Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-564cf476b6-2fphr Total loading time: 0.254 Render date: 2021-06-20T23:30:21.341Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true }

Article contents

Excavating among the megaliths: recent research at the ‘Plain of Jars’ site 1 in Laos

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2019

Dougald O'Reilly
Affiliation:
School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, 44 Linneaus Way, Acton ACT 2601, Australia
Louise Shewan
Affiliation:
School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, 253–283 Elgin Street, Victoria, Australia
Kate Domett
Affiliation:
College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, 1 James Cook Drive, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia
Siȃn E. Halcrow
Affiliation:
Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, 270 Great King Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
Thonglith Luangkhoth
Affiliation:
Department of Heritage, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, P.O. Box 3556, Lane Xang Avenue, Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR
Corresponding

Abstract

The date and significance of the megalithic jar sites of central Laos are comparatively poorly understood features of the Southeast Asian archaeological landscape. First explored systematically in the 1930s, only limited research on these sites has been undertaken since. This article presents the recent excavations at Ban Ang—or site 1—a megalithic jar site of nearly 400 jars, located in Xieng Khouang Province. The results confirm the findings of earlier research, but additionally reveal a range of mortuary practices, high rates of infant and child mortality, and new evidence dating these interments to the ninth to thirteenth centuries AD.

Type
Research
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2019 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Blust, R. 1994. The Austronesian settlement of Mainland Southeast Asia, in Adams, K.L. (ed.) Second Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society: 2583. Tempe: Arizona State University.Google Scholar
Bronk Ramsey, C. 2009. Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 51: 337–60. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200033865CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buikstra, J.E. & Ubelaker, D.H. (ed.). 1994. Standards for data collection from human skeletal remains. Fayetteville: Arkansas Archaeological Survey.Google Scholar
Bulbeck, D. 2017. Traditions of jars as mortuary containers in the Indo-Malaysian archipelago, in Piper, P., Matsumura, H. & Bulbeck, D. (ed.) New perspectives in Southeast Asian and Pacific prehistory: 141–64. Canberra: ANU Press. https://doi.org/10.22459/TA45.03.2017.08CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Colani, M. 1935. Mégalithes du Haut-Laos (Publications de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient 25–26). Paris: École française d’Extrême-Orient.Google Scholar
Fallon, S.J., Fifield, L.K. & Chappell, J.M.. 2010. The next chapter in radiocarbon dating at the Australian National University: status report on the single stage AMS. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 268: 898901. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nimb.2009.10.059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Galipaud, J.-C., Kinaston, R., Halcrow, S., Foster, A., Harris, N., Simanjuntak, T., Javelle, J. & Buckley, H.. 2016. The Pain Haka burial ground on Flores: Indonesian evidence for a shared Neolithic belief system in Southeast Asia. Antiquity 90: 1505–21. https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2016.185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Genovese, R. 2015. The Plain of Jars of north Laos: beyond Madeleine Colani. Unpublished PhD dissertation, SOAS University of London.Google Scholar
Halcrow, S.E. & Tayles, N.. 2011. The bioarchaeological investigation of children and childhood, in Agarwal, S.C. & Glencross, B. (ed.) Social bioarchaeology: 333–60. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444390537.ch12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Halcrow, S.E., Tayles, N. & Elliot, G.E.. 2017. The bioarchaeology of fetuses, in Han, S., Betsinger, T. K. & Scott, A.B. (ed.) The anthropology of the fetus: biology, culture and society: 83111. New York: Berghahn.Google Scholar
Hartmann, J.F. 1998. A linguistic geography and history of Tai Meuang-Fai (Ditch-Dike) techno-culture. Journal of Language and Linguistics 16: 68100.Google Scholar
Higham, C. 2002. Early cultures of Mainland Southeast Asia. Bangkok: River.Google Scholar
Higham, C. & Kijngam, A. (ed.). 2013. The excavation of Ban Non Wat: the Iron Age (Volume 6). Bangkok: The Thai Fine Arts Department.Google Scholar
Higham, T.F., Barton, H.U.W., Turney, C.S., Barker, G., Ramsey, C.B. & Brock, F.. 2009. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal from tropical sequences: results from the Niah Great Cave, Sarawak, and their broader implications. Journal of Quaternary Science 24: 189–97. https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.1197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Khamphoumy, M. 2013. The Plain of Jars in Laos. Unpublished internal report for the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Division of Archaeological Research, Vientiane, Laos.Google Scholar
Kirleis, W., Müller, J., Kortemeier, C., Behling, H. & Soeghondo, S.. 2012. The megalithic landscape of central Sulawesi, Indonesia: combining archaeological and palynological investigations, in Bonatz, D., Reinecke, A. & Tjoa-Bonatz, M.L. (ed.) Selected papers from the 13th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists: 199219. Singapore: National University of Singapore.Google Scholar
