Less-Great Fragment of Great Wall of China Discovered in Mongolia

It turns out you can stumble upon Great Walls of China any old place.

The Telegraph reports that a British explorer has discovered what is believed to be the first section of the Great Wall to exist outside of China.

This section of the wall is sixty-two miles long, mostly shin-level (though some areas are reportedly shoulder-height) and composed of a mash of earth and shrubs. An image available on the Telegraph website confirms that a shin-level wall made of dirt looks about as impressive as it sounds.

It's also historically significant; the last recorded reference to this section of the Great Wall was made in a 12th century atlas of Genghis Khan's battles, meaning that it has been "lost" for almost one thousand years.

British explorer William Lindesay had been poring over the territory in search of the wall since the 1990s, but was unable to locate it until Professor Baasan Tudevin, a retired Mongolian geographer who will no doubt prove the inspiration for countless Wes Anderson characters, stepped in.

Here's how Lindesay described their meeting to the Telegraph:

"The problem was that we could not find him. Eventually, as a last resort, we put a notice in the newspaper. And a couple of hours later, he turned up, wearing all the medals he had been awarded for his work. He told us there were various structures in the desert, and we could look for them using Google Earth."

While Lindesay believes the structure's earliest foundations may have been constructed as far back as 120 B.C., carbon dating suggests that the recently discovered remnants were cut from wood around the 11th or 12th centuries.

The wall is thought to have been erected either by Genghis Khan's son, to stop gazelles from migrating into China, which sounds beautiful and fanciful and serene, or by the Western Xia dynasty to keep Khan's obliterating armies out, which sounds decidedly less so.

[Image via AP]