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Plain of Jars. Laos

In Xieng Huang, province of Laos, there is a mystical Plain of Jars. The mystery of this place is that it is full of different versions of its origin and the assignment of these stone structures is still unknown.

There is a group of sites on the border of Laos and Vietnam in the Annamese Cordillera, which include more than 4000 huge stone jars. The territory of the valley includes more than 60 sites at a significant distance from each other, each comprises up to 400 jars. These vessels have cylindrical, oval and rectangular shapes, made of granite, rocky breeds, sandstone and calcified coral. It is noteworthy that these materials don’t occur in the surrounding areas. The height of these pots varies from 0.5 to 3 meters, and the greatest weight comes up to 6 tons. The first riddle is the way people at that time managed to make such enormous and heavy objects without modern technology, and even disseminate them on such a vast territory.

Some jars stand straight, others are inclined. Some of them have stone lids, some contained small statues of Buddha at the bottom, various bronze objects and tools, which were found by archaeologists. It should be noted that such archaeological monuments are also found in India and Thailand.

Scientists still don’t have a unified opinion about the purpose such tremendous vessels were created. It is believed that jars could be used for funeral rites, as food storage, and there is also a version that rainwater collected in jugs for trade caravans. Some sources claim that the location of these sites coincide with the trade routes.

Also, there are several legends associated with the origins of these pitchers. Once upon a time there lived huge giants and such “tableware” belonged to them. Some locals believe that the jars were made by King Khun Cheung. Allegedly, after he defeated his enemies, the jars were supposed to serve for brewing and storage of a large amount of Lao Lao rice wine to celebrate the victory.

Scientists date these stone boulders approximately to 800-500 years BC. Scientists started to study this valley in the first half of the 20th century, and only about 10 years ago this place has become available to the public.

One event hinders tourists to visit this place, as well as there is no possibility for the scientists to continue research. The fact is that, after the civil war in Laos, known as the “Secret War”, many unexploded ordnance were left here. The government of Laos is still fighting for the assignment of the status as a UNESCO World Heritage site for the Plain of Jars. Various non-governmental organizations and local residents help the government to clear the valley from dangerous projectiles to provide safe access for tourists and researchers. Now, three sites are available to the public.

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