In a discovery that has baffled Chinese archaeologists, more than 200 ancient fortresses have been found in a mountainous region in the northern part of the country.
The fortresses were discovered in the Qinling mountains in Shaanxi province during the recent third national cultural relics survey, the People's Daily reported.
Li Guang, chief of the county cultural relic management institute, said the fortresses are scattered across mountain tops or tucked in hidden places.
While small fortresses could only hold a few people, more than four large sites were found that could each hold between 400 and 500 people, he said.
According to available records, most of the forts were built at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and in the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to protect the wealthy from farmer uprisings.
"Local celebrities and rich people led the construction of the fortresses, which have the mountains as the base and stones as their walls," he said.
"The forts were easy to guard because three sides of every fortress are on steep slopes, while one side connects the mountain peak."