The Helmand Sistan Project
Key Sites

Plain of Jars

Latitude: 30.565208   Longitude: 62.074836
Enlarged satellite view

Map Number: 17  Go to the MAP

The area to the south and west of Shahr-i Gholghola contained a dozen sites that featured large storage jars set into the ground with a scatter of ceramics from Parthian and Sasanian times around them. We labeled this area the Plain of Jars because of the frequency of this configuration. Occasionally these sites would also include a ceramic kiln or other unusual objects like stone or ceramic “pulleys.” The absence of any other architectural remains led us to believe these were small farmsteads with buildings made of perishable tamarisk branches and mud, much as they are today. All that was preserved were the large ceramic jars embedded in the ground that held water or agricultural products, usually 2-10 jars but occasionally up to 35 jars. Many of these sites are located along smaller canals, which further supports this interpretation. Other sets of embedded storage jars are found at or just outside some of the large pre-Islamic qalas that we documented in our survey.

The site labeled Jars 219 consisted of five large ledge rim storage jars and three smaller ones with a ceramic scatter nearby. We hypothesize this represents the remains of a rural homestead from Parthian or Sasanian times.