Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Monastery Is Older, Larger, Than Previously Thought

Friday, March 29, 2013

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN—New carbon dates taken from charcoal at the only Buddhist monastery in the Taxila Valley suggest that it was built in the third century B.C., or at least 300 years earlier than previously thought. At its height in the third century A.D., 55 monk cells were not enough to house all of the monks that came to study, and so an annex, or “mini monastery,” was added. “When we cleared bushes from the area south of the main monastery, there were visible signs that a structure could be buried underneath,” said Muhammad Ashraf Kahn of the Institute of Asian Civilizations. A stucco figurine of Buddha, iron door knockers, pottery, coins, and a grinding stone were found in the small monastery. Animal bones at the site indicate that the monks kept domesticated animals.