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September 23, 2009

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Newly found ruins add length to Great Wall

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have discovered a section of ruins of the Great Wall built during the Qin (221-206 BC) and Han (206 BC-220 AD) dynasties in northeast China's Jilin Province that proves the defensive wall stretches eastward further than previously thought.

"The site was found in Tong-hua County, 10.9 kilometers east of what was previously thought to be the eastern end of the Great Wall in Xinbin County in neighboring Liaoning Province," Zhao Hailong, head of the Great Wall resources research team in Jilin, said yesterday.

He said the team's research was part of a national project to measure the length of the Great Wall of the Qin and Han dynasties. The project is jointly sponsored by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping.

It is generally believed that the Great Wall was built in different periods and its total length is about 50,000km.

The two government departments announced last December after conducting a first phase survey that the Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was 8,851.8km.

The two departments are expected to announce the results of the second phase of the survey by the end of this year. It will measure the length of the Great Wall built in the Qin and Han dynasties and will include the latest discoveries. Archaeologists worldwide have generally agreed this section is about 6,000 kilometers.

Zhao said the archaeological site in Tonghua County was a well-preserved section of ruins stretching 172 meters. It is the first time a section of the Great Wall from the Qin and Han periods has been found in Jilin.

A large quantity of Han Dynasty earthenware was unearthed at the site.

"The site is probably a fortification of the ancient city of Chibosong, which is 27.9km away. It is important evidence of the Han Dynasty's administration of the northeast part of the country," said Zhao.

He said there might be more forts between the new site found in Tonghua and what was previously thought to be its end in Xinbin.


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