Laos’s Ancient and Mysterious Plain of Jars

See more photos of Laos’s mysterious stone jars at the Plain of Jars location page and by browsing the #plainofjars hashtag.

Scattered along the Xieng Khouang plateau in central Laos sit thousands of large stone jars. Commonly referred to as the Plain of Jars, this expanse of megalithic structures date back to the Iron Age (500 BCE—500 AD) and is widely thought to be associated with ancient burial rituals.

The jar sites, while of great importance to historians and archaeologists, are difficult to access by visitors due primarily to the nearly 260 million cluster bombs dropped in the area by the United States between 1964 and 1973, 80 million of which remain undetonated today.

Several of the sites have been cleared for visitors as part of a wider effort to preserve the jars as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of those fortunate enough to visit the jar sites have shared their experience through Instagram. See more photos by browsing the Site 1 and Site 2 location pages and by exploring nearby Phonsavan, Laos.