The only man-made construction visible from space!
Contains the bodies of one million men!
Has enough material to wrap around the Earth 15 times!
Sorry folks. This post is not about perpetuating the extraordinary, fantastical myths that have shaped and distorted contemporary images of the Great Wall of China.
No. This is the first in a regular series of posts dedicated to unanswered questions surrounding the Great Wall. The deep questions that Brendan and I ask each other almost every day. Questions like “What in tarnation is that?”
Having no experts in Chinese military history or archaeology close at hand to answer our questions, we thought we’d turn to that renowned source of collective wisdom and bulldust – you, the netizens of the blogosphere. When we have a question for you, please feel free to write in with your guesses, educated or otherwise (keep it clean!). If you have actual expertise or know someone who does, better yet.
Verifiably correct answers win a Walking the Wall fridge magnet!! (See applicable conditions below.*)
The subject of this episode
So, here goes. Unsolved Mysteries of the Great Wall Part One has now begun. See that ball above? What is it?
Whatever it is, it’s damn heavy
Brendan and I walked past this hefty monument a few days ago. It was lying in a ditch opposite the wall, surrounded by leaves. I made to roll it over with my foot but couldn’t even get the thing to budge an inch. So Brendan, probably against medical advice, bent down to pick it up. What won’t he do for a photo?
Rock solid and weighing in at approximately 35-40 kilograms (or a lot heavier than our packs at least, which are about 20), the ball is grey in colour and has a protective outer coating.
A close-up showing the protective outer coating, which has been damaged
Jumping to the most obvious of conclusions, lying as it was next to the wall, we thought it looked awfully like a cannonball, yet from which decade or century we have no idea. Maybe we’ll find out, maybe we won’t. But unless you act, this will remain an Unsolved Mystery of the Great Wall.
*Prizes awarded upon our return to Australia, provided we can find someone to make fridge magnets cheaply.