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Madeleine Colani (1866 in Strasbourg–1943 in Hanoi, Vietnam) was a female French archaeologist, born in Strasbourg. Colani was "a pioneering fieldworker who combined the roles of geologist, paleobotanist, archeologist, and ethnographer." She is well known for discovering the Hoabinhian culture from approximately 16,000 BCE, and for her investigations on the Plain of Jars.
In 1899, she arrived to Vietnam to teach, in 1914 returned to France to earn her doctorate. From 1920 to 1927, she worked for Indo-chinese geology bureau. She contributed much for Vietnamese archaeology, especially Sa Huỳnh Culture. She conducted archaeologic surveys in Nghệ An Province, Quảng Bình Province and Hạ Long Bay in Vietnam and Plain of Jars in Laos.
Colani is the source for today's understanding of the megalithic stone jars on the Plain of Jars, investigating and arguing "convincingly" that they were urns, used in funerary rites. Her 1930 work on the subject, The Megaliths of Upper Laos, is Colani's "great contribution to archaeological literature".
In 1929, she worked for École française d'Extrême-Orient.
- Colani M. (1927). L'âge de la pierre dans la province de Hoa Binh. Mémoires du Service Géologique de l'Indochine 13
- Colani, Madeleine. (1930). The Megaliths of Upper Laos.
- Laos Keeps Its Urns: Survivor of decades of war, the Plain of Jars retains its allure by Russell Ciochon and Jamie James, University of Iowa
- The Stone Jars of Laos, Viewzone Magazine