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Plain of Jars in Laos: Researchers Unearth Mysterious Ancient Burial Site

Image: Plain of Jars in Laos: Researchers Unearth Mysterious Ancient Burial Site
(anu.edu)

By    |   Tuesday, 05 Apr 2016 07:13 AM

Plain of Jars in Laos, one of the world's most mysterious sites, has turned up an ancient burial ground where archaeologists have discovered human remains thought to be about 2,500 years old.

The find was the result of the first major archaeology project at any of the 90 sites that make up the Plain of Jars in central Laos since the 1930s, according to a statement from  The Australian National University, which spearheaded the project.

The area gets its name from the mysterious ancient giant stone jars that litter hundreds of square miles around the Laos town of Phonsaven. They're made from stone and suspected to have been created during Southeast Asia's iron age from 500 BC to 200 AD, according to the website Lonely Planet.

Researchers do not know what civilization made the huge jars or why they were constructed.

Dougald O'Reilly, of The Australian National University's School of Archaeology and Anthropology, said in the university statement that he hopes the burial site discovery starts to provide some context about the jars.

"This will be the first major effort since the 1930s to attempt to understand the purpose of the jars and who created them," he said. "One theory is that they were used to decompose the bodies. Later, after the flesh was removed the remains may have been buried around the jars."

"What is now clear is that these are mortuary and were used for the disposal of the dead. The jars can number between one and 400 at each site, ranging in size from one meter to three meters tall," O'Reilly continued.

O'Reilly told BBC News that researchers have not been able explore the site until recently because there were many unexploded bombs and mines in the area. The Plain of Jars was along the North Vietnamese supply route during the Vietnam War and was heavily bombarded by the United States.

The ANU stated said that the Laos government is attempting to get the Plain of Jars area recognized as a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site.

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Plain of Jars in Laos, one of the world's most mysterious sites, has turned up an ancient burial ground where archaeologists have discovered human remains thought to be about 2,500 years old.
plain of jars, laos, ancient, burials
347
2016-13-05
Tuesday, 05 Apr 2016 07:13 AM
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