Airs Tuesday, July 23 at 10:00 PM on WVIZ/PBS
This show is a modern day Indiana Jones story: a tale of deception, treasure, intrepid adventurers and international realpolitik. Did a 19th-century British landowner really discover gold, jewels and the charred bones of the Lord Buddha in an underground chamber on his estate? When Colonial estate manager, Willie Peppe, set his workers digging at a mysterious hill in Northern India in 1898, he had no idea what they’d find. Just over 20 feet down, they made an amazing discovery: a huge stone coffer, containing five reliquary jars, over 1000 separate jewels, and some ash and bone. One of the jars had an inscription that appeared to say that these were the remains of the Buddha himself. This seemed to be the most extraordinary find in Indian archaeology. But doubt and scandal have hung over this amazing find for over 100 years. For some, the whole thing is an elaborate hoax. For others, it is no less than the final resting place of the leader of one of the world’s great religions, who died nearly 2,500 years ago.