Dozens of mysterious, heavy ‘jars of the dead’ found in remote Laos

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Researchers have announced the discovery of more than one hundred additional jars of the dead in Laos. These huge ‘jars’ are scattered throughout remote parts of central Laos in a place where there’s no evidence of past human occupation. Even stranger, scientists have no idea how these huge stones were transported to their final resting places — they weigh, in some cases, several tons.

The jars of the dead were found scattered across what is described as deep remote locations, as well as in the mountainous forest. There’s no clear way humans transported these massive stone vessels, which are believed to have been involved with the disposal of dead humans. The team says there are some other mysteries surrounding these new sites, as well.

A total of 137 jars were discovered via work by the Lao government and archaeologists with the University of Melbourne and Australian National University. The archaeologists explain that when excavating the stone jars, they discovered the presence of ‘beautifully carved discs’ thought to have been used as burial markers.

The discs were located around the jars; the side facing down contained carved decorations depicting things like creatures and human figures, as well as geometric designs. In addition, the teams found miniature versions of the jars that were created from clay, but there’s no clear reason why small representations of the larger vessels existed.

Other big jars of the dead have been discovered in Indonesia and India, but their exact purpose remains unknown. The discovery of dozens of these jars in remote parts of Laos indicates they were more widely used than previous thought, but adds questions about how they were moved to their unusual locations.

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