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DISCOVERY OF MEGALITHIC STONE JARS IN ASSAM

Context

Several megalithic stone jars have been discovered in Assam's Dima Hasao district. This discovery has shed light on possible linkages dating back to the second millennium BC between Southeast Asia and India's northeast region.

Key Points

  • The publication 'An archaeological survey of the Assam stone jar sites' revealed three unique shaped jars.
  • 546 jars were unearthed in Nuchubunglo, making it the largest such site.
  • The study, which was published in Asian Archaeology, has called for greater research to better comprehend the cultural relationship between Laos, Assam, and Indonesia.
  • The only other locations where such jars have been discovered are Indonesia and Laos.

The discovery of the megalithic jars

  • The jars unearthed in Assam were discovered in 1929 by British civil officials John Henry Hutton and James Philip Mills. 
  • They discovered the jars in six separate locations in Kobak, Dima Hasao: Derebore (now Hojai Dobongling), Molongpa (now Melangpeuram), Kartong, Bolasan (now Nuchubunglo), and Ndunglo. 
  • More similar sites were discovered between 2016 and 2020. 
  • Although similarities may be drawn with stone jars discovered in Indonesia and Laos, the jars have not yet been formally dated. 
  • The jars discovered at the three locations share morphological and typological similarities. 
  • The jars recovered in Laos were dated, indicating that they were placed there in the late second millennium BC. 
  • Human skeletal remains were discovered inside the jars and bones buried surrounding the jars. 
  • The functions of the jars unearthed in Indonesia are unknown, but scholars believe they served a similar funeral function to those discovered in Laos.

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