Or so archaeologists in Nanjing think.
The four-storey pagoda, which is almost four feet high and one-and-a-half feet wide, is thought by archaeologists to be one of the 84,000 pagodas commissioned by Ashoka the Great in the second century BC to house the remains of the Buddha. [...]
The pagoda found in Nanjing is crafted from wood, gilded with silver and inlaid with gold, coloured glass and amber. It matches a description of another of Ashoka’s pagodas which used to be housed underneath the Changgan Buddhist temple in Nanjing.
A description of the contents of the pagoda was also found: a gold coffin bearing part of Buddha’s skull inside a silver box. Although scans have confirmed that there are two small metal boxes inside the pagoda, experts have not yet peered inside.
The pagoda was found in August on the site of a temple, encased in an iron box. They’ve removed the pagoda from the box and put it on display in the Nanjing Museum, but they haven’t opened the little metal boxes which are expected to contain the piece of Siddhartha Gautama’s skull.
It’s not like the many, many pieces of the “true cross” floating about out there. This is the only known pagoda to have contained remains of the Buddha’s skull, so there’s of excitement, and I would imagine, trepidation.
If there’s nothing in there, it’ll be a massive disappointment and blow to the huge potential pilgrim tourism. If they open it wrong and damage such a unique, religiously important relic, it would be a horrid black eye.