New pieces (sections) of the Great Wall Discovered
In the Gobi desert, researchers have made a startling new discovery. They have located pieces of the Great Wall of China that have stood undisturbed and forgotten amid the desert sands for thousands of years. Interestingly, the particular locations of these portions of the Wall are barely outside the political borders of modern day China.
This helps explain why part of something as iconic and well known as the Great Wall could remain undiscovered for so long. The area where the researchers made their discovery is a politically sensitive one located near the border between China and Mongolia. Visitors from foreign countries are generally not allowed to go there.
The researchers were highly motivated to explore that area; they had good reason to suspect that portions of the Great Wall were there. Using the satellite imagery from Google Earth, the researchers found some compelling clues. They focused on the length of the shadows created by potential sections of the Wall. Some of the shadows were much longer than expected.
Based on this evidence, the research team requested permission from the local governments to enter and examine the area. But their persistence and courage paid off. In the end, they received permission to explore the area. William Lindesay, one of the researchers, reported that they were the first non-citizens to enter the region.
The Wall of Genghis Khan
The Great Wall of China takes on different names over the course of its long journey over the landscape. In this area, it is called the Wall of Genghis Khan. Other sections of this wall have been reportedly discovered by scientists across Mongolia. However, those pieces were indistinguishable from small hills. They were scarcely taller than the surrounding landscape.
The discovery by Lindesay's team is different. The sections they found are clearly a wall built by humans. Portions of it are approximately 2.5 meters tall.
While the wall is named after Genghis Khan, the chances that he was actually involved in its construction are slim. The historical record indicates that he focused on conquest and expansion rather than building structures to defend existing borders. Researchers believe this section of the wall was built during the Han dynasty. That would place the original construction near 110 BC.
However, the results of dating tests indicate that some sections were built sometime between 1040 and 1160 AD. Researchers suggest the wall was rebuilt centuries after its initial construction. This means the Western Xia dynasty could have been responsible for the rebuilding. If true, this would represent major new information. That dynasty was previously believed to not have been involved in any such projects. Whichever dynasty is responsible, Lindesay is certain the wall was intended to protect the ancient borders of China