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# Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone

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Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 28 Sep 2019, 23:07
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Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone caves in Sarawak, Malaysia have found a surprising collection of 51 paintings estimated to be 6,000 to 12,000 years old. The paintings are unusual in their medium, manner of display, and subject matter. These are not simply wall or ceiling paintings. Stones—some as small as notebooks, some as large as doors—have been chipped and otherwise shaped to form rough canvases on which are painted individual works. Some of the pieces are stacked, while others are arranged upright in an overlapping pattern so that one can “flip through” the smaller pieces in the collection with relative ease. Hunters, warriors, and hunted animals, the typical subjects of cave art, are largely absent from these works. Instead, domestic scenes are represented, including food preparations, family meals, and recreational activities.

Though no tools have been found in the area, the fineness of the lines suggests the use of sophisticated animal-hair brushes. Gypsum, manganese, malachite, and other minerals were painstakingly ground and mixed with binding materials such as vegetable and animal oils to form the paints. In some cases, the artist or artists (Dr. Linus Mendoza of the International Speleologist Association has studied the paintings and believes that stylistic similarities and differences point to the work of three artists) have removed the patina surrounding the intended figures, producing a negative image. One probable reason for the high level of artistry is that the paintings may have been produced in the open air, where the light was good, and then brought into the cave.

However, it is the purpose of the paintings that is the most curious. Conventional wisdom holds that the hunting scenes found in cave art were meant to provide supernatural aid during actual hunts, or that figures and designs were painted by prehistoric shamans as a way of drawing power from the cave itself. It may also be that the scenes of domestic life are, like representations of hunting, meant to ensure good luck. Though facial features are rarely distinct, the paintings do suggest contentedness, or at least an absence of conflict. Most tantalizingly, it may be that the collection represents a sort of family tree. A number of the paintings appear to feature some of the same people, and it is tempting to think of these works as family portraits. Indeed, one figure, seen as a child with a mark on its forehead—the stone has actually been chipped away to represent the mark—is shown in other paintings as a young person and as an adult with the same mark.

1. Which of the following is mentioned in the passage as an unusual feature of the stone paintings?

A. The high level of artistry
B. The age of the paintings
C. The range in the size of the figures in the painting
D. The lack of distinct facial features
E. The overlapping presentation of the pieces

2. The author of the passage is especially interested in

A. the possibility that the paintings trace the lineage of a family
B. the manner in which the paints were made
C. the stylistic differences exhibited in the paintings
D. the location of the caves in which the stone paintings were discovered
E. the method by which negative images were created

3. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. present an overview of stone paintings and show how they differ from most cave paintings
B. offer evidence that the stone paintings found in Sarawak most likely represent a family tree
C. detail some of the reasons that the discovery of the stone paintings is of considerable interest
D. persuade the reader of the great skill that went into the creation of the stone paintings
E. discuss the reasons that prehistoric people created cave art and stone art

4. Which of the following, if true, would most undermine a possibility mentioned by the author of the passage?

A. The use of brushes made from animal hair did not become a common practice until about 6,000 years ago.
B. Stones found in a nearby cave have been painted exclusively with animal figures.
C. A chemical analysis shows that some of the paintings contain no gypsum, manganese, or malachite.
D. To show that someone had died at the approximate age shown in a painting, the artists who created the stone paintings made a mark on the head of the figure by chipping the stone.
E. Carbon-dating reveals that the stone paintings were created over a period of 200 years.

5. The author uses the highlighted portion (Dr. Linus Mendoza of the International Speleologist Association has studied the paintings and believes that stylistic similarities and differences point to the work of three artists) in parentheses to:

(A) support the notion that the paintings were drawn using animal-hair brushes
(B) further explain how the artist or artist were able to remove patina to produce a negative image
(C) provide evidence supporting one of two possibilities regarding the origin of the paintings
(D) present expert support for the belief that the paintings could have been produced by one or more artists
(E) contradict a common notion regarding the artists who produced the collection of paintings.

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Originally posted by Gnpth on 31 Mar 2015, 09:48.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 28 Sep 2019, 23:07, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (730).
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Re: Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone  [#permalink]

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02 Apr 2015, 00:05
Hi everyone
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Re: Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone  [#permalink]

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02 Apr 2015, 23:12
2
dpo28 wrote:
Hi everyone

Hi dpo28, I will try that.

Q4 asks to identify a situation which will negate the possibility mentioned by author in the passage. Now lets take each option individually and try to decipher:

A. The use of brushes made from animal hair did not become a common practice until about 6,000 years ago.
-> The use of brush became a common practice only 6000 years ago but it could have been used by a few "uncommon" artists before that, and hence, this does not undermines or negates author's point convincingly. Hence this is incorrect option.

B. Stones found in a nearby cave have been painted exclusively with animal figures.
-> The paintings found in a nearby cave does not negate the possibility that the ones found in the cave of importance in the passage are not unusual. The line "Hunters, warriors, and hunted animals, the typical subjects of cave art, are largely absent from these works" states "largely" which gives a room for "some" of the paintings to have animal figures as well. This as well is a incorrect option.

C. A chemical analysis shows that some of the paintings contain no gypsum, manganese, or malachite.
-> Again use of "some" in this option leaves a gap for possibility of use of above metals in the paint of some of the "other" paintings. Conclusion, this is a incorrect option.

D. To show that someone had died at the approximate age shown in a painting, the artists who created the stone paintings made a mark on the head of the figure by chipping the stone.
-> Now, if we consider this to be true, please note the option doesn't have any speculative or approximate word, likes of "some", "most", "largely" or any other been used in previous options. If this statement is considered to be true (read absolute truth because of no approximate or speculative word), the possibility of paintings depicting family trees becomes questionable because the mark which was considered to identify a individual in childhood and adulthood can not be so. Instead, it depicts the child died at that approximate age and hence can not be painted for his/her adulthood and so the reasoning is flawed that paintings represent family tree. Hence this is a correct answer.

