In case you missed the hubbub about the “discovery” in Nepal, here is an excellent response from Dr. Gombrich. This “discovery” was something even the BBC reported.

Recent discovery of “earliest Buddhist shrine” a sham?

The story that garnered international headlines made numerous unfounded and misinformed claims

by Professor Richard Gombrich

In the December 2013 issue of the archaeological journal Antiquity there appears an article by several authors, headed by Prof. Robin Coningham of Durham University. Its appearance has been successfully managed to secure international publicity. The article was embargoed until a specified hour, timed to immediately succeed an announcement to the press in the USA.

The article claims a sensational discovery. The press release is entitled “Archaeological Discoveries Confirm Early Date of Buddha’s Life,” and its first paragraph summarizes the claim in these words: “Archaeologists working in Nepal have uncovered evidence of a structure at the birthplace of the Buddha dating to the 6th century BC. This is the first archaeological material linking the life of the Buddha—and thus the first flowering of Buddhism—to a specific century.” On the BBC website the announcement reads: “‘Earliest shrine’ uncovered at Buddha’s birthplace.” Thus at each stage the alleged discovery becomes simpler and more definite. Notice also the word “confirm” in the title of the press release. If we go back to the article we find the same process: as hypothesis, or rather, guess, builds upon guess, possible slides into probable and finally emerges unembellished as a firm claim…

Read the full article here:

http://www.tricycle.com/blog/recent-discovery-earliest-buddhist-shrine-sham

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