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And now for something much farther afield

Photo by Jakub Hałun. I’ve cropped it and made it monochrome.

Behold, the Plain of Jars! It’s in Laos. They’ve found a bunch more in the jungle.

These things are seriously large – like, ten feet tall – and they know eff-all about the people who made them. The speculation is that these jars were used as part of funerary practices – to allow bodies to be picked clean before burial as bones. But why would they need so many? Did everyone have a family corpse jar?

They’ve found some more conventional burials (conventional for us, anyway) nearby that they can date to 2,500 years ago. They have no idea if the burial people had any relationship to the jar people. The burials were often capped with a round stone elaborately carved on the underside.

The idea of re-using other people’s sacred spaces is something that came up in that day-long course on West Yorkshire burial mounds. There was one mound in particular that started as a pit, with very old bones at the bottom (which showed signs of cannibalism). A couple more later burials higher up in the pit. When it was level with the ground, there were several more burials that had earth over them, so it began to become a mound. I believe there were a few cremation urns in there, which is late mesolithic. The mound kept growing until it finally assumed the shape we see today. The last burials were Anglo-Saxon, which is thousands of years more recent (and a whole ‘nother people).

Speculation is that the original pit must have been covered with a marker of some kind so they could find it again.

If you find the Plain of Jars at all interesting, I recommend hitting the link and then following the other links embedded in the article. They leads to lots more pictures and data.

Speaking of prehistory, a reminder that the two-day conference on Doggerland is coming up Thursday and Friday. I shall have my nose in a Zoom all day, but I’ll let you know if anything interesting turns up.

May 5, 2021 — 8:27 pm
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