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343rd meeting : The Plain of Jars in a New Light
7th February 2012

A talk and presentation by Hans Lipp, Geographer, University of Tuebingen, Germany

The Plain of Jars Mystery

An early center of mining and metallurgic industry? A thesis with tourist intentions

Authors: Lipp, Hans, dipl. Geographer (Tuebingen) , Tillmann, Otto dipl. Geographer (Trier), engineer Ulrich Muenstermann (Rheinland-Pfalz-State Mining Museum Fischbach / Idar-Oberstein), cand. Dr. phil. Reinhard Hohler (Heidelberg) .

Phonsavan1 is a spacious, scattered settlement situated at 1100 metres above sea level, in a high valley of the Annam Coastal Cordillera. The intersection point of historical caravan routes between the Northern Thai kingdoms, the Mekong Valley and the Khorat Plateau, with excellent connections to Yunnan in southern China and Vinh in Vietnam on the Gulf of Tonkin.

Here, in a largely treeless landscape is located the “Plaine des Jarres”. Mostly in rows along slopes sometimes in unsorted clusters, thousands of stone pots made from different materials like basalt and granite are spread over the region. Many explanations and legends surround the vessels of varying size. Because organic material was found only as a kind of later added (second use)
content without original relation to the jars, no accurate dating could be done. Similarly it was not possible to detect a relationship between production time and purpose of the equipment.

No intensive research was carried out because the region had remained unsafe over long periods
of the 20 century. Rebellions and robberies by the Hmong, a hill tribe settled in the surrounding
mountains and demanding its independence, prevented a more intensive investigation or development of the region. Even in the 1930’ies only about 600 people of European origin, with French cizenship where reported in the whole territory of present-day Laos. There was simply not......

Read more by clicking "HERE" (PDF File for downloading or reading on line - 18 pages)

1 Name of the new Capital of the Province of Xieng,Khouang built in late 70th when the town of Xieng Khouang had been much damaged by bombings.[LG]



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