Monday May 7, 2007
I heard on the radio that in a recent survey, archaeology was found to be the number three most favoured career choice amongst school-age kids in the UK, after footballer and whatever the second one was. An archaeologist was interviewed about this surprising find and said, somewhat gloomily, that these kids obviously had never been on an archaeological dig, because archaeology is, most of the time, a painstaking process.
Speaking personally, my only experience with archaeology was in Lithuania, where I spent a month with a group of Lithuanian friends digging in the grounds of a spectacular house in the forest at Verkai, on the hills outside Vilnius. We spent days and days just digging, digging, digging. We discovered a wall which – this was a high point – turned a corner. And we turned up several bottles of pickled fish. I was pleased with the pickled fish, but I was told that they were of no archaeological interest whatsoever. Having almost no Lithuanian language, I never discovered what the wall belonged to.
But sometimes, archaeology is more exciting than this. A few weeks ago, archaeologists in Mustang, Nepal discovered a cave decorated with Buddhist murals dating from the 12th century. In true Indiana Jones style, a local shepherd led the group of archaeologists and mountaineers to the remote cave. After hacking through ice to find the entrance, they were rewarded with the astonishing sight of almost perfectly preserved artworks, the largest up to 25 feet across. A cave nearby contained a collection of manuscripts which are now being catalogued and, presumably, will be translated. The BBC website has the story and a picture of one of the murals.
Comments are turned off for this article.
Today's Most Popular
Questions we cannot go through: Tuesday October 6, 2009
Heidegger, meditation and questioning.
The Pragmatic Buddhist: Thursday April 3, 2008
Some reading matter!
Interfaith Dialogue: Tuesday December 12, 2006
Religion, identity and dialogue and why I am not a Buddhist.
Life Without Free Will: Friday September 1, 2006
The lights are on, but there’s nobody at home…
The Storm Before the Calm: Wednesday December 23, 2009
Pick and Mix: Friday August 26, 2011
Western Buddhists and the spiritually sweet-toothed.
Shiny Buddha: Thursday August 3, 2006
Sri Lankan Buddha images have bene recently reported to be emanating golden light…
Reflections on Sociality and Solitude: Thursday June 29, 2006
Thoughts on solitude and friendship.
Fluidity and Thought: Tuesday January 6, 2009
The snagging of thoughts
Are You Buddhish?: Saturday March 10, 2007
Buddhish. Adjective: Not quite Buddhist; Spuriously or falsely claiming to be Buddhist;
Zen, Brains and Making Friends With Your Own Head: 10 Nov, 2008
It’s a complicated business having a brain.
Lies in Which not Everything is False: 10 Sep, 2008
Stories – they are nothing but a pack of lies.
The Sutras of Abu Ghraib: 30 Oct, 2007
Aidan Delgado on Buddhism, ethics and the war in Iraq.
Baboon: 06 Jun, 2006
Feeling like a grumpy old baboon?
Meditation as Unphenomenology: 07 Feb, 2008
Meditation, cartography and the territory of the mind.