An expedition to explore the mysterious Valley of the Pitchers of the Dead begins in Laos

Since 2018, Russian sappers have been demining territories in Laos within the framework of military-technical cooperation. The land is literally packed with unexploded ordnance, a legacy of indiscriminate American guerrilla bombing in the jungle. For more than half a century, many regions of the country remained closed to people, but now, thanks to the efforts of the Russian military, scientists have gained access to the Xieng Khuang plateau, to the mysterious Valley of the jugs of the dead.

Back in 2016, archaeologists discovered here several burials of people at least 2, 500 years old. Today, when bombs are no longer a hindrance, thousands of Iron Age artifacts have been found in the valley - beads, primitive tools, spindles, ceramics, metal jewelry. Scientists cannot yet say which culture they belong to, and it is possible that we are talking about a new discovery in anthropology. These places remained deserted for many centuries - in modern times because of bombs, and in the old days because of legends about huge stone artifacts.

The fact is that there are 137 stone structures in the valley in the form of vessels, jugs or jars, up to 3 m high and weighing several tons. According to legends, these are the cups of giants, thrown away during a drunken feast. The jugs are separate items, in theory they can be moved around. Nearby, their rough little clay simulations are scattered in abundance - it looks like ancient people tried to copy the creations of an unknown civilization.

Human bones were found inside some of the jugs, which led archaeologists to think about their ritual purpose. Perhaps the huge stone jugs were something like coffins or tombs, but it is possible that they were used for natural mummification or decomposition of bodies - the design of jugs involves a variety of types of their use.