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Were Civilian Workers Buried under the Great Wall

For thousand years, there have been some gossips revolving around the construction of the Great Wall. One of the most popular is about the legendary burial of the civilian workers. This legend enjoys quite a popularity in folk culture, but according to investigation concerning the construction of the Great Wall, it has not been officially confirmed yet that the civilian workers were buried alive under the Great Wall.

Great Wall in China

Logically speaking, the Chinese has long held much respect for the deceased according to the moral philosophy dominating Chinese culture. In ancient China, the Chinese went backwards ensuring the deceased rest in peace and various burial ceremonies were involved. Until today, this long-lasting old tradition has been well preserved in China. In the middle of the burial ceremony, there are burial music, dining and drinking as well as moaning involved to enrich the ceremony, quite like a Chinese wedding in some certain way, and in the end put the deceased rest in peace with dignity. In ancient China, there used to be a prevailing tradition: when the parents of the high-rank officials were dead, they would be granted three-year memorial break by the emperor to better show their respect for their parents. If this is all true, there is just no way that the civilian workers would be cold-bloodily buried alive under the Great Wall in such a country which holds much death-priority over other affairs. Even back in Qin and Han dynasties and under special circumstances, the dead soldiers got carefully wrapped up in horse hide and carried back to their hometown.

Now let us unveil the burial-legend from another point of view. The Great Wall was built in defense of the Mongolian invaders in the first place, so the harder it was built, the better. However, if the bodies were buried under the Great Wall, the solidity of the Great Wall could not be guaranteed, so it is pretty thin to say the workers were buried under the Great Wall. Moreover, the legend got prevailed partly due to the hatred of the scholars toward the First Qin Emperor who buried lots of scholars and burned lots of classic books after he united the whole country. Naturally, the descendent scholars all held the emperor in detest and went backwards trying to blacken his name whenever they got a chance and the construction of the Great Wall seemed just to fit in!