Researchers have uncovered 15 websites within the Southeast Asian nation of Laos containing greater than 100 big stone jars from round 1,000 years in the past. The jars are thought to have as soon as been used to retailer the dead.
Thousands of comparable jars have been discovered all through the valleys and foothills of the central Xiangkhoang Plateau, however their origins and goal have long-puzzled archaeologists. One idea proposes that dead our bodies have been positioned inside as a part of a fancy set of burial practices.
The newest discover signifies that the jars have been unfold out over a wider space than beforehand thought, in accordance with a group of archaeologists from the Australian National University (ANU). In complete, they recognized 137 particular person jars deep in a distant and mountainous forested space with assist from Laotian authorities officers.
“These new sites have really only been visited by the occasional tiger hunter. Now we’ve rediscovered them, we’re hoping to build a clear picture about this culture and how it disposed of its dead,” Nicholas Skopal, one of many ANU researchers, mentioned in an announcement.
Another member of the ANU group, Dougald O’Reilly, says the broader distribution may imply that the related burial practices have been additionally extra widespread than consultants had assumed.
“It’s apparent the jars, some weighing several tons, were carved in quarries, and somehow transported, often several kilometers to their present locations,” O’Reilly mentioned. “But why these sites were chosen as the final resting place for the jars is still a mystery. On top of that we’ve got no evidence of occupation in this region.”
Alongside the jars, the archaeologists additionally discovered fantastically carved discs, which can have acted as some form of burial marker. Intriguingly, the facet of the discs containing the frilly carvings have been all discovered dealing with downward. Among the carvings, the group recognized concentric circles, human figures, creatures and pommels.
“Decorative carving is relatively rare at the jar sites and we don’t know why some discs have animal imagery and others have geometric designs,” O’Reilly mentioned.
Furthermore, the websites have been additionally suffering from different artifacts, together with ceramics, glass beads, iron instruments, jewellery, cloth-making tools and a number of other miniature jars.
“Curiously we also found many miniature jars, which look just like the giant jars themselves but made of clay, so we’d love to know why these people represented the same jars in which they placed their dead, in miniature to be buried with their dead,” O’Reilly mentioned.
“We’ve seen similar megalithic jars in Assam in India and in Sulawesi in Indonesia so we’d like to investigate possible connections in prehistory between these disparate regions.”
Researchers have uncovered 15 websites within the Southeast Asian nation of Laos containing greater than 100 big stone jars from round 1,000 years in the past. The jars are thought to have as soon as been used to retailer the dead. ANU