It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Perhaps 2,000 years old, the relics on the plateau known as the Plain of Jars are one of the oldest -- and unexplained -- archeological wonders of Southeast Asia. They have survived looters, the elements, and American bombs, but for decades were largely forgotten in the chaos and conflict that swept Laos.
Archeologists say there are thousands of jars in this part of northern Laos. Experts believe that the urns were used in burial rituals, but they know little about the people who made them.
Most Laotians believe that the urns were made by a sixth-century chieftain, Khun Jeuam, to celebrate his victory in battle over a local tyrant.
Despite the myth's popularity, archeologists say the jars were carved from solid sandstone and limestone centuries before the chieftain's time. The sites, they say, were cemeteries, and the urns once held corpses. No bodies have been found in the urns, but traces of human remains have been discovered inside a few, and skeletons have been unearthed nearby.French archeologist Madeleine Colani first brought the jars to the world's attention in the mid-1930s. She discovered and documented hundreds of them and theorized that they were used in burials. She also reported finding bronze and iron tools, carnelian beads, and a bronze figure, but the relics have since been lost or stolen.
Engelhardt said the jars lie along an ancient road linking the Red River Delta of North Vietnam with southern India. Megaliths that may have been made by the same people have been found along the route as far as Bangladesh.