Miss Jennifer Tremblay
(email at email@example.com)
The Development and Spread of Early Buddhism in South Asia: an Archaeological Evaluation
The study of the development and spread of Early Buddhism in South Asia has long been dominated by the use of textual sources, with material culture being used simply to legitimize these sources (Trautmann & Sinopoli 2002). This state of affairs acknowledges the rich tradition of the institutionalisation of sources but recent research has begun to challenge a number of the narratives thus constructed as they have established a rather static and homogenous picture of early Buddhism (Coningham 1995, 2001; Schopen 1997; Trautmann and Sinopoli 2002). Indeed, recent fieldwork at Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka), both at Trench Anuradhapura Salgaha Watta 2, and within the city’s hinterland, has provided data as to the key social and economic role of monasteries as well as a unique opportunity to compare the archaeological evidence for the arrival and spread of Buddhism alongside the island’s rich textual heritage.
This thesis will expand this study by also mapping the material culture, architecture and landscape archaeology of two additional sites, Taxila and Lumbini, against the textual records for the development of Buddhism in those key regions. Finally, this thesis will examine the general archaeological visibility of Buddhism as well as the visibility of women in the Buddhism past, the latter being a subject that has received little attention in South Asian archaeology.