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Video: Megalithic bowls of Xiankhuang plateau
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
The landscape of the Lao Xiankhuang plateau is dotted with thousands of stone jugs - hollow megaliths that expand at their base and are quite large in size. Somewhere these mysterious objects stand one by one, and somewhere - in groups, sometimes numbering more than a hundred pieces.
This place is usually called the "Valley of stone jugs" or "Valley of stone jars" and it has not yet been thoroughly studied.
In some parts of the plateau, you can see up to 250 free-standing "cans". The largest ones rise more than three meters. Some vessels are neatly made and have a flat surface, while others are rather crude, but, nevertheless, each is made of solid stone. Although most of the jugs are unadorned, there are containers on the surface of which human figures or faces are carved.
Interestingly, in some places near the jugs, stone discs were found - judging by their diameter, they clearly had to serve as lids for stone vessels. Some of these alleged covers are also carved with figures of people, tigers or monkeys.
An initial study of the enigmatic plain, begun by French archaeologist Madeleine Colany in the 1930s, suggested that the stone jugs were associated with the funerary practices of the protohistoric communities that lived in the area.
Excavations carried out by Laotian and Japanese archaeologists in subsequent years confirmed this hypothesis, as human remains, burial items and ceramics were found in this vast area, dating from comparative material from Dongson in Vietnam to the early Iron Age (from about 500 BC). to 800 AD).
The amazing artifacts found in the Valley of the Pitchers are a valuable collection for exploring the late prehistory of the Southeast Asian mainland. Unfortunately, scientists still know almost nothing about the people and culture that created these containers.
But the most important mystery, as in the case of other megaliths found on our planet, is the method of making these mysterious objects and placing them on the territory of the valley, because the weight of some "cans" reaches 6 thousand kg!
Local residents make up their legends about this valley. According to one of them, once upon a time huge giants lived here and these "megabanks" served as their dishes.
According to the second version, the ancient people collected water in stone jugs during the rains, and then both locals and travelers used it. It is known that in this arid climate, water was the most important value.
If we discard folk legends, and rely on the evidence found, scientists still consider the "funeral" version to be the most probable: it is likely that the Valley of Jugs is an ancient cemetery. However, it is not yet possible to study the megaliths in more detail.
The fact is that during the Vietnam War, a large number of bombs were dropped in this area. Firstly, the bombing destroyed a large number of jugs, and, secondly, some of the bombs dropped by US troops have not yet exploded, which poses a mortal danger to local residents, tourists and scientists. Visitors are only allowed into the safe part of the valley.
At the moment, the Valley of the Pitchers is under close scrutiny of UNESCO as an important cultural heritage that must be preserved. Perhaps someday a poor state will be able to find money for the clearance of the territory, which will enable researchers to study the mysterious megaliths in more detail.
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