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Plain of Jars could receive World Heritage status in July

Good news is expected for Laos’ Plain of Jars (Thong Hai Hin) in July when UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meets to make a decision on the site’s status, a government official said last week.

Director General of the Heritage Department at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Thongbay Phothisan, said that after a lot of hard work to process the necessary paperwork, he hopes the Plain of Jars will soon be listed by UNESCO as Laos’ third World Heritage Site.
 “All the necessary documents were submitted last year,” he said. “At the end of last year the World Heritage team came to Laos to assess the site and we went to Paris to confirm our intention to apply and to maintain the Plain of Jars as a WorldHheritage site.”
The Plain of Jars covers more than 200 hectares across 11 sites in Xieng Khuang province in the districts of Paek, Phaxay, Phoukoud and Kham.  Hundreds of stone jars cut from rock dot the landscape and are thought to be several thousand years old.
Archaeological investigations and analysis of materials found at the multiple sites continue. The details about why and how the jars came into being remain a mystery. While it has been discovered that some of the jars date from as early as 2000 BC, most are from the early Iron Age between 500 BC and 500-800 AD.
If the application is successful, the Plain of Jars will be Laos’ third World Heritage Site after Luang Prabang and the Vat Phou temple complex in Champassak province, which received the honour in 1995 and 2001 respectively.
The government is currently preparing documents for submission to UNESCO requesting that Hin Nam No in Khammuan province be Laos’ first Natural Heritage Site.

By Keoxomphou Sakdavong
(Latest Update February 4, 2019)

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