Atlas Obscura is Hiring! Join us in pursuit of wonder.

Found: A 400-Year-Old Buddha Statue, Hidden Under a Manmade Lake

Work on a hydropower gate revealed the statue’s head.

In China’s Jiangxi province, in the country’s southeast, a hydropower renovation project has revealed a centuries-old statue of the Buddha, his head peeking just above the water.

The statue was discovered in the Hongmen Reservoir, a vast water project that was constructed in 1958 and subsumed 63 villages and towns. Recently, reports Xinhua State News, during construction on a hydropower gate, the reservoir’s level dropped 30 feet, and locals discovered the head of the statue exposed, just above the new water line.

Archaeologists have been dispatched to make a more thorough survey of the area. Based on the style of the statue’s head, archaeologists believe it dates back to the Ming Dynasty, which ruled from the 14th to 17th century. The receding water also revealed an imperial decree and rectangular holes in the reservoir wall, which indicate that a building, likely a temple, had once been constructed here.