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


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.

Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2019 

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