The Plain of Jars Archaeological Project is a joint Australian-Lao research endeavour comprising researchers and students from Australian and International universities and colleagues from the Lao Department of Heritage. Funding was provided by the  Australian Research Council.

Little archaeological excavation has been undertaken at the jar sites since the first published survey and excavation in the 1930s. Our research aims to shed light on the function and geographic extent of the jar sites, identify occupation and quarry sites associated with the megaliths, to learn more about the people who carved the stone jars and to create an enduring digital record of the sites to assist in heritage management and conservation.

The first phase of our archaeological research commenced In 2016 at the megalithic jar site, commonly known as ‘Site 1’ in Xieng Khouang Province close to the capital Phonsavan. Since then our team has conducted further research at Sites 2, 3, 52, and 12 and has identified several previously unrecorded sites.

The web database structure includes 'Sites'- these are locations that have been identified as having at least one stone jar. Within the sites, jars are detailed where data exists. 'Groups' refer to either single jars or groups of jars at a megalithic jar site. Jars that are > 30 m apart are considered to comprise seperate groups.

Sites that have been excavated contain 'Units' which refer to the excavated areas at these sites and those pages contain information on the material culture recovered and 'features' which are non-moveable archaeological entities which may or may not contain material culture. 'Artefacts' comprise all the material culture recovered from excavations at a given site. All of the artefacts excavated by the PJARP team have been turned over to the Xieng Khouang Provincial Museum for safe-keeping. Some of these are on display in the museum and more are expected to be added to display in 2025 as part of further Australian Research Council funding.

For further information on this project, contact Dr Louise Shewan, at

Video: Aerial footage taken over Site 1, Xiengkhouang Province Laos in 2016.