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

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18 Aug 2006, 03:40
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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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Re: CR - Pre-Columbian Artifacts [#permalink]

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18 Aug 2006, 04:21
sumitsarkar82 wrote:
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 ---> obsidian is smooth and suseptible to scratches, therefore should show signs of gridding. But the color wouldnt darken...
(B) A pottery bowl with a red ocher design, found in the ruins of a temple --> the pottery bowl may not scratch so well but the color would darken
(C) A set of gold ear weights, ornamented with jasper pendants ---> gridding and darkening possible
(D) A black feather cape from a kingâ€™s burial vault ---> no gridding, and no darkening
(E) A multicolored woven sash found near the gravesite of a slave
---> no gridding, but darkening possible

Tough one, but between A and D Ill take (D) because how can you scratch and darken an already black feather?

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18 Aug 2006, 05:48
D

no scratch marks can be seen on feather cape.
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18 Aug 2006, 07:30
Agree D
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18 Aug 2006, 11:11
Good question, and great explanations. D seems correct.
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18 Aug 2006, 20:15
A - No Black, Yes - Scratches
B - Yes Black, Yes - Scratches
C - Yes Black, Yes - Scratches
D - No Black, No - Scratches
E - Yes Black, No - Scratches

Hence it is a D
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19 Aug 2006, 14:01
D. Anything in a burial vault is unlikely to be subjected to conditions present in the soil of the america's.
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19 Aug 2006, 18:35
xsports wrote:
D. Anything in a burial vault is unlikely to be subjected to conditions present in the soil of the america's.

That`s assuming that the vault was sealed air tight and never breeched due to earthquakes, soil erosion, grave diggers, etc.
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20 Aug 2006, 23:41
OA is D
20 Aug 2006, 23:41
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