Mysterious Giant Stone Jars Found in India

A team of researchers at the Australian National University found sixty-five ‘mysterious’ sandstone jars in the north-eastern state of Assam, India, over four different sites.

The newly discovered sandstone jars range in shape and decoration, with some tall and cylindrical and others partly or entirely buried in the ground. 

Similar jars, some of which span up to three meters high and two meters wide, have previously been discovered in Laos and Indonesia.

Nicholas Skopal, a Ph.D. student at the Australian National University, said that their team still does not know who made the giant jars, where they lived, or what they were used for. 

“There are stories from the Naga people, the current ethnic groups in north-east India, of finding the Assam jars filled with cremated remains, beads, and other material artifacts. This theory aligns with findings from the other jar sites in countries including Laos, which are also tied to burial rituals,” Skopal said. 

Initially, the new research aimed to survey the existing sites in Assam. 

However, when the researchers moved throughout the landscape, they realized there was still much more to discover.

“From there grids were set up to explore the surrounding densely forested regions… This is when we first started finding new jar sites. The team only searched a very limited area so there are likely to be a lot more out there, we just don’t yet know where they are,” Skopal said.

The researchers worked with local communities on the ground to locate potential jar sites, often through the areas of mountainous jungle that were difficult to navigate.

“Once the sites have been recorded, it becomes easier for the government to work with the local communities to protect and maintain them, so they are not being destroyed,” Skopal said.

Tilok Thakuria from North-Eastern Hill University and Uttam Bathari from Gauhati University led the research. 

The study’s findings are published in the Journal of Asian Archaeology.


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