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  • Ningxia riddle

    Hi Michael,

    Originally posted by Yemenmike
    Yes Chinook, I do need an explanation as to the "Ningxia Riddle", , If you can give me the background and requirements, I can see what i can do for you, when I am in Yinchuan next.
    Ok.
    Ningxia is _very_ well protected by GW. As you can see on our map (and on about every GW map at all) the Ningixa Wall forms "shoulders", from the west it guards over the Yellow River, building an absolutely safe border. It is hard to imagine that attackers could both cross the river sucessfully and surmount the wall. On the east shoulder we find about the highest walls and with very high towers every 300m, the wall being a double wall here.
    The western flank of north Ninxia is well protected by the Helan Mountains, which are apparently impassable for an attacker, especially on horesbacks. The rare passes through the mountains are guarded by (very short) effective Wall sections. Member Kim has visisted one of them and as we can see this are no real dangers to the safeness of Ningxia.
    What is the riddle? The north of Ningxia is right on a "highway" from Mongolia, an attacker just has to follow the Yellow River, even on both sides. So far we did not find any protective installation. The very narrow north, where the Helan Mountains meet the River there are some indications of Walls (can be seen on our map), but nothing compared to the rest of the Ningxia walls (wich are about the highest and best preserved walls of the entire GW). It is absolutely unthinkable that there had not been anything. Where have the forts/fortresses been? Wich was the main defense line (ore where there many)? Yinchuan itself had been one of the "Nine border garrisons of the Ming".
    We have found GW maps which show these lines but we could not identify them on GE. Some maps (even in good books!) show wall on the Helan Mountain ridge what I personally don't believe.
    The fortification of the Ordos had been built with such a high effort, nothing compared to that in the north of Ningxia.
    Furthermore Ningxia has been a major invasion point where 1226/1267 AD the Mongols invaded and eradicated the Xixia empire (and killed about all of the Ningxia inhabitants). From there they conquered whole China and established the Yuan Dynasty. The strategic importance of Ningxia is evident. The impact of the Mongol invasion was the reason the Ming guys built walls with such a high effort we today see in the best preserved, highest and strongest walls (the Beijing walls!).
    Even on the east bank of the Yellow River we did not find any fortification at all. Where did it go? We see walls at the Yellow River bank in areas which are about impossible to reach by horsemen and we do not see _anything_ here, were the Yellow River bank is absolutely flat and easy accessable from the Ordos.

    Our map there still contains many wrong or even unclear findings, only some beacon towers will prove to be "real" findings. The walls found by us are either something else than GW or at least absolutely insufficient for the protection of this important weak point.

    It is possible that there is information in local museums, it is _very_ probable that in Ningxia there are people who know the solution of this issue.
    I myself have spent nights by searching for the defense lines on GE. In such intensively used farmland it is very hard for a wall to survive but there _must_ be still some indications left. We hope you can help us to find them.


    -chinoook
    Last edited by chinoook; 02-20-2009, 08:33 AM.
    chinoook's 1st law: Structurally weak walls tend to have double structures.
    chinoook's 2nd law: Newer walls are built next older walls, not over them.
    chinoook's 3rd law: Similar problems lead to similar solutions.

    The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people, who have not viewed the world. (Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German naturalist and explorer)

  • #2
    You can see my pictures on Google Earth here:

    39

    Comment


    • #3
      "Ningxia Riddle"

      Hi Chinook.

      Thanks for the detailed information re the missing sections of the GW.

      Now I may be repeating something you have already considered - here goes.

      I have been looking carefully at the path of the Yellow River and come to the following thoughts.

      The plain over which the river flows over is relatively flat - looking at the contours and elevation detail on GE.
      There are numerous shadows of past lakes, old river beds and sedimentation deposits all along the banks of the river. Again these shadows can be clearly seen on GE.
      The floodplain in some places is as much as 10 to 15km wide.
      I have also looked at some of the many photographs of the area, which show how flat and wide the river plain is.
      Now I have come to the conclusion, that we need to look at the ancient path of the Yellow river, through the centuries. The river is well known throughout history for changing it's course and is responsible for the deaths of many thousands of people who live on it's banks.
      This is partly due to the vast amount of sediment it washes down from the surrounding area (hence the name Yellow river).

      It is within the bounds of possibility that

      a - the original mud, hard packed and adobe walls have been completely eroded away by the rivers natural flooding and course changes.

      b - the path of the river has altered so much that the supposition that the wall was used in conjunction with the river as a defence line, is true, but the actual wall remains are now far away from the original course of the river as it is now.