Lewis, H., White, J. & Bouasisengpaseuth, B.. 2013. A buried jar site and its destruction: Tham An Mah Cave, Luang Prabang Province, Lao PDR, in Tan, N.H. (ed.) Advancing Southeast Asian archaeology 2013: selected papers from the First SEAMEO SPAFA International Conference on Southeast Asian Archaeology: 7283. Bangkok: SEAMEO SPAFA.Google Scholar
Lewis, M.E. 2007. The bioarchaeology of children: perspectives from biological and forensic anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511542473Google Scholar
McFadden, C. & Oxenham, M.F.. 2017. The D0-14/D ratio: a new paleodemographic index and equation for estimating total fertility rates. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 165: 471–79. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23365CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Moorrees, C.F.A., Fanning, E.A. & Hunt, E.E.. 1963a. Age variation of formation stages for ten permanent teeth. Journal of Dental Research 42: 14901502. https://doi.org/10.1177/00220345630420062701CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moorrees, C.F.A., Fanning, E.A. & Hunt, E.E.. 1963b. Formation and resorption of three deciduous teeth in children. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 21: 205–13. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.1330210212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nitta, E. 1996. Comparative study on the jar burial traditions in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. Historical Science Reports of Kagoshima University 43: 119.Google Scholar
O'Reilly, D. 2014. Increasing complexity and the political economy model: a consideration of Iron Age moated sites in Thailand. Anthropological Archaeology 35: 298309. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2014.06.007Google Scholar
O'Reilly, D. & Shewan, L.. 2015. A report on the 2011–2012 excavation of Lovea: an Iron Age, moated settlement in Cambodia. Archaeological Research in Asia 1–2: 3347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ara.2015.02.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Reilly, D. & Shewan, L.. 2016. The mysterious megalithic jars of central Laos. TAASA Review: The Journal of the Asian Arts Society of Australia 25(4): 1213.Google Scholar
O'Reilly, D., Shewan, L., Van Den Bergh, J., Luangaphay, S. & Luangkoth, T.. 2018. Megalithic jar sites of Laos: a comprehensive overview and new discoveries. Journal of Indo-Pacific Prehistory 42: 131. https://doi.org/10.7152/jipa.v42i0.15250Google Scholar
Pittayaporn, P. 2014. Layers of Chinese loanwords in proto-south-western Tai as evidence for the dating of the spread of south-western Tai. Manusya Journal of Humanities 20: 4768.Google Scholar
Reimer, P.J. et al. 2013. IntCal13 and Marine13 radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50 000 years cal BP. Radiocarbon 55: 1869–87. https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_js_rc.55.16947CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reinecke, A., Vin, L. & Seng, S.. 2009. The first golden age of Cambodia: excavation at Prohear. Bad Langensalaz: DAI KAAK.Google Scholar
Sayavongkhamdy, T. n.d. Unpublished PhD dissertation draft, The Australian National University.Google Scholar
Sayavongkhamdy, T. & Bellwood, P.. 2000. Recent archaeological research in Laos. Bulletin of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 19: 101–10.Google Scholar
Scheuer, L. & Black, S.. 2000. Developmental juvenile osteology. San Diego (CA): Academic. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-012624000-9/50004-6Google Scholar
Schlosser, S., Reinecke, A., Schwab, R., Pernicka, E., Seng, S. & Vin, L.. 2012. Early Cambodian gold and silver from Prohear: composition, trace elements and gilding. Journal of Archaeological Science 39: 2877–87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2012.04.045CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shewan, L. & O'Reilly, D. (ed.). 2019. Madeleine Colani's megaliths of Upper Laos. Melbourne: Barcaray International.Google Scholar
Shewan, L., O'Reilly, D. & Luangkhoth, T.. 2016. Recent excavations at a megalithic jar site in Laos: site 1 revisited. Antiquity Project Gallery 90(351). Available at: https://www.antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/shewan351 (accessed 13 June 2019).Google Scholar
Thakuria, T. 2014. Hollowed monoliths of North Cachar, Assam: prospects for archaeology and ethno-history, in Jamir, T. & Hazarika, M. (ed.) 51 years after Daojali-Hading: emerging perspectives in the archaeology of north-east India: 243–49. New Delhi: Research India.Google Scholar
Van Den Bergh, . n.d. Summary of Van Den Bergh excavations and MAG finds. Unpublished report submitted to the Department of National Heritage, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR.Google Scholar
Van Den Bergh, J. & Luangaphay, S. (ed.). 2008. Plain of Jars archaeological landscape: heritage management plan. Unpublished report submitted to National Heritage Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

O'Reilly et al. supplementary material

O'Reilly et al. supplementary material 1

Download O'Reilly et al. supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 963 KB
2
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Excavating among the megaliths: recent research at the ‘Plain of Jars’ site 1 in Laos
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Excavating among the megaliths: recent research at the ‘Plain of Jars’ site 1 in Laos
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Excavating among the megaliths: recent research at the ‘Plain of Jars’ site 1 in Laos
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *