The team began excavations at Kasthamandap today, joined by students from the Lumbini Buddhist University and volunteers from Nepal with university degrees relating to heritage and archaeology.
After the collapse of the monument, its footprint was recreated with rubble piled up and retained behind walling created by further brick rubble. We began by clearing this rubble onto the 1960s tiled floor surface of the monument.
As we began peeling back the rubble, we identified areas where the tile floor had been cut away. Scrape marks created by the JCBs in the aftermath of the earthquake were present across this floor surface, indicating where these vehicles had been active in the emergency response. Much of the rubble that had been piled up contained modern material, such as glass and plastic, but also roof tiles and small pieces of the wooden architecture from the Kasthamandap.
To the east, we also began to identify a surface that may relate to the interior of the south-east Ganesh shrine, which partially collapsed during the earthquake and was then demolished in the immediate emergency responses. We will continue to carefully look at this area to see if we can define the outline of this shrine, which is now no longer visible as a standing remain.
Over the next few days we will expose and record this tiled surface and then we will carefully excavate these floor surfaces to expose the original foundations of the Kasthamandap, which we will assess for earthquake damage, as well as damage from post-earthquake interventions.