Phonsavan is the present capital of the Xiangkhouang province in Laos. The area around Phonsavan was heavily bombed during the Việt Nam War by the USA. It suffers greatly from Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). The biggest attraction in Phonsavan is the Plain of Jars.
The Plain of Jars is a megalithic archaeological landscape near Phonsavan. More than 90 jar sites have been identified in the province of Xieng Khouang. Each site has from one to 400 stone jars. Most sites are not accessible to the public, many because of the danger of UXOs. So far only seven sites have been cleared of UXOs.
The jars vary in height and diameter between 1 m (3 ft) and 3 m (10 ft) and are all carved from rock. Their shape is cylindrical with the bottom always wider than the top. The stone jars are undecorated, with the exception of a single jar at Site 1. Since most of the jars have lip rims, it is thought that the jars originally supported lids, although few stone lids have been recorded; this may suggest that the bulk of lids were fashioned from perishable materials.
It is not quite clear what the jars were used for. Most likely they were involved in some burial rites.
The jars date to between 500 BCE to 500 CE. The Plain of Jars is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Southeast Asia.
The Plain of Jars with its mysterious stone jars is another example of the many sites of Ancient Civilizations that I visited during my travels.
The Plain of Jars is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2019.
All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.
Muang Khoun was the ancient capital of the region. It was heavily bombed during the American bombardment of Laos and abandoned as capital. Only very few remains are left. The present capital is Phonsavan.
The silk manufacturing cooperative that I visited is run by local people. They grow the silk worms, produce silk, weave silk cloth and make some simple items with the silk cloth. They also sell mulberry tea. The mulberry trees are pruned twice per year. The ones that I saw were 20 years old.
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Page last updated on Sat Mar 21 12:08:06 2020 (Mountain Standard Time)
Phonsavan - Plain of Jars on geichhorn.com