Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Plain of Jars

Scattered throughout the landscape of Laos lies an archaeological anomaly called the Plain Of Jars. More than 90 sites are known within the province of Xieng Khouang, each site containing anywhere from 1 to 400 stone jars.

These enormous ancient vessels weigh anywhere from hundreds of kilograms to nearly a ton with a height and diameter between 1 and 3 metres.

Historians are still completely baffled as to where the jars came from, how old they are and what they signify, though it is estimated that they are over 2000 years old and might possibly have been used for burial purposes.

Lao stories and legends claim that there was a race of giants who once inhabited the area and an ancient king created the jars to brew and store huge amounts of rice wine to celebrate his victory.

Between 1964 and 1973 the United States dumped four billion pounds of bombs on the country in a "secret war" against Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese communists and up to a third of them never exploded making this a potentially dangerous site for locals as well as any tourist that visits.

The Laotian government is considering applying for status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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