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Link - by Avi Abrams

Built by mysterious ancient people for mysterious purposes

(image credit: Chris Mitchell)

Ancient Laos legends tell of the giants who drank water from these enormous mysterious "cups". Similar sites were also found in Thailand and in North India. Their locations are strung along a straight line, which suggests that they were built on some kind of a trade route.

Chris Mitchell from Travel Happy sent us his travelogue about this ancient site:

The Plain Of Jars is probably South East Asia’s most enigmatic tourist attraction. Situated in the remote north east of Laos, the mountainous communist country which has only been open to tourists for just over a decade, are hundreds of huge stone jars scattered across several square miles.

(images credit: Chris Mitchell)

Jars of a deeply spooky nature

While most ancient Asian sites, such as the Angkor temples in Cambodia, have revealed many of their secrets, historians are still completely baffled as to where the jars came from, how old they are and what they signify. They are, in short, jars of a deeply spooky nature.

There are three key sites to see the Jars, three places where they are clustered together en masse, but there are apparently over 400 locations where they are to be found scattered across the plain.

(images credit: Chris Mitchell)

Gathered together at the top of this hill, there were around 130 of them scattered about beneath the trees, mercifully undeveloped by any tourist organization. Undisturbed amongst the vast wheat yellow and sky blue horizon of the countryside, the jars did indeed seem mysterious, but there was also a sense of serenity too.

They were all at least a couple of metres long, and must have weighed several tonnes each, some upright, some leaning after being embedded in the ground, some completely toppled over:

All of them are virtually black, and their tall, narrow, hefty bodies make them look like crude cannons, pointing in every direction as if fearing attack from all sides. The darkness of the jars’ stone also makes them seem distinctly funereal and a little sinister:

(image credit: David Hartstone)

The largest jar weighs around 6 metric tons:

(image credit: Keith Kelly)

On top of its mystery, the place may be riddled with unexploded bombs

Whatever its ancient history, the Plain Of Jars has had a turbulent recent past. Thanks to its proximity to the North Vietnamese border, this area of Laos became of key significance during the Vietnam War and so was carpet bombed by the Americans. Laos holds the dubious record of being the most bombed country in the world, despite never officially being involved in the Vietnam war at all. The legacy of the war is still being felt, with farmers and their families regularly being killed or injured by the unexploded ordnance which still litters the Plain. The Jars have been fully cleared of all unexploded bombs, but not straying from the designated paths remains imperative.

(images credit: GothPhil)

The lids for these jars are also quite mysterious looking. They have as much texture and ancient feel to them as Stonehenge.

(images credit: Keith Kelly)

(image credit: Chris Mitchell)

Some of them are filled with miniature Buddhas: which somehow feels very appropriate:

(image credit: Keith Kelly)

Speaking of the Stonehenge:

Another Stonehenge Found Deep in Amazon Forest

That's right, mysterious huge stones set in a definite pattern - an astrological observatory possibly 2,000 years old - have been discovered in the Amazon basin near French Guiana... (more info)

(image credit: Gilmar Nascimento / AP)

The site consists of 127 blocks, some as high as 9 feet (2.75 meters) tall. The stones placed at "regular intervals around the hill, like a crown 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter."

Scientists believe the site near the village of Calcoene, just north of the equator in Amapa state in far northern Brazil, could have been built by the ancestors of the Palikur Indians, and could be as old as 2,000 years.

(image courtesy Academy For Future Science, Brazil)

The article is co-written by Chris Mitchell, Travel Happy and A. Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend
All images are by permission of respective owners

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I`m guessing... toilets?

Anonymous pwl said...

The logical answer would be linked the earlier note about them possibly being on a trade route, they were probably used to collect rainwater so it would help travelers or some sort of message courier with water so they didn't have to run off path as much trying to find water.

Anonymous Captain Haddock said...

Ye olde warp zone.

Anonymous VMOS said...

the rainwater thing doesn't really fit, otherwise there wouldn't be any lids
also, they would probably be more evenly spaced rather than clustered about.
I addition, there used to be lots of smaller ones but the ones that were small enough to be moved have mostly been stolen.
There's a fantastic story about how they were used to make sake and covered with the skins of fallen enemies, but the guides keep telling you they really don't know, although their best guess is that they were tombs, either for actual bodies or for ashes

Anonymous EclecticMunk said...

They're drums. Stretch a skin, tie it in place and bang it with a stick. Woomba-loomba! Woomba-loomba! Boombadoomba BOOM BOOM BOOM!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They where used by MACV-SOG to capture demons.

Anonymous OasisNick said...

Apparently they were used to store alcohol left for weary travellers along specific trade routes. But some of the other tales are much more entertaining.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definately ovens. Clustered about where there were farming villages. The remains of the housing just eroded over the years.

Anonymous Joe Greps said...

Toilets IMHO

Blogger Larry Iverson said...

I agree with the genius who said they're little tombs for ashes or whatever body parts would fit in them.
My uneducated guess is that they were made after a battle. My Buddhist friend from Thailand said that most people are buried in tombs if they can afford it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father who is from Laos used to tell stories of ancient armies who would use these jars as containers for grain, however without further evidence one can't really know.

Anonymous Rob said...

After watching the Alien movies it's pretty obvious what these are for. Wonder if there are still some in the ones with the lids.

Anonymous Enduring Wanderlust said...

I'd go with either ovens or storage of some sort. I doubt it's rain water, but it's possible that water was collected for crops

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ancient India humans (royality)were cloned in Jars . Kuravas 100 brothers born on the same day but process described from jars.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing its giant aliens artifact

Anonymous paul said...

built by anunnaki like all granite megaliths

Anonymous paul said...

anunnaki built them


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