Friday, February 8, 2008
The Plain of (Giant) Jars
One of the world's most mysterious archaeological sites lies in the mountains of northern Laos in South East Asia. There, thousands of enormous stone jars line a long, straight path though the highlands. Some of the jars weigh more than 13 tons and are covered with disc-shaped lids. A few are filled with tiny statues of Buddha. Those who’ve come across the rows of huge, empty vessels sitting miles from any human habitation have found the site quite spooky.
The jars, which are estimated to be 1,500 to 2,000 years old, are thought to have been the work of the ancient Mon-Khmer race. Other than that, very little is known about them. Laotian legends tell of giants who once roamed the Xieng Khouang plain, but archaeologists (who don’t usually believe in giants) claim that the jars may once have been funeral urns.
Sadly, the Plain of Jars is also one of the most dangerous places in the world. During the Vietnam War, the US bombarded Laos, and the country's highlands are still littered with unexploded bombs.
Read more here. And see more pictures here.