Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian : GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR)
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# Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian

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VP
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Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian [#permalink]

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19 Apr 2005, 21:45
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Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts is never easy. Carbon-14 dating of these artifacts is often impossible due to contamination by radioactive palladium (which occurs naturally in the soils of Central and South America). However, historians and anthropologists have evolved two reliable criteria, which, utilized in combination, have proven effective for dating these artifacts. First, because authentic pre-Columbian artifacts characteristically occur in a coarse, granular matrix that is shifted by major earthquakes, they often exhibit the unique scratch patterns known as gridding. In addition, true pre-Columbian artifacts show a darkening in surface color that is caused by centuries of exposure to the minute amounts of magnesium in the soil of the Americas.

The criteria above would be LEAST useful in judging the authenticity of which of the following?

(A) An ax head of black obsidian, unearthed from a kitchen midden
(B) A pottery bowl with a red ocher design, found in the ruins of a temple
(C) A set of gold ear weights, ornamented with jasper pendants
(D) A black feather cape from a kingâ€™s burial vault
(E) A multicolored woven sash found near the gravesite of a slave
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19 Apr 2005, 23:18
shoudl be D

black feather cape - no chances of scratching, niether can I figure out if there was any darkening due to magnesium
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20 Apr 2005, 05:12
forrestgump wrote:
shoudl be D

black feather cape - no chances of scratching, niether can I figure out if there was any darkening due to magnesium

How about choice A? it's also black.
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20 Apr 2005, 05:44
One more for 'D'

In choice 'A' - gridding is possible.
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20 Apr 2005, 05:47
Quote:
chunjuwu Posted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 5:12 am Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

forrestgump wrote:
shoudl be D

black feather cape - no chances of scratching, niether can I figure out if there was any darkening due to magnesium

How about choice A? it's also black.

chunjuwu - in A - scratching looks possible...
you might want to choose where niether of the conditions apply - hence D.
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20 Apr 2005, 06:05
"D".....no gridding possible and original black color.
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20 Apr 2005, 19:31
We're told authentic pre-columbian artfacts:
- exhibit gridding patterns due to their occurence in a coase granular matrix
- show a darkening in surface color due to exposure to magnesium in soil

(A) An ax head of black obsidian, unearthed from a kitchen midden
- Would be able to tell the authencity from the gridding marks, although the darkening effect might not be so obvious due to the color of the axe head.

(B) A pottery bowl with a red ocher design, found in the ruins of a temple
- Will have both gridding and darkened surface color

(C) A set of gold ear weights, ornamented with jasper pendants
- Will have both gridding and darkened surface color

(D) A black feather cape from a kingâ€™s burial vault
- Will not have gridding effects since it's not exposed to magnesium in soil, and will not show a darkening effect since the feather is black.

(E) A multicolored woven sash found near the gravesite of a slave
- Will have both gridding and darkened surface color

20 Apr 2005, 19:31
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