the site of the Buddhist temple where Xuanzang, a Chinese monk, stayed during his two years in Kashmir (Wang 2006, 268–69). Rising Kashmir further reports that the Indian and state governments have not provided protection for 144 other proposed archaeological sites in J&K. The requests from officials seem to have gone unnoticed, even though the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and State Archaeology Act both urge the importance of conserving such sites. Continue reading