The first half of our day's travel there was in beautiful high altitude mountains, and in spots, we climbed right up into the clouds...it was a biker's dream ride!
Eventually the road and land settled into an easy, flat, high altitude plain of rolling hills hills and grasslands. Chilled, we were happy to check into our dibs for a nice hot shower.
We spent the first part of the next morning bouncing over very rough and dusty dirt roads getting to 3 sites where the megalith stone jars sit, frozen in a mute stance as they have been for many hundreds of years.
During the US war in neighbouring Vietnam, the conflict crossed the border into Laos. For a period of 9 years, the US dropped an average of a plane load of bombs every 8 minutes for 24 hours per day in Laos. There were at least 270 million cluster bomblets dropped as part of the bombing but 80 million failed to detonate.
We were in an area that received the most concentrated bombing and the effects are still seen today. MAG is just 1 of many entities whose mission is clearing land of UXO (unexploded ordinances) that plague the land. By 1 estimate, at the rate of clearing it will take 300 years to complete. Bomb craters were visible as we walked the site. (Yes, this site was cleared and safe of UXOs as indicated within the MAG markers.)
Mines Advisory Group
Huge bomb crater
Anthropologists agree that in all probability the jars served as vessels for the placement of deceased. It is possible that any lids made were of perishable materials as very few have been found; stone discs have been found but are believed to be grave markers.
That's all well and good, but Jordan has his own hypothesis:
It actually was a failed, unperfected, entrepreneurial venture many many years ahead of its time. It was an endeavour to make culverts. But the entrepreneur not only didn't do a thorough market study that would have told him that there was no market for the product, but he also hadn't perfected the "culvert". That came many years later when they realized culverts must be open at both ends. I formed this hypothesis (that I will present to the Society of Anthropologists soon) when quite by chance we came upon this scene in a field...
Modern day Plain of Jars
You be the judge.