Site 2 was originally known as the 'Airfield at Lat Sen' when documented by Madeleine Colani. The site comprises megalithic jars spread over two knolls with a road between them. The road, constructed during the French Administration of Laos has caused slope erosion and displacement of some of the jars. The site had previously been excavated by Colani and Sayavongkhamdy but limited data on these research efforts was published. An inventory of the megaliths at the site was led by Andrew Ball in 2017. The site was selected for excavation by PJARP in 2019 and three units were excavated on the western ridge.
Colani first visited what is now known as Site 2 in
the autumn of 1931. The site was referred to by her as
the Lat Sen airfield as there was an airstrip nearby.
She conducted research at Site 2 after her initial visit,
documenting the jars and discs at the site which
she numbered variously as having “about seventy jars
and eleven discs” and elsewhere noting the presence
of more than 82 jars. Colani also undertook
some excavations at the site although the exact location
of these diggings is not clear from her publications.
She does note that “At the airfield at Lat Sen …funerary pots buried in the ground stand on a layer of charcoal” (Colani 1935:107). Colani notes that the
megalithic jars at Site 2 were not buried to any great
depth and that several were broken or damaged by
vandals but not to the degree seen at Site 1 (Ban Ang).
She notes that the jars at Site 2 are predominantly of
the ‘slender type’ with round apertures with simple
rims. Colani (1935) notes the presence of lids, presumably
referring to the discs at the site, noting that
they are either plain or decorated “some with a simple
cupula or a cone, others with these same designs
augmented by superimposed discs; in the middle of
one of them there is even a little roughed-out anthropomorphic
figure, unfinished and broken, extremely
Colani examined the contents of 64 of the
jars at Site 2 and reports that 39 of these contained ‘terracotta
potsherds’ that were mostly grey in color. Four
jars contained glass beads. None contained any bone. Her excavations around the jars revealed a number of
artefacts as well including; “a fragment of a disc-ring,
three axes, one of which has a tang for hafting, three
rectangular pendants [and] a fragment of a grinding
stone”. She reports also uncovering ceramics ranging
in size from small to large, small perforated ceramic
weights, bi-truncated cones or spindle-shaped, discs and ear-rings.
Some artefacts in bronze were
also found including spiral pendants, fragments of
worked small globular bells and an engraved ring.
Iron knives with tangs for hafting were also excavated
as were glass and carnelian beads and perforated
mollusc shells (Cyprea). Colani also reports finding a
rectangular pendant of stone but it is poorly described.
Ceramics were also uncovered in these excavations
including “a small broken pot with small
handles made with a coarse paste of whitish mineral
elements, including quartz crystals. Another piece
of ceramic was described as part of a small cylinder
with a blackish paste with similar inclusions.
Colani describes a ‘cooking’ pot with two handles
with a fine reddish paste and a bowl with a blackish paste and mineral inclusions. She
reports finding very few carnelian beads (Colani 1935
v2: 131) and an open ring of bronze with stylised vegative
motifs whch she believes was of a recent date
and perhaps of exotic origin. Other ceramics are
noted to belong to the Song period, found 5-20 cm
below surface and she relates them obliquely to the
bronze mentioned previously (Colani 1935 v2: 139).
Site 2 has seen no further excavation since Colani’s
time but the site was documented in the mid-2000s
by a team led by Samlane Luangaphay and Julie
Van Den Bergh. They documented two groups of
sandstone jars spread over the two hills at the site. In total they recorded 93 jars, 14 discs and 9 stones.
The site was resurveyed in 2017 by a team led by
Andrew Ball as part of the Plain of Jars Archaeological
Project confirming that there are two groups of
jars. The 2017 work documented 35 jars and eight
discs in Group 1, the western group and 51 jars
and seven discs in Group 2, the eastern group.
Preparation for the 2019 research season began
on February 18th and involved a meeting with the
Xieng Khouang Deputy Director of the Provincial
Department of Heritage, Mr Vieng Savanh Keophukoy.
Site 2 excavation units
Detail of vessel (CAT 95)
Site 2 team