• We have updated the guidelines regarding posting political content: please see the stickied thread on Website Issues.

The Great Wall Of China

ramonmercado

CyberPunk
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
58,255
Location
Eblana
British researcher discovers piece of Great Wall 'marooned outside China'
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wor ... 36539.html

CLIFFORD COONAN in Beijing

Mon, Feb 27, 2012

AN INTERNATIONAL expedition led by British researcher William Lindesay believes that a 1,900-year-old wall in the heart of the Gobi Desert, which the Mongolians call the “Wall of Genghis Khan” is actually part of the Great Wall of China and was built by the Western Han dynasty.

The Great Wall of China is made up of many different pieces, constructed at different times and spread over large parts of the country but this section in Mongolia was not previously thought to be part of the Great Wall.

It is found 40km north of the China-Mongolian border in Ömnögovi Province, and is preserved to a height of 2.5m, giving defenders a bird’s eye view over the flat desert in order to observe the approach of enemies.

“Overall, the Wall of Genghis Khan in Ömnögovi appears to be a missing piece of the Han Dynasty Great Wall which was routed through the heart of the Gobi around 115BC,” said Mr Lindesay, who has lived in China for 25 years and is one of the experts on the Great Wall, having published numerous books on aspects of its history.

“If we look at maps and Google Earth, it’s pretty clear that the wall on either side of the border was in fact the same structure – the Han Great Wall – in ancient times. Now it’s a remnant of the Great Wall marooned outside China ...Genghis Khan was a conquerer, not a defender, and it seems his name is given as a ‘brand name’ to various things in Mongolia – so we believe it’s just an honorific name on the wall,” said Mr Lindesay.

To find a more convincing reason for the purpose of the structure, Mr Lindesay turned to The Secret History of the Mongols which is Mongolia’s first history text.

One explanation here was that Genghis Khan’s son, Ogodei Khan, as his successor, authorised the building of walls to prevent the migration of gazelles off the land.

They then carried out radiocarbon dating of samples of wood collected from the base of the eroded wall, and discovered that branches from the wall were cut during the 12th century, suggesting it was reconstructed later.

Taking the ancient geography of the region into account, it seems most likely that the remains of the Han Dynasty Great Wall were rebuilt by the Western Xia Dynasty (AD 1032-1227) at a time when tribes in Mongolia were rising in strength and making forays south.

The Western Xia Dynasty was not previously known to have built a Great Wall, but Mr Lindesay believes this is because the dynasty was the first kingdom that Genghis Khan attacked when he united the Steppe tribes in 1206.

“Because it took him 18 years to win the campaign he was enraged, and didn’t spare anything – he destroyed everything, and even died himself that year, in 1227.” The expedition took place at the end of August 2011 and China’s leading Great Wall expert, Prof Luo Zhewen, said the expedition revealed “a harvest of new information for our researchers to consider”. For Mr Lindesay, exploring the wall is a labour of love.

“It’s been more than worth it, to discover an unknown Great Wall of China.”
 
This thread has been quiescent too long! A programme on Ch4 tonight sounds interesting:

The Great Wall of China: The Hidden Story
Today on Channel 4 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Documentary. The Great Wall of China is one of mankind's great creations, and far more than just millions of bricks and tonnes of mortar. It has guarded its secrets for over 2800 years: no one knows how long it really is, how it was built or why it evolved.

With access to the first nationwide survey and state-of-the-art drones mapping the vast edifice, this documentary offers new evidence that reveals its extraordinary magnitude, rewrites its millennia-long history and decodes its complex signals system. Using cutting-edge chemistry, the programme also finds out what has kept the wall standing for so long.
 
This newly published research on a lesser known northern component of the overall Great Wall complex suggests some portions of the wall complex served purposes other than military defense.
Not All of The Great Wall of China Was Built to Keep Invaders Out, Study Claims

The northern segment of the Great Wall of China was built not to block invading armies but rather to monitor civilian movement, an Israeli archaeologist said Tuesday.

When researchers fully mapped the Great Wall's 740-kilometre (460-mile) Northern Line for the first time, their findings challenged previous assumptions.

"Prior to our research, most people thought the wall's purpose was to stop Genghis Khan's army," said Gideon Shelach-Lavi from Jerusalem's Hebrew University, who led the two-year study.

But the Northern Line, lying mostly in Mongolia, winds through valleys, is relatively low in height and close to paths, pointing to non-military functions.

"Our conclusion is that it was more about monitoring or blocking the movement of people and livestock, maybe to tax them," Shelach-Lavi said. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/new-study-reveals-not-all-of-china-s-great-wall-was-built-for-war
 
Here are the blbiographic details and abstract for the study cited above.

Medieval long-wall construction on the Mongolian Steppe during the eleventh to thirteenth centuries AD
Gideon Shelach-Lavi , Ido Wachtel, Dan Golan, Otgonjargal Batzorig ...
Antiquity. Volume 94, Issue 375 June 2020 , pp. 724-741

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2020.51

Abstract
The long walls of China and the Eurasian Steppe are considered to have functioned as either defensive structures against aggressive nomadic tribes, or as elements to control the movement of local nomadic groups following imperialist expansion. This article focuses on a hitherto understudied 737km-long medieval wall running from northern China into north-eastern Mongolia. Built by either the Liao or Jin Dynasties, the wall features numerous auxiliary structures that hint at its function. In research relevant to interpreting other Eurasian and global wall-building episodes, the authors employ extensive archaeological survey and GIS analysis to understand better the reasons behind the wall's construction, as well as its various possible functions.

