in the time of giants

24 08 2013

After a breakfast of sticky-rice doughnuts, fruit and Lao coffee, we departed at 8am to see sites 2 and 3 of the Plain of Jars. The roads to the sites are still under construction, so progress was extremely slow.


Site 2, atop a hill, was our first stop. I had been imagining a vast plain filled with jars as far as the eye could see, but this was a small wooded area with relatively few artefacts.


Seeing the limestones jars crushed by trees reminded me of wandering around the unrestored temples of Angkor Thom.

The jars are constructed from limestone that originates about 300km from the Plain of Jars. They have been hollowed out inside, with visible tool marks, and are presumed to be for funerary purposes.


Site 3 is reached across paddy fields. It is a very peaceful location with more jars than Site 2. From some angles the surrounding landscape could be mistaken for the UK.


The size of the jars varies quite a bit, but some were taller than I am.

some of the jars are taller than me

Lao legend is that the jars date back to the time when people were giants, and are actually discarded whisky glasses. Another legend if that coloured lights emerge from the jars at New Year, so offerings are made to these spirits.


a jar

Words & pictures — Elizabeth




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