Last February, archeologists from Laos and Australia started an expedition to visit the Xiangkhouang region to document known jar sites. They found several human burials in Laos which are believed to be around 2,500 years old. Aside from that, they also discovered more than 100 giant stone jars. But these jars are not the ordinary ones because they are thought to have been used in burial rituals thousands of years ago.
|Scattered jars in the forest / Photo by: Australian National Library via The Daily Mail|
According to an article by Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, culture and history, the carved stone jars were found at ancient sites in forests, on hillsides, and along mountain ridges in remote central Laos. The expedition found 15 new jar sites which contained a total of 13 ancient stone jars. The researchers called them “jars of the dead.” There are several theories behind the jars’ purpose and function. According to the local legends, the giant stone jars were made by giants. They used the jars to brew rice beer to celebrate a victory in war.
|One of the jars that are being studied / Photo by: Australian National Library via The Daily Mail|
However, archaeologists believe that the carved stone jars were used to hold dead bodies for a time before their bones would be cleaned and buried. Until now, the reason why these jars were located in these sites is still a mystery. Dougald O'Reilly, an archaeologist from the Australian National University, said, “It's apparent the jars, some weighing several tonnes, were carved in quarries, and somehow transported, often several kilometers, to their present locations.”
According to an article by the Daily Mail, a British daily middle-market newspaper published in London in a tabloid format, another hypothesis suggests that the jars were made to capture monsoonal rainwater for later boiling. The researchers also found beautifully-carved discs in the new jars which have images like animals, human figures, and patterns of concentric circles. "Decorative carving is relatively rare at the jar sites, and we don't know why some disks have animal imagery and others have geometric designs," O'Reilly said.
|One of the jars exposed / Photo by: Australian National Library via The Daily Mail|