A total of five jars containing remains, estimated to be over 100-200 years old, were unearthed by a local farmer recently who hired an excavator to prepare a rice field in Nanga village, Naxaithong district, Vientiane.
The farmer, Mr. Somvang Chanthavong, aged 36, said he hired the driver of an excavator to lower the level of the earth so that water could flood it for planting rice. Not long after starting work, the driver struck a hard object with his bucket.
Mr. Somvang told the driver to stop the machine and together they pulled out a sizeable fragment of jar.
Upon inspection, Mr. Somvang and the driver discovered that the bucket had hit a large clay jar buried just below the surface, about 50 cm deep.
“The driver stopped digging as soon as he heard the excavator strike something. He and I walked straight to the place where the object lay and we were surprised to find that the jars contained bones inside,” he said.
Recognising the significance of their discovery, Mr. Somvang decided to contact the local authorities and officials to see if they could identify the origin of the jars and the bones within. This place is often hit by thunder and lightning, Mr. Somvang said.
The jars themselves range from 50cm to 70cm in size and when opened, they revealed the remains. “The site where the jars were unearthed is about one kilometre from my house,” Mr. Somvang said.
An old villager who lives nearby, Mr. Khamphou Vongyaxaisy, 66, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that the jars with human bones probably originate from French colonial times, according to his father who first lived in the area over 100 years ago during the establishment of the village.
“The local authorities may invite officials and archaeologists from the central and district information, culture and tourism offices to examine the finds if further discoveries are made,” he added.
Mr. Khamphou said the jars were being kept near the fields for the time being. Local authorities said the final destination for the jars would probably be an official storeroom of some kind.
“Following the tale confirmed by my father the surprise find marks the first time in many years that there has been a significant archaeological discovery in the village,” Mr. Khamphou said.
Some local officials believe there may be other objects dating from the French Empire buried in the district.
It is hoped the local farmer and driver’s actions inspire other people to hand over similar finds and respect the country’s antiquities.
Source: Vientiane Times