China's 'Great Wall' Wasn't Its First Great Wall
Archaeologist Gary Feinman is studying an even earlier one
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2013 10:14 AM CST
Great Wall of China.   (©)

(Newser) – As NPR tells it, archaeologist Gary Feinman was "simply walking around eastern China's Shandong province" on a hunt for pottery shards when he found something much, well, greater: a rammed earth wall that reached as high as 15 feet in places. That there had been a wall built in Shandong in roughly 500 BC was not an entirely unknown fact. But Feinman was still rattled by what he saw, a surprisingly well-designed wall that "really runs along the higher ridge-tops of these very craggy mountains. ... In the upper reaches of its run, it was amazingly well preserved." And so Feinman set out to do what no one before him had: map it.

His suspicion is that it could be as many as several hundred miles long. "Nobody has seen how it snaked ... through such a large area," he says. And as NPR explains, its construction was fairly impressive, with countless tons of "fine-grained soil" being carted to higher elevations, where it was beaten into mounds firm enough to persist until present day. The "Great Qi Wall" was built under the Qi dynasty, as a form of protection from other regional Chinese dynasties. Qin Shi Huang eventually conquered all of China's regional states, bringing them together as one in 221 BC. It was Qin who began construction of a wall that became what is now the Great Wall. NPR has photos of the Great Qi Wall.

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Dec 31, 2013 7:13 AM CST
The earlier wall was called the Not-so-great Wall
Dec 30, 2013 7:06 AM CST
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was like to give offence.
Ezekiel 25:17
Dec 29, 2013 4:47 PM CST
The biggest discovery in the great wall project is the use of rice flour to make the mortar water resistant through the ages. Halliburton took this and improved on it with various patents that use different form of food starches to make oilfield cement impervious to the high pressures of the ocean floor. Whether or not this was in use on the Horizon one can only guess. But I do know of one project where they used another Halliburton invention for the cement mix. It was the addition of a percentage of Splenda to make if conform to rather strange specifications.