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Human Remains Unearthed at the Plain of Jars in Laos

Monday, March 21, 2016

Laos Plain of Jars BANGKOK, THAILAND—Human remains believed to date back 2,500 years have been uncovered on the Plain of Jars, located in the central plain of Laos, by a team of archaeologists from Australia and Laos. It has been difficult to study the Plain of Jars in recent years because of unexploded ordnance dating to the 1970s. These remains were found in an ancient burial ground in a region with more than 300 stone jars, stone discs, and markers. Some of the bodies had been buried whole, some burials consisted of bundled bones, and other bones had been placed in ceramic vessels. “With our research, because we’ve been able to uncover a fair amount of human bone—we’ve got seven burials and four probable burials with ceramic jars—so a total of 11 mortuary contexts. We’re hoping we’ll be able to get some really good information about the people,” Dougald O’Reilly of Australian National University told Voice of America News. The researchers plan to conduct isotopic and chemical analysis of the bones. “This discovery marks a significant milestone since archaeological excavations began in the area in the 1930s in collaboration with a French archaeologist,” added Thonglith Luangkhoth, archaeology division director of the Lao Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism. To read more about Southeast Asia, go to "Letter from Cambodia: Storied Landscape."

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