The Valley of Jugs on the border of Laos and Vietnam is a place that attracts the attention of explorers from all over the world. Here, on the territory of the valley, there are more than 60 sites strewn with ancient jugs. These jugs have an impressive age – from one and a half to two thousand years. They amaze with their size and weight, reaching three meters in height and more than 6 thousand kilograms of weight. However, the most mysterious thing in this story is the purpose of these vessels.
Scientists have been arguing for many years about the origin and purpose of the jars of the Valley. One of the main mysteries is the absence of stone rocks in the area, from which these huge vessels could be made. Who and why brought them from far away and placed them on the mountainous terrain? Near the jugs also found slabs, which, according to the assumption of archaeologists, could serve as lids. This suggests that the vessels had their own lids and were used to store or bury something valuable.
Teeth, bone tissue, jewelry and fragments of bronze and pottery were found inside and near the jars. This indicates that these vessels may have been used for ritual purposes or may have been associated with funerary rites. Some scholars suggest that the jars may have served as urns for the burial of the dead. Ovens with traces of soot were found near them, which confirms this version.
However, there are other assumptions about the purpose of the jugs. Some scientists believe that they could have been used to store food or rainwater. After all, inside these vessels, especially if they were dug into the ground, food and water could be preserved for a long time.
There are also fantastic legends associated with the Valley of the Jugs. One of them says that a civilization of giants lived on this place, who created and brought these huge jugs here. According to another version, one of the local kings ordered these vessels to be made as a sign of his victory and filled with wine made from rice.
It is also worth noting that similar jugs have been found not only in the Valley of the Jugs, but also in India, Indonesia and Thailand. All of these sites are on trade routes, suggesting that the jugs were used to collect water and store food along the way for tired travelers. Jewelry found near the jars may have been used for rituals and sacrifices.
Today, the Valley of the Jugs is hardly visited by tourists because of the danger of unexploded ordnance left over from the Secret War and the confrontation in Vietnam. However, activists are working on demining the area so that it will be safe to visit this mysterious place in the future. For now, only 7 safe pitcher sites are available to tourists, one of which contains the largest vessel.