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Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian [#permalink]
10 Mar 2010, 07:37
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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 king’s burial vault (E) A multicolored woven sash found near the gravesite of a slave
Why the answer cannot be (E). Please provide explanation for other options also. I want to understand if I was applying the right logic in eliminating options.
Re: CR - Authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts [#permalink]
10 Mar 2010, 10:46
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I have eliminated A,B,C because all of them are either metal or pottery. Now between D and E, both are cloth and seems to be answers.
But when I reread the passage "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", it says that the cloth should be exposed to the soil. This is the point.
So D is the answer. Because black feather cape inside the burial vault would have no exposure the the soil. And so this method is not effective in Determining the authenticity.
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