The Unexplained: The Puzzling Plain of Jars

the Plain of Jars is known as the giant collection of stone monoliths which is mostly made of sedimentary rock and, ranging from 3 to10 feet in high, each can weigh up to 14 tons. Photo: GoLaosTours

The tops have rims, and some of the huge vessels have stone lids. Who built them? What was their purpose? What was in them?

A strange sight exists in Laos on the central plains of the Xiangphoang Plateau.  It is a grouping of thousands of monoliths.  They are in clusters that number from one to one hundred.

There are some puzzling things about these monoliths:  What is their true age?  What is their origin?  Who or what created them?  Why do they possess their unique characteristics?

The stones were quarried and modified as early as 1240-660 BCE.  They were somehow transported from this quarry that was at least eight kilometers distant.  The vertical stones which are 1-3 meters tall have been sculpted and modified.  The centers have been carved out to form vessels.  The bottom of the interior space is wider than the top part of the interior space.

Sara Marie Hogg

The tops have rims, and some of the huge vessels have stone lids.  Others probably had lids of wood or plant fibers that have since disintegrated.  The lids were perishable—on purpose or not.

What was the purpose of the jars?  What was in them?

The jars may have served many purposes.  The most popular theory was that they collected rainwater.  People of the area boiled their water, anyway, so it seems logical that they staged the rain-collecting jars on various routes to supply water for those traveling from one place to another.

Some of the jars are located near burial grounds.  Some of these probably contained cremated remains, ashes, some contained bones, some contained objects that were offered to the gods at the burial site.

New clusters of the jars are discovered all the time—they have been covered by thick vegetation, down through the ages.  The majority of the recent discoveries date to 1000 years back.

Who made these jars?  Archaeologists don’t know exactly.  They are just called The Plain Jar People, for now.

The Plain Jar People were a widely distributed civilization.  There are similar societies in Assam, India, and also Indonesia.  They may have all been somehow connected.

Most of the jars are unadorned, but on the stone lid of one jar is a memorable and outstanding decoration.  It is a bas relief of a frogman.  It is very similar to some ancient rock paintings in China—of frogmen.

The mystery continues.

Sara Marie Hogg is the author of the voodoo mystery Gris Gris. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.

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