For some time, there has been a debate regarding the exact birthdate of the Buddha. But archaeologists excavating around Buddha’s birthplace, have discovered something that may shine a light on the matter. The researchers think they have discovered remains of the earliest known Buddhist shrine which was built in the 6th Century BC at Lumbini, in Nepal. The shrine was a wooden building with a central void which had no roof. It seems to have housed a tree which links it to the story of Buddha’s nativity, as whilst she was giving birth to him his mother held on to a tree branch. Furthermore, Lumbini has been identified as the birthplace of the prince who became the Buddha. Despite Buddha’s birthplace being known, the dates given for his birth have ranged from as far back as 623 BC, although many scholars believe 390-340 BC is more likely. Nevertheless, until now, the earliest evidence of Buddhist structures at Lumbini dated no earlier than the 3rd Century BC. To date, the building charcoal and grains of sand were tested using a combination of radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence techniques, the results were revelatory, as according to archaeologist Prof Robin Coningham of Durham University;
"Now, for the first time, we have an archaeological sequence at Lumbini, that shows a building there as early as the 6th century BC,"