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6 September 2012
Secrets of ancient Bon religion uncovered

Before Buddhism was introduced to Tibet, in the 7th Century CE, the main religion was known as Bon. This was an elemental religion involving the worship of mountains and lakes etc. Until recently little was known but recent excavations by a team from the archaeological institute of the Chinese Academy of social sciences have uncovered tombs which hold vital secrets.
     The tombs were found near a Bon monastery in Gar County, Ngari Prefecture, Tibet. The tombs contained sacrificial items as well as human remains. Carbon dating has placed these artefacts at approximately 200 BCE to 200 CE, which puts them somewhere between the Western Han Dynasty and the Wei Kingdom and they are believed to be associated with the ancient Shangshung Kingdom. The items originated for far across China as well as northern India which lead Dr Tong Tao, of the archaeological institute to be quoted as saying that "The ancient kingdom of Shangshung is widely believed to be the cradle of the Bon religion and therefore a cultural and political centre for the plateau".
     Further large scale excavations are planned next year and Dr Tong believes that "Hopefully, we will find out more about the mysteries of the ancient Shangshung kingdom".

Edited from China.org (24 August 2012)

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