The head of a Buddha statue peeks above the dirt in Handan (map), China, where archaeologists have reportedly unearthed nearly 3,000 Buddha statues, which could be up to 1,500 years old.
The discovery is believed to be the largest of its kind since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, an archaeologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told reporters in late March, according to the Associated Press.
The Buddha statues—most of which are made of white marble and limestone and many of which are broken—could date back to the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi dynasties (A.D. 534 to 577), experts say.
The statues—discovered during a dig outside of Ye, the ancient capital of the Eastern Wei and Northern Qi dynasties—may have been rounded up and buried after the fall of the Northern Qi dynasty by later emperors in an attempt to purge the country of Buddhism.
This statue of Vairocana Buddha was built as China’s response to the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban in March of 2001. The Bamiyan Buddhas were one of the largest rock statues ever built in the ancient world.
However, the good news is that after 6 years, China was able to at least construct what is now the tallest statue in the world!
If you pay close attention to the photo, even the tallest people don’t even reach past the toe of the Buddha! It is measured to be about 420 ft. tall!