The Buddha of the Lake

Digs & Discoveries May/June 2017


When a hydropower construction project lowered the water level of the Hongmen Reservoir in the southeastern Chinese city of Fuzhou, an unexpected visitor appeared—the head and shoulders of a 12-foot-tall Buddha statue carved into what had been a riverside cliff before the area was flooded by a dam in the 1950s. Underwater archaeologists found evidence of a temple below. According to locals, tricky currents made river navigation perilous, so the temple may have been where people prayed for safe passage. Researchers are documenting the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) finds before they are submerged once again by spring rains.

  • Artifacts May/June 2017

    Maya Jade Pectoral

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    (Courtesy Toledo Regional Archaeological Project, UCSD)
  • Around the World May/June 2017


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  • Digs & Discoveries May/June 2017

    Scroll Search

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    (Courtesy Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld)
  • Features May/June 2017

    The Blackener’s Cave

    Viking Age outlaws, taboo, and ritual in Iceland’s lava fields

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    (Photo: Samir S. Patel)