Principle & Method of Great Wall Construction

Chinese ancient laboring people were very creative when built the Great Wall. During the construction of this arduous historical task, they followed the principle of designing with local conditions and using local materials. And for over 2,000 years of building the wall, this principle was always being abided by, reflecting the traditional Chinese thought of geographical advantage preference. The Great Wall was built approximately in the belt areas along Daxinganling Mountain, Yanshan Mountain, Yinshan Mountain, Helan Mountain, Minshan Mountain and Hengduan Mountain. Out of the consideration of military strategy and the concern of saving labors and materials, the ancient workers built the Great Wall in the places of great strategic value and at the same time made the best use of the mountains and rivers as natural defense.

Most parts of the Great Wall were built along the mountain ridge, for the sheer mountain ridge could add more defensive value to the wall. Besides, the outer side of the wall is lofty and impassable while the inner side is comparatively flat and easy of access, and this is because the outer side was for keeping enemies out and the inner side was for soldiers' enter and exit. When the wall reached the most danger-ridden cliffs, the builders would stop building the wall and take the cliffs as a natural barrier. This design can be found in many sections such as Simatai Great Wall and it is called by experts "the mountain-supported wall".

Principle & Method of Great Wall Construction Principle & Method of Great Wall Construction

Using local materials is another important principle when building the Great Wall. The principle was also adopted in construction methods and manufacture of weapons besides collecting the construction materials. The sites of brick kilns, lime kilns and stone pits discovered recently well illustrate this fact.

The Great Wall is mostly built in the high mountains and deep valleys, where the transportation of construction materials is rather difficult. How the ancient people solved this problem? According to historical records and legend, there are three ways. First and the chief of all, is manpower. The large amount of stones, earth, bricks, pieces of wood and lime were frequently carried by labors on their shoulders or backs. In difficult terrain, people would queue up to pass the construction materials to construction site. In winter, they splashed water to the ground and after an icy road was formed, they pushed or pulled the huge building stones to the terminal.

Second, some simple machinery was put into use. The workers used rolling logs, crowbars and winding gears to carry the building materials to the mountains. In valleys, they put the stones into baskets, tied the baskets to the rope and set it down along the rope to the opposite valleys, which greatly reduced manpower.

Third, animals were driven to difficult places. The animals which are good at climbing mountains like goats and donkeys weighted down with bricks, stones and other building materials were chased into the steep mountains, which largely saved the transportation time and the cost of labor force.

Principle & Method of Great Wall Construction Principle & Method of Great Wall Construction

Chinese ancient builders used their wisdom and iron perseverance to finish this fabulous project. This unparalleled national treasure, which was born under an exceedingly primitive and backward condition and grew longer and longer at a significant cost of labors and countless lives, fully shows the great spirit of self-sacrifice and innovative creativity of Chinese ancient laboring people

Virtual Field Trip: The Great Wall of China

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