New Old Things

Andrei Marks · October 31, 2007

I’m just doing an article for the sake of doing an article. It’s already been 10 days since my last entry. This paragraph’s from www.gmw.cn, and it’s about the Great Wall. (It’s not the entire article.)

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Over 100 Kilometers of New Great Wall Discoveries
The survey of the Beijing section is half-finished.

Yesterday the fourth stage of the on-site inspection of the Beijing section of the Great Wall began in Matiwan village of the Yongning township in Yanqing County. Before this, the survey work on the Beijing section was already half completed, and during the first period the surveyors and city specialists in cultural relics discovered much new information about the Great Wall. For instance, the actual measurement of existent wall is greater than previous estimates, different structures of the Great Wall from different dynasties and multiple kiln sites were also discovered. None of the above are mentioned in documents and records about the Great Wall. This phase plans to complete on-site surveys of the Huairou, Pinggu, and Mentou Gully areas; the entire survey is estimated to conclude next year. At that time specific and accurate data about the Great Wall will be made clear for the first time.

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It’s funny to think that, walking around China you will sometimes see a slew of workers doing something that would normally be done in a more mechanized way in the States. Like an army of gardeners weeding a park lawn by hand, or a team using a donkey-powered drill to bore into the ground. You don’t see that so much back home.

See, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a new article about how China has for the first time been able to put advanced survey satellites to use in gathering data about the Great Wall or some such. But an on-site survey that will make clear information available about the Great Wall is just going to be completed in 2008? To be fair, it probably requires specialists, rather than sheer manpower, but still, for some reason I feel like China would have done this way sooner.

Maybe China’s bigger than I think, and the Great Wall’s greater than it seems.

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