How long is a piece of Ming, experts ask

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2006, 12:00am


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First measurement of Great Wall in northeast planned

A feasibility study will be conducted in Beijing over the next two months to prepare for the full measurement of the Ming dynasty section of the Great Wall.

If the simulation - which focuses on a non-touristy section of the Ming Wall in the capital - is workable, the full aerial measurement is likely to be undertaken for one to two years from July.

If given approval, the project, estimated to cost about 50 million yuan, will be the first large-scale study to measure the Ming Wall, after a similar but larger plan costing more than 100 million yuan was shelved early last year.

Zhang Ji, deputy secretary of the China Great Wall Society, said the project was aimed at gathering accurate information to help protect the Great Wall. 'The information we have now on the length of the wall is only from historical records. After 1949, individual provinces and cities marked the Great Wall on their local maps. The figures may not be accurate.'

Mr Zhang said the project, being conducted by the society and the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, would be supported through fund-raising, with the bureau financing a small part of it.

The project will examine the section of the Great Wall built during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) - about 7,000km - spanning nine cities, provinces and autonomous regions, from Liaoning down to Shaanxi and up to Inner Mongolia .

The Great Wall was built in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (770BC-221BC) as a fortification by various states. It was not until the Qin dynasty (221BC-206BC) that the walls built by different states were connected to create the Great Wall.

In September 2004, an aerial survey plan was put forward to study the Ming Wall. Apart from measuring its length and determining its exact longitude and latitude, the plan was set to include studies of archaeology, greenery, environmental protection and land use of the Great Wall.

Mr Zhang did not reveal why the earlier project was shelved by the State Bureau of Cultural Relics.