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More mystery 'jars of the dead' found in Laos


Posted on Saturday, 18 May, 2019 | Comment icon 11 comments

Who built these jars and how were they used ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Christopher Voitus
Archaeologists have unearthed an additional 137 large stone jars at megalithic sites in Southeast Asia.
Found throughout the central plain of Xiangkhoang Plateau in Laos, these mysterious stone jars have remained something of an archaeological enigma since their discovery back in the 19th century.

So many of them have been found in the region in fact that it has become known as the Plain of Jars.

This latest discovery, which was made across 15 new megalithic sites in a remote mountainous forest, adds a further 137 jars to the total while also helping researchers learn a little bit more about them.

The most widely accepted theory is that the jars were associated with prehistoric burial practices and were either used to temporarily hold the remains of the deceased or to act as a secondary gravesite.

As things stand however, there is much we still don't understand about the way they were used and archaeologists are still not even clear which culture actually constructed them.

"It's apparent the jars, some weighing several tonnes, were carved in quarries, and somehow transported, often several kilometres to their present locations," said study co-leader Dougald O'Reilly from Australian National University.

"But why these sites were chosen as the final resting place for the jars is still a mystery."

"On top of that we've got no evidence of occupation in this region."

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (11)

Tags: Laos, Stone Jars

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by pallidin on 19 May, 2019, 1:59
Water storage. Already confirmed. May have been used for other things afterwards, of course.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Hammerclaw on 19 May, 2019, 4:35
Those things are how The Plain of Jars got the name.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Reignite on 19 May, 2019, 20:25
Confirmed by whom? All I can find is that your claim is a "suggested explanation". Besides, it seems illogical to build huge stone reservoirs, some weighing several tonnes, only to collect rainwater. Cultures of that time in that area would probably have access to far more effective methods. It is a fine explanation for a secondary purpose though.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Piney on 19 May, 2019, 23:59
I wonder if they were similar to a "Tower of Silence". With the dead placed in them to be eaten away and decompose yet not permitted to touch the ground. 
Comment icon #6 Posted by Alchopwn on 20 May, 2019, 12:21
I am surprised this counts as a "new" thing.  This has been known about for a very long time.  The Plain of Jars, aka the Plateau of Urns, was fought over during the Battle of Vientiane Battle of Vientiane link and was extensively bombed by the USA during the Vietnam War.  The Viet Cong and the Pathet Lao co-operated over their supply lines on the Ho Chi Minh Trail Ho Chi Minh Trail link.  It is pretty terrible that the site was so damaged and so many unexploded bombs and cluster munitions were used there.  I am not surprised that other megalithic sites have been discovered.  
Comment icon #7 Posted by Piney on 20 May, 2019, 12:42
They are cleaning it up and there are certain areas safe for tourists and archaeologists now. That's why it's in the news. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Alchopwn on 20 May, 2019, 12:52
Oh.  Okay, that makes sense now.  Thanks Piney.  
Comment icon #9 Posted by Alchopwn on 20 May, 2019, 14:29
I would have thought, given the human remains found in them, that it was a mortuary complex? Human remains in jars link
Comment icon #10 Posted by Herr Falukorv on 20 May, 2019, 18:50
Maybe someone drowned in it...
Comment icon #11 Posted by Reignite on 21 May, 2019, 7:24
Never heard of those before. Compared to these jars, they are a whole lot bigger. Maybe these were the mobile versions? I imagine those regions interchanged many traditions.


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