I have been quite a few times in Laos. It is a country of striking beauty. From the Si Pan Don Waterfalls, Li Phi Waterfalls and the Bolaven Plateau in the South to the Plane of Jars up North. And there is more beauty to find in Laos. Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Don Det, etc. I was living in Thailand when I visited Laos quite often. So sad Laos has no sea, otherwise I would have lived there…. 🙂
The Plain of Jars is located near Phonsavan about 400km northeast of the Lao capital, Vientiane. As there is little known about ancient Laos, there is much speculation on what those jars were used for. Some jars are quite big, the biggest one is about 2,8m high. They are also quite old, dating back to Iron Age about 2500 years ago.
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The next text is from Wikipedia.
The Plain of Jars is a megalithic archaeological landscape in Laos. It consists of thousands of stone jars scattered around the upland valleys and the lower foothills of the central plain of the Xiangkhoang Plateau. The jars are mostly arranged in clusters ranging in number from one to several hundred.
The Xieng Khouang Plateau is located at the northern end of the Annamese Cordillera, the principal mountain range of Indochina. French researcher Madeleine Colani concluded in 1930 that the jars were 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 jars. The Plain of Jars is dated to the Iron Age (500 BC to AD 500) and is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Southeast Asia.
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More than 90 jar sites have been identified within Xiangkhouang Province. Each site has from one to 400 stone jars. The jars vary in height and diameter between 1m and 3m and are all hewn from rock. Their shape is cylindrical with the bottom always wider than the top. The stone jars are undecorated, with the exception of a single jar at Site 1. This jar has a human “frogman” bas-relief carved on the exterior. Parallels between the “frogman” and the rock painting at Huashan in Guangxi, China have been drawn. The Chinese paintings, which depict large full-frontal images of humans with arms raised and knees bent, are dated to 500 BC–200 AD.
Between 1964 and 1973, the Plain of Jars was heavily bombed by the U.S. Air Force (see Secret War) operating against North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao communist forces. The U.S. Air Force dropped more bombs on Laos, primarily the Plain of Jars, than it dropped during the whole of World War II (!!!). This included 262 million anti-personnel cluster bombs. An estimated 80 million of these did not explode and remain a deadly threat to the population.
The large quantity of unexploded bombs in the area, limits free movement. Evidence of the bombing raids can be seen in the form of broken or displaced jars and bomb craters. Sightseeing on the Plain of Jars can only be done safely on cleared and marked pathways.
The Lao PDR government and NZAID built a visitors centre that was opened on 13 August 2013 at the Plain of Jars Site 1. It is at the bottom of a hill 200m before a car park. The centre provides English language information panels on the history of the Plain of Jars culture, as well as its modern history during the 1964–1975 conflict.
Links to more info about the Plain of Jars
Some more photos from Site 1 and 2
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