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The Mysterious Plain of Jars, Laos

Plain of Jars, Laos
Local girls in the Plain of Jars, Laos
Large jar on the Plain of Jars, Laos
Above: Plain of Jars, Laos
  • Plain of Jars, Laos
  • Local girls in the Plain of Jars, Laos
  • Large jar on the Plain of Jars, Laos

Laos’ Plain of Jars is often referred to as the South-East Asian version of Stone-Henge. Since the sites discovery in the 1930’s the site has continued to fascinate scientists and archaeologists and even today it continues to be shrouded in mystery and myth.

Around the Xieng Khouang plain there are thousands of enormous stone jars which form one of the most bizarre archaeological collections on earth. The jars appear in clusters which range from single jars to several hundred.

Excavations throughout the years by Japanese and Lao achaeologists have determinded that these stone jars were used as funeral megaliths. The discovery of human remains, burial goods and ceramics found in an around the jars has helped to support this theory.

Due to most of the jars having rims around the top, it is accepted that many of them were originally covered with wooden lids, though these have long since decayed.

The Plain of Jars is thought to date back to the Iron Age, 500BC to 500CE and it is now recognised as one of the most important sites in the region for studying South-East Asian Pre-history.

UNESCO archaeologists have so far counted over 3,000 jars which are scattered over 90 sites in the Xieng Khouang provide. The jars are up to 3 metres tall and some weigh several tons – most are most of sandstone but some are made of granite and limestone. Archaeologists are working alongside mine clearance teams who are working to make one of the most dangerous archaeological sites in world more safe. These last remains of an ancient civilisation are often located close to unexploded US ordnance and craters. You can visit this fascinating region on our Laos Uncovered tour.

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