Modern Great Wall of China - Ming Dynasty, 1388 AD - up to 25 feet
high - foundation rectangular stone, upper walls brick (stronger than
tamped earth, lighter to move than stone - local kiln workshops)
World’s largest military structure - 1500 miles east-west across north
China, sea to Central Asia. Connect existing fortifications to make
united defensive system.
top 12 feet wide (soldiers, wagons). Battlement cover for archers. 2-3
beacon fires, flags, drums, cannon) Guard stations, passes. Soldiers’
300,000 soldiers; slaves, prisoners - "every stone cost a human life."
defense against nomadic Mongolian tribes, the Huns
also symbolic, setting Chinese civilization off from barbarian tribes.
Later generations repair, re-build, modify.
Imperfect defense - never
1644 Manchurian warriors break through “The First Pass Under
Heaven,” overthrow Ming Dynasty
1950s Mao encourage locals take bricks for homes, pigpens, factories
2007 desertification sandstorms crack wall, erode into mounds of dirt
Tourist abuse; illegal highway building. Original walls, 50% gone, 30%
in ruins. Beijing originally 391 miles, now 114
China “five metals” - gold, silver, copper, iron, tin
Gold mining, panning
cast iron 4th C BC - pack iron ore into long crucibles, surround by
100 BC, emperor nationalized iron-making, state monopoly, employ