Xinhua/Zhang Guojun via Getty Images
January 17, 2017

Archeologists will begin exploring a site in eastern China after villagers reported a Buddha head emerging from a local reservoir.

The head was spotted at Hongmen Reservoir in the city of Fuzhou in China’s Jiangxi Province, according to local reports. Archeologists are investigating the possibility that the manmade lake was previously used as a holy site.

According to initial observations, the Buddha statue was likely carved during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Researchers also spotted rectangular holes carved into a nearby cliff. They suspect a temple may have been built there.

Archeologists will use sonar equipment and other underwater detection techniques to survey the lake over a four-day period.

Hongmen Reservoir was built in 1958 to service China’s Nancheng and Lichuan counties. But it was only last year, when a hydropower gate renovation project lowered water levels at the reservoir by 10 meters, that villagers spotted a Buddha head emerging from the lake.

The reservoir sits on the ruins of Xiaoshi Township. It was once used as a trade center and its waterways connected Jiangxi and Fujian provinces.

Jiangxi Province was the capital of China during the Ming dynasty. In June, archeologists uncovered a skull bone they believe belonged to the buddha himself, Siddhartha Guatama, in the same province.

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