SOURCE: https://www.cambridge.org/core/jour...centuries-ad/69850626FA671DD5A8454DD63EC31CFD
 

Two people detained in China for allegedly damaging Great Wall with excavator​


/This seems like the sort of thing that is going to result in harsh punishment

https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/04/china/china-great-wall-damage-excavator-intl/index.html
--------------------------------
After an investigation, police found a 38-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman had used an excavator to breach the wall in order to create a shortcut to pass through, causing “irreversible” damage to the integrity and safety of that portion of the wall, the broadcaster said.
 
The Great Bacterial Barrier.

For thousands of years, long stretches of earthworks and stone fortifications known collectively as the Great Wall have stood as testament to the ingenuity and authority of China's ruling dynasties.

The structure's astonishing state of preservation is no accident, with conservation and restoration efforts battling to ensure researchers and tourists alike can continue to appreciate the archaeological wonder for generations to come.

A recent study conducted by researchers from China, the US, and Spain could help resolve a debate in the conservationist community over the risks and benefits posed by living material growing into such precious pieces of our history.

Known as a biocrust, lichen, bacteria, fungi, moss, and other small plants can be found growing on just about any mineral surface exposed to the elements, forming thin layers anywhere from a few millimeters to several centimeters deep.

Some fear the physical and chemical processes involved in the growth of such organisms act as a form of weathering, compromising the integrity of underlying structures. As such, they ought to be removed to prolong the integrity of monuments like the Great Wall.

On the other hand, biocrusts play a vital role in protecting soil from being worn away by wind and rain, acting as both a shield and a scaffold for the regolith below. If they protect natural surfaces from being worn away, they may serve as a kind of living armor for unnatural structures.

https://www.sciencealert.com/the-gr...-a-living-substance-that-shields-it-from-harm
 
This newly published research on a lesser known northern component of the overall Great Wall complex suggests some portions of the wall complex served purposes other than military defense.


FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/new-study-reveals-not-all-of-china-s-great-wall-was-built-for-war

More findings from this study don't shed as much light on the topic as had been hoped for.

A team of archaeologists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, working with a colleague from the National University of Mongolia, has conducted a study of the 405-km wall system in eastern Mongolia known as the Mongolian Arc in order to learn more about its history and purpose. In their paper published in Journal of Field Archaeology, the group describes the techniques and technology they used to study the wall.

There is a section of the Great Wall of China that extends into Mongolia (which is an independent country) that has come to be known as the Mongolian Arc due to its shape. As is noted by the research team, compared to the wall in China, the Arc in Mongolia has received little study. In this new effort, they sought to learn more about the wall using a variety of approaches.

One approach involved mapping the wall, which stretches from the Dornod Province to the Sukhbaatar Province, roughly along the border between Mongolia and China. Prior research has shown that it comprises 34 structures and was constructed using both earthen walls and trenches.

They also found that historical records detailing when the wall was built are unclear, putting its construction somewhere between the 11th and 13th centuries. The team also looked at weather records to learn more about what the wall has endured over the years and satellite imagery to learn more about associations between wall locations and terrain. They also conducted field studies to learn more about the composition and condition of the wall.

The research team found some surprises. The biggest was that the wall had large gaps that suggest it was not built to keep out all invaders—it appears it was built quickly in response to certain aggressors. There is also evidence that suggests the wall was built as a means of controlling the movement of people or animals or perhaps as a part of a taxation scheme. ...

https://phys.org/news/2023-12-mongolian-arc-mystery-purpose.html
 
More findings from this study don't shed as much light on the topic as had been hoped for.

A team of archaeologists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, working with a colleague from the National University of Mongolia, has conducted a study of the 405-km wall system in eastern Mongolia known as the Mongolian Arc in order to learn more about its history and purpose. In their paper published in Journal of Field Archaeology, the group describes the techniques and technology they used to study the wall.

There is a section of the Great Wall of China that extends into Mongolia (which is an independent country) that has come to be known as the Mongolian Arc due to its shape. As is noted by the research team, compared to the wall in China, the Arc in Mongolia has received little study. In this new effort, they sought to learn more about the wall using a variety of approaches.

One approach involved mapping the wall, which stretches from the Dornod Province to the Sukhbaatar Province, roughly along the border between Mongolia and China. Prior research has shown that it comprises 34 structures and was constructed using both earthen walls and trenches.

They also found that historical records detailing when the wall was built are unclear, putting its construction somewhere between the 11th and 13th centuries. The team also looked at weather records to learn more about what the wall has endured over the years and satellite imagery to learn more about associations between wall locations and terrain. They also conducted field studies to learn more about the composition and condition of the wall.

The research team found some surprises. The biggest was that the wall had large gaps that suggest it was not built to keep out all invaders—it appears it was built quickly in response to certain aggressors. There is also evidence that suggests the wall was built as a means of controlling the movement of people or animals or perhaps as a part of a taxation scheme. ...

https://phys.org/news/2023-12-mongolian-arc-mystery-purpose.html
A bit like Hadrian's wall and the other Roman limes frontier structures?
 
Back
Top