Findings in Jilin Province Confirm the Existence of 52 Kilometers of the Han Long Wall in Three Locations in Tonghua

Source: New Culture Network – New Culture News; 29 April 2012.

On April 28th, the General Assembly of the Third National Cultural Relics Survey and Long Wall Resources Investigation work met in Siping City in Jilin Province, and in the conference announced the important results gained through the Third National Cultural Relics Survey work conducted in Jilin Province.

In April of 2007, the State Council issued an “Announcement Regarding the Opening of the Third National Cultural Relics Survey.” Lasting five years, cultural relics workers of Jilin Province have successfully completed the work of the Third National Cultural Relics Survey, becoming the first province to pass the evaluation of the state’s specialists.

During this phase of the Cultural Relics Survey work, Jilin Province surveyed and registered 9,017 articles of immovable cultural relics, of which 4,261 were newly discovered, 4,756 were previously known, and 807 have become lost. On 3 June 2011, the “Chinese Cultural Relics Report” presented the new discoveries made by the Third Survey of Jilin Province, among which the Changchun First Automobile Factory site, the Liao “Spring Camp” sites, and the site of the Japanese army’s POW camp in Liaoyuan have been listed among the “One Hundred Major New Discoveries” made by the Third Survey.

The reports state that the field survey work on long wall resources in Jilin Province formally commenced on 27 April 2010. The Provincial Office of Cultural Relics organized the Provincial Institute of Archaeology, and the municipalities of Changchun, Yanbian and Siping into four survey teams to engage in separate field surveys of the Han long wall, the “Old Border” (laobiangang) earthen wall, the Yanbian long wall and the Willow Palisade. This work concluded at the end of October 2010.

Regarding the discoveries in Jilin Province of the Han long wall, the “Old Border” earthen wall, and the Yanbian long wall, the Vice Director of the Provincial Department of Culture and Director of the Bureau of Cultural Relics, Di Liguo, stated that such discoveries are of great significance as they fill in gaps in the chronology and location of our nation’s long wall resources. These three long wall segments have also become representative cultural relics resources following the discovery of sites belonging to Koguryŏ and Parhae.

However, because the long wall resources in Jilin Province are distributed over broad regions and are chronologically very ancient, particularly in that the “Old Border” earthen wall is mostly distributed close to villages or in farming fields and some segments located in villages have come to be utilized as roads, they constantly face the danger of being destroyed, so work for their protection is imminent.

The Provincial Bureau of Cultural Relics has decided to prepare a comprehensive plan for the protection of the long walls within Jilin’s provincial borders. The “Old Border” earthen wall and the Han long wall have already been declared in the seventh registration of National Important Cultural Relics Protection Units, and the Yanbian long wall has been included in the tentative listing in the seventh registration of Provincial-Level Cultural Relics Protection Units.


Locations of the Long Walls in Jilin Province

The Han Long Wall

The Han long wall is distributed within the borders of Tonghua County in Tonghua Municipality. It extends for 52 kilometers and on the west connects with the Han long wall in Liaoning Province, and it forms an integral part of the long wall built during the early and middle Western Han period. The Chibaisong walled town site in Tonghua County is the focus and core of the Han long wall defense system and is also the terminus of the Han long wall. The defense system of this segment of the long wall is composed of two walled town sites and twelve beacon towers.

The Old Border Long Wall

This wall is distributed across five counties in Jilin Province. Beginning in Songhuajiang Village in Songhuajiang Township, Dehui City (on the left bank of the Second Songhua River), it passes through Dehui City, Nongan County, Gongzhuling City, Lihua County, and the Tiexi District of Siping City, then it turns southwestward and extends into Liaoning Province. It is 248 kilometers in length and consists of 64 segments.

According to ancient records and the distribution of collected artifacts, this wall is generally understood to have been first constructed in the late Koguryŏ period. Because it has suffered serious damage, except for a few segments that have survived relatively well, the majority of the wall is poorly preserved. The wall sites are mostly located in plowed fields and look like raised ridges. From the analysis of a small number of profiles, the construction method entailed excavation of a trench and the piling up of the wall using the rammed earth technique to produce a moated defensive wall.

The Yanbian Long Wall

This wall is distributed on the slopes of Changbaishan in Yanbian in the cities of Helong, Longjing, Yanji, Tumen and Hunchun. The wall is mostly constructed of mixed earth and stone, though parts are made of coarse rock and others utilize cliff faces or rivers to form natural barriers. Beacon towers lining the wall are generally built on high peaks and are basically alike in form, being rounded mounds mostly constructed of mixed earth and stone, some being surrounded by ditches. The Yanbian long wall is 114 kilometers in length and consists of 57 segments, 86 beacon towers, 5 pass forts and 3 storage facilities.

The Willow Palisade

This wall is distributed through the Chaoyang, Nanguan and Erdao districts of Changchun City, Jiutai and Shulan cities, the Tiedong District of Siping City, Gongzhuling City, Lishu County and Yitong County. The overall extent runs in a northeastern to southwestern line, and the wall is 291 kilometers in length, consisting of 28 gates, towers and other features.

The Qing government, as part of its policy of restricting access to the Northeast, built the Willow Palisade to mark off the restricted lands. Over 34 years during the Shunzhi and Kangxi reigns, the defensive structure was built extending over 1,300 kilometers. Although viewed as a whole the Willow Palisade lacks the magnificence of the ancient long walls, its structure featuring “linked willow trees” and “ditched walls” is certainly unique in the history of construction in ancient China, and it possesses distinct regional and ethnic characteristics and has been hailed as the “Green Wall of the East.” The Willow Palisade is divided into older and more recent sections. The older section is called the Shengjing (Mukden) border wall, and the more recent the Jilin border wall.

Reporter for New Culture News: Fan Liang


Translated by Mark E. Byington


The original article (in Chinese) is here.