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No stone unturned at NW China Buddhist site

Xinhua, Feb 18, 2014

LANZHOU, China -- A Buddhist archaeological site, complete with ashes of prominent devotees, has been identified in northwest China, Gansu archaeology institute confirmed on Tuesday.

The Buddhist relics were found in Jingchuan County, an important way station on the east section of the Silk Road.

The discoveries come from a round of excavations which began in Dec. 2012 at the site of Longxing Temple, which dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Archaeologists found a pottery coffin containing bone fragments, glass bottles and 1,700 samples of ashes no bigger than grains of rice, said excavation team leader Wu Hong.

"This is the third time these kinds of Buddhist remains have been unearthed in the Jingchuan region, following previous digs in 1964 and 1969," said Wu.

Wu's team also found an inscribed brick as well as bones and teeth concealed in the Manjusri Hall at Longxing.

The team also found various pieces of broken statuary. Over 260 pieces of stone, pottery and dried mud from various dynasties have been collected.

Buddhism prospered in Jingchuan throughout different dynasties and a number of major temples are still well preserved.


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