Mapping the medieval wall system of china and mongolia: A multi-method approach

Michael Storozum*, Dan Golan, Ido Wachtel, Zhidong Zhang, Johannes S. Lotze, Gideon Shelach-Lavi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Medieval Wall System of China and Mongolia is one of the longest wall systems in the world, but its specific chronology, function, and purpose remain ambiguous. Constructed at various points throughout the 10th to 13th centuries CE, this network of walls, forts, and enclosures covers an estimated 4000 km and spans a wide range of ecozones, from the deserts of western China to the steppes of northern Mongolia and the Khingan mountain range. In this article we used historical atlases, topographic maps, and an array of different kinds of data derived from satellite remote sensing, to produce one of the first accurate maps of the Medieval Wall System. Through this large-scale mapping program, we are now able to evaluate previous work that estimates the length of the wall system and different areas of construction. By measuring the structures associated with the wall and the length of the wall itself, we identified at least three different areas of construction along the Medieval Wall System. Future studies may be able to use similar tools to develop more accurate maps of other wall systems throughout Eurasia to further advance the comparative study of ancient wall systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number997
JournalLand
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (“The Wall” project, grant agreement No 882894).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Ancient wall systems
  • Great Wall of China and Mongolia
  • Jin dynasty
  • Liao dynasty
  • Remote sensing

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