      Surely, when the rebuilding of the wall was done during the Ming era, the importance of the gate to and through Ningxia, would have been included in the defence plans.

      Obviously when I get up into the area, I can see the river course changes at first hand. But maybe just a thought to consider.

      I have looked at the main GW files and am very impressed at the sheer volume of work and attention to detail (it could also be described as a work of love ( ) - ( ).

      Take care

      regards

      Michael

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi , Chinoook
        Here is the way i develope my GW&fortresses map in Chinese:
        Base the GW path you three guys made , i verify it by means of reading the book in 1987 named "On-site investigating report of Ming GW " , and using BaiDu electronic map to find all locations book mentioned . You might use same way with your Chinese partner help to solving Ningxia riddle .
        I would like to join solving Ningxia riddle as long as it does not affect the developing progress of my GW map in Chinese.

        Book link : http://www.meet-greatwall.org/zhuanzhu/wen/mcck.htm
        Baidu map link : http://map.baidu.com/#

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by andarchen View Post
          Hi , Chinoook
          Here is the way i develope my GW&fortresses map in Chinese:
          Base the GW path you three guys made , i verify it by means of reading the book in 1987 named "On-site investigating report of Ming GW " , and using BaiDu electronic map to find all locations book mentioned . You might use same way with your Chinese partner help to solving Ningxia riddle .
          I would like to join solving Ningxia riddle as long as it does not affect the developing progress of my GW map in Chinese.

          Book link : http://www.meet-greatwall.org/zhuanzhu/wen/mcck.htm
          Baidu map link : http://map.baidu.com/#
          How about our friends at the Chinese Great Wall forum, maybe they have some detailed information regarding the Ningxia area?

          Comment


          • #6
            On-site investigating report of Ming Grea Wall

            Originally posted by andarchen View Post
            Hi , Chinoook
            Here is the way i develope my GW&fortresses map in Chinese:
            Base the GW path you three guys made , i verify it by means of reading the book in 1987 named "On-site investigating report of Ming GW " , and using BaiDu electronic map to find all locations book mentioned . You might use same way with your Chinese partner help to solving Ningxia riddle .
            I would like to join solving Ningxia riddle as long as it does not affect the developing progress of my GW map in Chinese.

            Book link : http://www.meet-greatwall.org/zhuanzhu/wen/mcck.htm
            Baidu map link : http://map.baidu.com/#
            Thank you for the book information and link. It sounds very interesting! Does the book contain maps and/or GPS coordinates?
            Bryan

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kim View Post
              How about our friends at the Chinese Great Wall forum, maybe they have some detailed information regarding the Ningxia area?
              As my observation ,GW fans in Chinese GW forum aren't used to discuss GW using GE , discussing publicly about looking somewhere of using GE is still sensitive in China .
              As for the last question you asked about Heliukou GW , because of your question belongs to "why" rather than "where" ,so i submitted it to Chinese GW forum with GE image.
              Anyway , to use the book and BaiDu i mentioned is the most efficient way to find GW .
              Last edited by andarchen; 02-21-2009, 03:42 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by greatwallforum View Post
                Thank you for the book information and link. It sounds very interesting! Does the book contain maps and/or GPS coordinates?
                You are welcome , i just knew this book's link , and its link in web showed text only .

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Michael,

                  it is fun to see you are getting into these discussions, which at the end will improve our all understanding of both, GW and the landscape.

                  Originally posted by Yemenmike View Post

                  I have been looking carefully at the path of the Yellow River and come to the following thoughts.

                  The plain over which the river flows over is relatively flat - looking at the contours and elevation detail on GE.
                  There are numerous shadows of past lakes, old river beds and sedimentation deposits all along the banks of the river. Again these shadows can be clearly seen on GE.
                  The floodplain in some places is as much as 10 to 15km wide.
                  I have also looked at some of the many photographs of the area, which show how flat and wide the river plain is.
                  Now I have come to the conclusion, that we need to look at the ancient path of the Yellow river, through the centuries. The river is well known throughout history for changing it's course and is responsible for the deaths of many thousands of people who live on it's banks.
                  Your are right about the frequent changing of the rivers's course. But you are wrong assuming that happened in Ningxia or Inner Mongolia. The course changes you are referring to happened after the Yellow River left the Loess Plateau. The vanishing of the clay/adobe walls is mainly due to wind and weather erosion, helped also by farmers who used the materials or just ploughed the remnants down. The still visible Wall section Kim mentioned above is a good example. It vanishes somewhere in the fields with no more indication at all. The "floodplain" today (and very probably in Ming times also) is irrigated land of intensive agriculture. Of course the plain has been formed by the river and of course there had been different courses but I do not believe this happened in historic times.

