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More Megalithic Jars Mapped in Laos

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Laos Megalithic jarsCANBERRA, AUSTRALIA—Live Science reports that a new survey conducted in central Laos by a team of archaeologists from Laos and Australia revealed an additional 137 stone jars at 15 new sites in the rugged terrain surrounding the Plain of Jars. The giant, carved stone jars are thought to have been used in burial rituals some 2,500 years ago. Researchers have suggested that bodies may have been stored in the jars until the bones could be cleaned and buried. Archaeologist Louise Shewan of Monash University said the newly mapped jars indicate that such burial practices may have been more widespread than previously thought. The jars were probably carved in quarries and transported to the forested mountain sites, said Shewan's codirector on the project, Dougald O’Reilly of Australian National University. Near the jars, the researchers uncovered stone disks carved with images of animals and geometric designs buried with the carved side face down. Decorative ceramics, glass beads, iron tools, decorative disks worn in the ears, spindle whorls, and miniature clay jars were also uncovered. To read in-depth about the Plain of Jars, go to “Letter from Laos: A Singular Landscape.”

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