3,000 Ancient Buddhas Unearthed in China
Handan, China -- Archaeologists unearthed nearly 3,000 Buddha statues, which could be up to 1,500 years old.
The discovery is believed to be the largest of its kind since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, an archaeologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told.
The Buddha statues most of which are made of white marble and limestone and many of which are broken could date back to the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi dynasties (A.D. 534 to 577), experts say.
The statues discovered during a dig outside of Ye, the ancient capital of the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi dynasties may have been rounded up and buried after the fall of the Northern Qi dynasty by later emperors in an attempt to purge the country of Buddhism.
In some cases, the Buddhist statues may have been buried by the faithful themselves in times of danger.