JERUSALEM | thousands of miles away in China, archaeologists israelis have reconstructed the route of a portion of the Great Wall, forgotten by the historians and built in the Mongolian steppe to control nomadic populations, according to a study made public Tuesday.
“The construction of this pan of the Great Wall is a major project of the Middle Ages, which it is, paradoxically, very little mention in the historical documents “, told AFP professor Gideon Shelach-Lavi, member of the chair of asian Studies, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and director of research.
This is the first time that this part of the wall is the subject of a study so extensive, perhaps because of its geographical location is very remote, suggesting the archaeologist, to determine the route specific, visited the site with his team and has used satellite and aerial images.
Classified heritage of humanity by UNESCO, the Great Wall is an aggregate of military fortifications built in the north of China from the Third century before our era in order to defend the country against invasions from the north. Its total length is estimated to be approximately 9 000 kilometres, or 21 000 km if you count the parts that had disappeared.
Further north still lie the 737 kilometres away from a wall made of earth brought to light by the team of professor Shelach-Lavi. Rooted in the steppe, covered with grass, it forms the ” North Line “, riding on the current China, Russia and Mongolia.
This line is also known as “Wall of Genghis Khan” in reference to the famous warrior born in the Twelfth century and who, by dint of conquest, and founded the vast mongol empire.
“Originally, researchers thought that this section had been built to defend the local population of the Great Khan and his hordes of nomadic,” says Mr Shelach-Lavi. “But it seems that it was not a wall of military to protect themselves against invasions. “
The size was relatively moderate in the wall (about two metres) and its location on areas of low and therefore of little strategic suggests that it was more designed to monitor and control the movements of the nomadic populations and their herds.
“It was kind of a tool of internal policy,” concludes the professor.