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Owing to its rather isolated inland position and recent political conflicts, the prehistory of Laos remains virtually unknown. The best-known sites, investigated in the 1930s, are the megaliths and underground tombs of Hua Pan in the northeast and the more famous Plain of Jars in the northcentre. In the early history of Southeast Asia, Laos is also practically a void. Only what is now its southernmost part, the Champasak (Bassac) area, played a role as the presumed homeland of the Khmer and the origin of the kingdom of Chenla in the 6th century. From then on Laos was, albeit marginally, under the political and cultural influence of the Khmers until well into the 13th century, the time of Thai ascendancy. The first Laotian kingdom, that of Lan Chang, came only into being in the middle of the 14th century, when Indianized kingdoms throughout the region were already on the decline. See also Angkor, Sukhothai, Vat Phu.

The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983Copied