Plain of Jars
June 12, 2004 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Great post, moonbird. Thanks.
posted by homunculus at 11:46 AM on June 12, 2004

that's ca-razy. never heard of it, and i'm mesmerised.
posted by Marquis at 11:57 AM on June 12, 2004

Thanks for this, moonbird. I too had never heard of it. Fascinating.
posted by cedar at 12:39 PM on June 12, 2004

I wonder if you'd be arrested in Laos for smuggling in a bunch of these?
Just jokin'... good post...
posted by wendell at 1:04 PM on June 12, 2004

posted by scarabic at 1:11 PM on June 12, 2004

Cool, I've always wondered what that was since hearing Alan Ginsberg refer to it in his song CIA Dope Calypso.
posted by lasm at 2:26 PM on June 12, 2004

Excellent post, and yet another cool place to add to my list of trips I have to take.
posted by TungstenChef at 2:50 PM on June 12, 2004

come now wendell, didn't you mean these?
posted by prototype_octavius at 3:12 PM on June 12, 2004

This night’s frag told us that intelligence gained from the previous day’s photo missions of Laos pointed to the existence of a munitions storage area on Route 7 between Muong Soui and Ban Ban. Its location had been scrubbed down to a forested area on the eastern edge of the Plain of Jars, just west of and enclosed by a fork of the road. This ammo dump, plus any opportune road traffic, would be the objects of our forward air control activities this night. - Blind Bat

The jars are at least as old as the legend claims, but if any were used for making wine, that was not their original function. In the 1930s, French archeologist Madeline Colani documented the jars in a 600-page monograph, The Megaliths of Upper Laos, concluding that they were funerary urns carved by a vanished Bronze Age people.... Colani was accompanied in all her fieldwork by her sister, Eleonore. With their porters and guides, the two intrepid women traveled all over French Indochina, almost until their deaths, a few months apart, in 1943. The gossip among French archeologists is that Madeleine Colani made Eleonore do all the hard work, on occasion lowering her into a cavern on a rope and not letting her come back up until she found something. - Laos Keeps Its Urns This is the best article I could find and has lots of interesting photos.

Also, check out this exemplary blog entry with lots of pics and abstracts. Plain of Jars - Laputan Logic

Thanks, moonbird, the jars are new to me. If anyone finds any maps of the specific orientation and placement of the jars, please link it.
posted by roboto at 4:18 PM on June 12, 2004

What's a Laotian Urn?
About three cents an hour.
posted by wendell at 6:30 PM on June 12, 2004

Couldn't find a map, but the United Nations and Laos are working on it:

In 1998, UNESCO, in conjunction with the Ministry of Information and Culture of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, initiated a project to safeguard this important site. The overall aims of the project were to:

Create a GIS-based cultural heritage resource inventory of the Plain of Jars to enhance understanding and management of the cultural resources of the site.

Define and map site boundaries for the three most frequently visited jar field sites and request clearance of unexploded ordnance from these sites.

Evaluate the cultural and other resources of the Xieng Khouang plateau to identify priorities for further research, conservation, and tourism development.

Safeguarding the Plain of Jars: Megaliths and Unexploded Ordnance in the Laos People's Democratic Republic
posted by lasm at 6:36 PM on June 12, 2004


Soon to be a dirty, overrun, overconsessionized tourist stop for the unwashed masses. Because, you know, we don't have enough of those on the planet.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:08 AM on June 13, 2004

I dont think there's any danger that Laos will become the next Ibiza. But so what if it does.

A free spending tourist, however unwashed, is infinitely more preferable than the other kind of foreigner.
posted by the cuban at 10:32 AM on June 13, 2004

Great links!
posted by dejah420 at 5:48 PM on June 13, 2004

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