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This website details ongoing research conducted within the Natal Landscape of the Buddha, the southern Nepali Terai. Centred on the two key sites of Lumbini and Tilaurakot, but incorporating other key sites such as Ramagrama, Araurakot, Kodan and others, this research focuses upon developing our understanding of the early archaeological sequences of each site. This work began in 2011, and is predominantly supported by UNESCO through the Japanese-Funds-in-Trust (JFIT), in the capacity of current World Heritage management and interpretation at Lumbini. Phase I of the project was conducted as part of a broader project called Strengthening the Conservation and Management of Lumbini; the Birthplace of Lord Buddha, which brought together archaeologists, conservators, site planners and management teams to look at how to protect and improve the management of Lumbini in light of future developments. Phase II of the project, again sponsored by UNESCO-JFIT, the Government of Nepal and Durham University is has shifted the focus to Tilaurakot, the childhood home of the Buddha, to explore its archaeological signature, and to help develop the site for potential future nomination for World Heritage status.

In collaboration with UNESCO, the Lumbini Development Trust and the Department of Archaeology (Government of Nepal), Durham University has significantly changed the manner in which the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lumbini is both protected and managed. The archaeological research has helped to revise the development plans for the site, reversing proposals that would have damaged some of the early archaeological sequences at the site. This input into the long-term management and preservation of the site is becoming increasingly important in light of the Asian Development Bank's ambition to develop Lumbini and the surrounding archaeological vestiges as a major tourist and pilgrimage destinations, with the number of visitors expected to increase rapidly in the future. The work is still ongoing at Tilaurakot, but we are slowly putting together a picture of a vibrant Early historic city, and regional capital of the Sakya kingdom.