But is the inscription on the jar stating “these are the relics of the Buddha – the Lord” genuine?
Allen meets with Harry Falk, a professor at Germany’s oldest institute of Indology and the world’s leading authority on ancient Indian languages, to authenticate the ancient Brahmi script.
Peppe had no idea what they’d find just a little more than 20 feet down.
They unearthed an astonishing discovery: a huge stone coffer, containing five reliquary jars, more than 1,000 separate jewels – carved semi-precious stones and gold and silver objects – and some ash and bone.
No written records about Gautama were found from his lifetime or some centuries thereafter.
The Jātakas retell previous lives of Gautama as a bodhisattva, and the first collection of these can be dated among the earliest Buddhist texts.
According to the Buddhist tradition, Gautama was born in Lumbini, now in modern-day Nepal, and raised in the Shakya capital of Kapilvastu, which may have been either in what is present day Tilaurakot, Nepal or Piprahwa, India.
He obtained his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath, and died in Kushinagar.
The mysterious hill known as Piprahwa where the tomb was found sits on the northern edge of the Birdpore estate.
Allen traces Peppe’s steps to authenticate the find, uncovering how the discovery became shrouded in scandal and where the Piprahwa ashes and bones reside today.