[skip to content]

SOAS South Asia Institute

BNAC Annual Lecture: Tilaurakot-Kapilavastu: New Archaeological Discoveries in the Nepal' s Terai'

Prof Robin Coningham

Date: 19 November 2014Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 19 November 2014Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: Djam Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture


The site of Tilaurakot is located 28 kilometres west of Lumbini and was first formally surveyed and recorded by P.C. Mukherji of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1899.  Identifying the site as the ancient city of Kapilavastu with reference to location and topography, Mukherji reported that he had successfully found the childhood home of the Gautama Buddha.  Generally accepted by his contemporaries, the site was not subject to further excavation until Dr Debala Mitra’s mission in 1962.  Excavating a single trench across the northern fortifications, she concluded that the city was no older than the second century BCE.  Confronted by K.M. Srivastava’s discoveries at Piprahawa across the Indian border, many scholars rejected Tilaurakot’s identification as Kapilavastu on account of its apparent lack of antiquity although this claim was later challenged by the findings of Tarananda Mishra and Babu Krishna Rijal.  Having first focused on research at Lumbini under the auspices of UNESCO, a multi-disciplinary team drawn from the Lumbini Development Trust, the Department of Archaeology and Durham, Sterling and Tribhuvan Universities started a new archaeological campaign to reinvestigate Tilaurakot in 2012.  Having completed three seasons of geophysical survey, mapping, excavation and laboratory analysis, we are now beginning to understand more about the development and morphology of this complex urban city.  This lecture will present our preliminary findings and consider the antiquity of the site.


Professor Robin Coningham is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health and holds a Chair in Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University.

Organiser: British Nepal Academic Council and SOAS South Asia Institute

Contact email: ssai@soas.ac.uk

Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4390