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The "Frogman", Plain of Jars—Phonsavan City, Xiengkhouang Province, Laos
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Ianatlarge
N 19° 25.830 E 103° 09.120
48Q E 305977 N 2149503
Quick Description: An ancient megalithic bas-relief outline of a man, in northern Laos.
Location: Laos
Date Posted: 8/12/2012 6:29:53 AM
Waymark Code: WMF2MY
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Patudles
Views: 3

Long Description:
The "Plain of Jars" is collection of ancient megalithic jar sites. These jars are between 1m-3m tall. There are 88 sites to date, some sites have only 1 jar, others hundreds. There are in total over 2300 known jars. The jars are dated to between 500 BCE to 500 CE, however, little is known about the jars or their creators. The jars are constructed from sandstone, most likely at a nearby extant quarry. Due to a half century of warfare there has been relatively little archaeological research. This area was heavily bombed by the US airforce during the Vietnam War.

The Plain—in reality, the jars are on the foothills of the small hills in the area—is situated to the south of the city and provincial capital of Phonsavan, making this small town (pop. 35,000) something of a tourist attraction. Planning is underway to have the Plain declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Good luck with that.

Of these 2300 jars only one possesses a carving, the rest are blank. This is the "frogman" carving. This depicts a man, viewed frontally, in bas-relief. His arms extended upwards, his legs bent together beneath him. The carving is worn and faded. In height approximately 60cm. (The stick in the photographs is 42cm long).

A parallel has been made between this ‘frogman’ at Site 1 and the rock painting at Huashan in Guangxi, China. All that can be discerned with any certainty is that this was a Iron Age culture. The purpose of the jars is unknown, but speculation includes burial urns, storage of perishables and water, and the production of whisky (so I was told in the town). The jars are capable of being covered with a lid, so storage of some type seems reasonable (there is one known lid in evidence at site 1). Most likely, they performed a wide variety of functions, and like most public artefacts, became a source of civic pride for each village, with an element of inter-village competition.


Entry to the site costs 10,000 Kip ($1). Entry hours: October - February: 08.00-16.00. March - September: 07.00-17.00. A tour from the city will cost you $20-$30, depending on your tour itinerary. A personal tour of three or four sites for a day in a private vehicle maybe $100. The immediate area has been cleared of Vietnam War era unexploded bombs, but don't wander off the paths.

Resource links:
(visit link)
Type of Pictograph: Petroglyph

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