Massive stone jars that may have been used for ancient human burial practices thousands of years ago have been discovered in the Indian state of Assam.

The 65 sandstone jars were found at four different sites in a dense forest in the north-eastern state. The jars are tall, cylindrical, and vary in shape and size. The details of the discovery have been published in the Journal of Asian Archaeology and involved researchers from three universities in India and Australia.

Some of the jars were found partially buried in the ground while others were found fully buried in the forest. There is no clarity about what these jars were used for, and the archaeologists involved in the research claim that they were "likely associated with mortuary practices."

"We still don't know who made the giant jars or where they lived. It's all a bit of a mystery", said Nicholas Skopa, a member of the research team." There are stories from the Naga people (an ethnic group in north-eastern India) of finding the Assam jars filled with cremated remains, beads and other material artefacts," he added.

Tilok Thakuria who led the research team said that the jars are currently empty and may have had a lid on them once. He added that there "are likely to be a lot more [such sites] out there. We just don't yet know where they are."

Similar stone jars were found in Laos and Indonesia in 2016 and were said to be at least 2,000 years old. Some of the jars found in Laos were 10 feet in height and 6.5 feet in width. Some of them even contained cremated human remains.

"The size and structure of the jars found in Assam and Laos are very similar. There's some variation in shape and size though. The ones in Assam are more bulbous, whereas the ones in Laos are more cylindrical," added Skopal.

Skopal believes that the jars found in Assam and Laos are linked, the ones found in Laos date back to around 1,000 BC while the ones found in Assam are yet to be dated, per a Newsweek report.

Assam stone jars
Image credits: Tilok Thakuria