for National Geographic News
Published March 19, 2012
A forgotten section of the Great Wall of China has been discovered deep in the Gobi Desert—and outside of China—researchers say.
With the help of Google Earth, an international expedition documented the ancient wall for roughly 100 kilometers (62 miles) in a restricted border zone in southern Mongolia in August 2011.
The defensive barrier formed part of the Great Wall system built by successive Chinese dynasties to repel Mongol invaders from the north, according to findings published in the March issue of the Chinese edition of National Geographic magazine.
Preserved to a height of 9 feet (2.75 meters) in places, the desert discovery belongs to a sequence of remnant walls in Mongolia collectively known as the Wall of Genghis Khan, said expedition leader and Great Wall researcher William Lindesay.
I was inspired many years ago by a documentary on the wall's construction. I had a fence to put in, and instead of pouring concrete at the posts, I tried adding a little dirt at a time and tamping it down thoroughly with a pole. This was almost 15 years ago, and I drove past the fence maybe two years ago -- still straight.