                  [qoute]This is partly due to the vast amount of sediment it washes down from the surrounding area (hence the name Yellow river).
                  [/quote]

                  I read that the Yellow River was called different in historic times and there are strong indications that the erosion of the Loess Plateau began in Ming times, becoming severe in Qing Dynasty (as a consequence of the Qing population explosion).

                  It is within the bounds of possibility that

                  a - the original mud, hard packed and adobe walls have been completely eroded away by the rivers natural flooding and course changes.
                  I negate flooding erosion did destroy the wall here. For example look at the east bank ( 38
                  chinoook's 1st law: Structurally weak walls tend to have double structures.
                  chinoook's 2nd law: Newer walls are built next older walls, not over them.
                  chinoook's 3rd law: Similar problems lead to similar solutions.

                  The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people, who have not viewed the world. (Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German naturalist and explorer)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by andarchen View Post
                    Hi , Chinoook
                    Here is the way i develope my GW&fortresses map in Chinese:
                    Base the GW path you three guys made , i verify it by means of reading the book in 1987 named "On-site investigating report of Ming GW " , and using BaiDu electronic map to find all locations book mentioned . You might use same way with your Chinese partner help to solving Ningxia riddle .
                    I would like to join solving Ningxia riddle as long as it does not affect the developing progress of my GW map in Chinese.

                    Book link : http://www.meet-greatwall.org/zhuanzhu/wen/mcck.htm
                    Baidu map link : http://map.baidu.com/#
                    Does it have any relation to this book?

                    http://www.meet-greatwall.org/zhuanz...n/Contents.htm

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi, chinoook

                      I spent half day to read GW path description on north of Nigxia(http://www.51766.com/xinwen/11000/1100046650.html), i used Baidu electronic map to
                      locate all places mentioned in descipition as attached kmz file, and draw following picture to indicate places in seguence which GW could pass ,
                      There are two GW pathes at north of Nigxia , white line was built on year 1455 around , and yellow line was built in 1531.white line northward along right bank of yellow river (blue line),then cross yellow river , pass north of Ningxia then enter Helan moutain .Yellow line start from westbank of yellow river and end at beneath Helan moutain .There are four fortresses between two lines , i found two only .
                      I saw you had found some of path within two lines , it is real difficult for me to find the rest path you can't find , all i can do is to share this information ,and hope it is useful for your further finding .

                      The kmz file is attached.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kim View Post
                        Does it have any relation to this book?

                        http://www.meet-greatwall.org/zhuanz...n/Contents.htm
                        No related at all , but your link is good reference too .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          andarchen,

                          thx a lot for your work, it is invaluable. I think we understand the "Ningxia Problem" by now.
                          There will not be much left, but together with our rare findings and your clearification there is a consistent picture.

                          I still wonder how the river bank had been fortified. At other places, where the river is _much_ more difficult to cross and the banks are _much_ more difficult to scale there is a solid wall. Nothing seems to be left in Ningxia, maybe due to flooding, maybe due to ploughing, maybe due to manual destruction but most probable due to the transmutation to flood protecting walls.


                          -chinoook
                          Last edited by chinoook; 02-23-2009, 03:55 PM.
                          chinoook's 1st law: Structurally weak walls tend to have double structures.
                          chinoook's 2nd law: Newer walls are built next older walls, not over them.
                          chinoook's 3rd law: Similar problems lead to similar solutions.

                          The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people, who have not viewed the world. (Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German naturalist and explorer)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by chinoook View Post
                            andarchen,

                            thx a lot for your work, it is invaluable. I think we understand the "Ningxia Problem" by now.
                            There will not be much left, but together with our rare findings and your clearification there is a consistent picture.

                            I still wonder how the river bank had been fortified. At other places, where the river is _much_ more difficult to cross and the banks are _much_ more difficult to scale there is a solid wall. Nothing seems to be left in Ningxia, maybe due to flooding, maybe due to ploughing, maybe due to manual destruction but most probable due to the transmutation to flood protecting walls.


                            -chinoook
                            The more invaluable thing is you had done great job to find out the rare left GW in north of Ningxia .
                            Although Ningxia had been fortified by Ming ,nevertheless Ming dynasty was
                            ultimately defeated by the enemy from northeast of China ,defense chief in
                            Shanhaiguan open the gate to let heavy army of Jin tribe enter .then Qing dynasty was set up .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Ningxia riddle

                              Here follow some findings from the walk I did a few days ago along what the Forum has found of Great Wall in Northern Ningxia.

