Located on the Xiangkhoang Plateau 350 Klm north of Vientiane is an Enigmatic landscape of carved stone jars varying in size and shape scattered over approximately 65 separate sites some of which are inaccessible due to unexploded bombs, However a handful of sites are safe to view, I traveled to three of them with my guide Mr Sook.
The purpose of the Jars has been argued about for decades however the current consensus is that the jars were used as part of the funeral rights of the indigenous people, it is believed that the bodies of the dead would be put into the Jars to distill, then after cremation returned to the Jars, of the three sites I visited site 1 is the largest with 334 Jars, most of the Jars are approximately 1 metre high and 600 mm in diameter they are wider at the base and taper towards the top except for one Jar that is 2.4 metres high is estimated to weigh 30 tonnes and has a rounded shape.
Site 1 is also the location of a Cremation place, it is a cave at the base of a hill that has two vents in its roof, that act as chimneys the entrance to the cave has a wide saucer shaped depression at the entrance the depression seasonally fills with water restricting access to the cave, Archaeological digs found evidence of burning and some charred teeth and bone fragments in the cave as well as pottery shards in and around Jars at the other two sites.
This region of Laos was a part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that was used by the Vietcong during the Vietnam war to supply their fighters and as such is the most heavily bombed area of Laos, Laos has the distinction of being the most bombed country in the world with 80 Million unexploded mostly cluster bombs, dozens of people are killed every year when these bombs are accidentally triggered.
If you would like to learn about tourism in Laos or the bomb clearing and victim support in Laos then check out the links below
In this segment from 10/31/20, Neeley and Chris update the ongoing Phil Collins' saga, including new tour dates with Genesis. The guys question if Phil will make it to the end of the tour.
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