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Plain of Jars

  • Plain of Jars, Laos
the mysterious scenery of the Plain of Jars
© photo: Peverus     original photo
Priority: Midd
Location Type: Destination Attraction
Mysterious archaeological megalithic landscape near Phonsavan in the Xieng Khouang plateau with thousands of giant stone jars, the use of which is still subject of speculation.
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Wikipedia - Plain of Jars

Hmong Girls, Plain of Jars, Laos
Hmong Girls climbing on one of the jars at Site 1

The Plain of Jars (Lao: ທົ່ງໄຫຫິນ tʰōŋ hăy hǐn) is a megalithic archaeological landscape in Laos. Scattered in the landscape of the Xieng Khouang plateau Xieng Khouang, Lao PDR are thousands of megalithic jars. These stone jars appear in clusters, ranging from a single or a few to several hundred jars at lower foothills surrounding the central plain and upland valleys. The Xieng Khouang Plateau is located at the northern end of the Annamese Cordillera, the principal mountain range of Indochina. Initial research of the Plain of Jars in the early 1930's suggested that the stone jars are associated with prehistoric burial practices. Excavation by Lao and Japanese archaeologists in the intervening years has supported this interpretation with the discovery of human remains, burial goods and ceramics around the stone jars. The Plain of Jars is dated to the Iron Age (500 BCE to 500 CE) and is one of the most fascinating and important sites for studying Southeast Asian prehistory. The Plain of Jars has the potential to shed light on the relationship between increasingly complex societies and megalithic structures and provide insight into social organisation of Iron Age Southeast Asia’s communities. To visit the jar sites you would typically stay in Phonsavan.

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Wikitravel - Plain of Jars

The Plain of Jars combines ancient and contemporary history with authentic insights into Phuan, Hmong, Khmu and Tai Dam culture. Nature encounters are easily accessible yet of the beaten track.
Visiting The Plain of Jars is a serene inspiration. The jars with their minimalistic Iron Age aesthetics are an ever-present part of the landscape and the only remaining witnesses to a vanished high culture. Unlike Ancient Greece or the First Emperor of China that date from around the same time, we know very little about the civilization that created The Plain of Jars. There is neither a legend of Troy nor a Book of Songs keeping the memory alive. In more recent history a Secret War took place here. Constant aerial bombardments transformed the landscape - and often jar sites as well- into a Plain of Scars. Regardless, villagers found imaginative ways to rebuild their existence and often made the legacy of the war a resourceful part of their daily life. Bombs became spoons; and a distinct Xiengkhouang style of architecture was created that incorporates bomb shells as building material and décor for houses. The integrity of a culture that did not succumb to hardship but grew with its trials and yet preserved century old village traditions and beliefs is characteristic for The Plain of Jars. The stories you will uncover here are not immediately obvious to the naked eye. You will have to take your time to listen and open your heart to understand. But then something very rare will happen: You will realize that even today in a world that believes in “total knowledge” there will always remain hidden stories and places that will never be fully understood.

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