                              I came walking from the South, and was a bit too far East compaired to the most Western point of the suspected Great Wall. The reason for this was that I followed a few, but very long, irrigation channels when walking Northwards. This made for easier walking with a little softer surface, no cars and lorries and shade now and again.

                              I hit the suspected GW at 38 59 834/106 25 971, and followed the line Northeastwards. I was dissapointed in the beginning as I saw no signs of the GW. The area was agricultural, and some spots seemed to have been converted to agriculture fairly newly. I walked past several suspected beacon towers, without seeing any positive signs that they were there. When I got to the outskirts of a very small village at 39 00 852/106 24 760 I suddenly saw a great GW just behind some buildings. It was at least five metres high.

                              Asking the inhabitants of the houses, they confirmed that it was the Ming Dynasty GW. They told me it continued for a while to the NW.

                              I had to backtrack a little as there was a small water channel so that I thought I couldn't follow the GW closely going NW. It continued to 39 01 093/106 24 544 only torn down because of a pump station for pumping water to an elevated irrigation channel going to the NE.

                              The wall was well presverved. At the end point, I got to a river bed that was about a hundre metres wide. On the other side, there was an orchard with low and dense trees growing. I saw no sign og the GW continuing there. And to be honest I was pretty exhausted as it was getting very hot. I backtracked through the very small village to get som more water.

                              When I got to the outskirts of the small village again, I followed a path slightly further S. (About 50 to 100 metres) The reason for this was that I had noticed a slight mismatch between the beacon tower points I had noted on the GPS, and the actual findings.

                              Walking SE I now had a road and irrigation channel to the left (North), and the rail road to the right. I found now positive signs of beacon towers here, and suspect they may have been torn down when the fields were prepared. I saw some markings in the ground that could have looked like remains of a fortress, but on closer expection they were provasoric irrigation channels.

                              Then i got to the next small village, and asked for the Mind Dynasty GW. The guy I asked nodded, and pointed me on the way I was walking. On the other side of this second smal village, there was more evidence of the GW, but not as well preserved as the first place. From 38 59 710/106 26 198 there was GW heading ESE as projected by the forum. After leaving the second small village it became more prominent in the landscape. I walked into desert with a lot of scrubs growing on the ground, and also on the GW camoflaging it. The beacon towers where exactly where they were projected. Nice work guys!! ;-)

                              The only problem with the walking was that there were irrigation channels that were just a bit too wide to cross. So I had to make some detours. A lot of the time I was walking on the GW which was fun. I followed the GW till 38 58 984/106 28 275 and then had to detour to walk over a bridge that I thought went over a river. Later I saw it only crossed the railway line, so there was not real need to take the bridge. When I got to 38 58 661 / 106 29 354 I called it a day, and marked the end point of the day. I will return tomorrow, and follow it the last 3 km before heading Southwards.

                              Thank you very much for the information guys! I will make some pictures now, and send them with this post. Sorry for the delayed report (Andreas ;-)

                              Picture comments

                              China_02682_100809.jpg - First sighting of the GW at 39 00 852/106 24 760

                              Pics from hereon are going to the NW.

                              China_02683_100809.jpg - A little further to the NW of the previous picture taken from the South

                              China_02684_100809.jpg - And a little further

                              China_02686_100809.jpg - These dogs where sleeping a second before. The one to the left was trying to attack big time...

                              China_02688_100809.jpg - Had to walk on the Northern side because of the dogs. From this side the GW was 2 metres higher, and I estimate 6-8 metres at places. You can see my walking stick in the foreground.

                              China_02690_100809.jpg - Beacon tower

                              China_02692_100809.jpg - Can just make our a 30 cm high line that followed the line of the GW

                              Pics from hereon are to the SE of the first picture

                              China_02695_100809.jpg - A dirtroad and slightly elevated irrigation channel to the left (North) At first I thought the Southern bank of the irrigation channel could have been the GW, but found no sound evidence of this. And it didn't line up well enough with the GW I had spotted either.

                              China_02697_100809.jpg - This might have been a beacon tower, but it didn't look too convincing. I think unfortunately that they are gone in this area.

                              China_02703_100809.jpg
                              China_02704_100809.jpg

                              China_02707_100809.jpg - The GW left the populated area. Scrubs and irrigation channels.

                              China_02708_100809.jpg - Probably a beacon tower

                              China_02710_100809.jpg - Soft earth at the sides, and just that little bit too wide...

                              China_02712_100809.jpg - Another Beacon tower along the GW

                              China_02713_100809.jpg
                              Robert -

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