British explorer William Lindesay had been searching for the newly discovered section of the Great Wall since 1997.
In a Mongolian section of the Gobi desert, William Lindesay and a team of explorers discovered a 100km section of the Great Wall which was last written about in a 12th century atlas that recorded the battles of Genghis Khan.
Malcolm Moore of the Telegraph reports that the discovery is believed to be the first section of the Great Wall found outside of China, and that the wall was built from a combination of mashed earth and a local shrub named saksoul.
Lindesay had been searching for the section of wall since 1997:
“We reached it on the middle of the second day,” he said. “We found a wall that was around shin-high. But as we followed it for ten minutes, we came over a rise and there was a wonderful section, taller than my shoulders and stretching for several hundred feet,” he said.
First arriving in China in 1986 to make a 2500 kilometer journey along the Great Wall (“Alone on the Great Wall”, his 1991 written account of the trek, is still available from Amazon), Lindesay had for years been told that no Mongolian sections of the Great Wall were still in existence by everyone he consulted with.
But after placing an ad in a newspaper, Lindesay finally met with a Mongolian geographer who told him there were several structures in the desert, and that they could be viewed using Google Earth.
Eventually finding what looked like a “black pen line” on the all-powerful Google mapping program, an expedition was mounted with the Mongolian government granting special permits to explore the sensitive border area where the wall was believed to be located.
Though Lindesay (LINDESANITY!) puts the construction date of the newly discovered section to be around 120BC, carbon testing reveals that the wall was built in the 11th or 12th centuries, meaning the wall was possibly rebuilt either by Genghis Khan’s third son, Ogedei Khan (to stop gazelles migrating into China), or by the Western Xia dynasty, which was obliterated by Genghis Khan’s armies.
Meanwhile in other ancient wall news, the city of Changsha has declared it will preserve a 20 meter section of a Song Dynasty city defense wall that was recently discovered in November at a shopping mall construction site, while the rest of the wall will be moved due to flooding concerns.
Below is a video of William Lindesay traveling with a group of lucky THINK Global School students on a multi-day expedition of the Great Wall.