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via Archaeology: TAIYUAN, CHINA—Xinhua reports that a small, 1,500-year-old statue has been found in a small hole in one of the caves of the Yungang Grottoes. Wang Yanqing of the Yungang Grottoes Research Institute was conducting a survey of the Buddhist temples built in the fifth and sixth centuries into 53 major caves, and more than 50,000 niches, when he found the eroded statue. Measuring about six inches tall, the figure has wide shoulders, a muscular chest and abdomen, and outstretched arms. It had been placed in a small hole nearly 40 feet above the ground. “We guess the statue was carved by the craftsmen who cut the hole,” Wang said. “Due to its stealthy location, it was concealed when the wooden beams of the protective structures of the statue were plugged into the hole.” To read about another excavation in China, go to “Early Signs of Empire.”


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