E. Carbon-dating reveals that the stone paintings were created over a period of 200 years.
-> This option states a period over which the paintings were created, but doesn't provide the age of the paintings. It could be 5500-5700 or it could be 6200-6400 years ago and hence the possibility of the paintings ageing more than 6000 years can not be neglected straight away. This is incorrect option as well.
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Re: Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone  [#permalink]

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28 Sep 2015, 12:07
I chose C for qn 1 and A for qn3.
can someone explain why they are wrong?
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Re: Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone  [#permalink]

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19 Oct 2015, 00:31
Nevernevergiveup wrote:
I chose C for qn 1 and A for qn3.
can someone explain why they are wrong?

I am not expert,but still I think it should be option D for Q1, since "Though facial features are rarely distinct..."
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Re: Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone  [#permalink]

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28 Nov 2017, 06:11
3
Gnpth wrote:

Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone caves in Sarawak, Malaysia have found a surprising collection of 51 paintings estimated to be 6,000 to 12,000 years old. The paintings are unusual in their medium, manner of display, and subject matter. These are not simply wall or ceiling paintings. Stones—some as small as notebooks, some as large as doors—have been chipped and otherwise shaped to form rough canvases on which are painted individual works. Some of the pieces are stacked, while others are arranged upright in an overlapping pattern so that one can “flip through” the smaller pieces in the collection with relative ease. Hunters, warriors, and hunted animals, the typical subjects of cave art, are largely absent from these works. Instead, domestic scenes are represented, including food preparations, family meals, and recreational activities.

Though no tools have been found in the area, the fineness of the lines suggests the use of sophisticated animal-hair brushes. Gypsum, manganese, malachite, and other minerals were painstakingly ground and mixed with binding materials such as vegetable and animal oils to form the paints. In some cases, the artist or artists (Dr. Linus Mendoza of the International Speleologist Association has studied the paintings and believes that stylistic similarities and differences point to the work of three artists) have removed the patina surrounding the intended figures, producing a negative image. One probable reason for the high level of artistry is that the paintings may have been produced in the open air, where the light was good, and then brought into the cave.

However, it is the purpose of the paintings that is the most curious. Conventional wisdom holds that the hunting scenes found in cave art were meant to provide supernatural aid during actual hunts, or that figures and designs were painted by prehistoric shamans as a way of drawing power from the cave itself. It may also be that the scenes of domestic life are, like representations of hunting, meant to ensure good luck. Though facial features are rarely distinct, the paintings do suggest contentedness, or at least an absence of conflict. Most tantalizingly, it may be that the collection represents a sort of family tree. A number of the paintings appear to feature some of the same people, and it is tempting to think of these works as family portraits. Indeed, one figure, seen as a child with a mark on its forehead—the stone has actually been chipped away to represent the mark—is shown in other paintings as a young person and as an adult with the same mark.
5. The author uses the highlighted portion (Dr. Linus Mendoza of the International Speleologist Association has studied the paintings and believes that stylistic similarities and differences point to the work of three artists) in parentheses to:

(A) support the notion that the paintings were drawn using animal-hair brushes
(B) further explain how the artist or artist were able to remove patina to produce a negative image
(C) provide evidence supporting one of two possibilities regarding the origin of the paintings
(D) present expert support for the belief that the paintings could have been produced by one or more artists
(E) contradict a common notion regarding the artists who produced the collection of paintings.

Solution

For any function question, you should first locate where the information given in the question stem is discussed and then examine the context around it. With parentheses, you know that the information is being used to give additional information about what is beside it OR to present some random aside.

In this case, it is the former and the information is addressing whether it is more likely to be a singular “artist” or plural “artists”.

Reading it carefully, you see that Dr. Mendoza believes that three “artists” are responsible for the paintings.

As a result you know the author is using the parenthetical information to provide evidence that it is more likely the plural “artists” not the singular “artist” are responsible for the paintings so the correct answer is (C).

For (A), the topic sentence of the paragraph is about the use of animal-hair brushes, but this highlighted portion only refers to the short portion (“In some cases, the artist or artists”) that is directly beside it.

Similarly for (B), the discussion of patina comes immediately after the highlighted portion, but this portion is only be used to give evidence about whether it was one “artist” or plural “artists”.

(D) is tricky as certainly the highlighted portion is presenting expert support, but that support is for the belief that exactly three artists produced the paintings, not “one or more”.

For (E) there is no common notion given in the paragraph and this section does not contradict any notion, it simply supports one possibility.

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Re: Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone  [#permalink]

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01 Dec 2017, 07:46
1
1. Which of the following is mentioned in the passage as an unusual feature of the stone paintings?
E. The overlapping presentation of the pieces

The important line here is: The paintings are unusual in their medium, manner of display, and subject matter. So the answer could be any of these three things. The author then elaborates on each of these three elements in the next few sentences.

The medium: the paintings are on stones

The manner of display: Some of the pieces are stacked, while others are arranged upright in an overlapping pattern

The subject matter: domestic scenes

The only one of these three elements to appear in the answer choices is the manner of display - the overlapping pattern,

2. The author of the passage is especially interested in

A. the possibility that the paintings trace the lineage of a family
However, it is the purpose of the paintings that is the most curious.

3. The primary purpose of the passage is to
C. detail some of the reasons that the discovery of the stone paintings is of considerable interest

4. Which of the following, if true, would most undermine a possibility mentioned by the author of the passage?
D. To show that someone had died at the approximate age shown in a painting, the artists who created the stone paintings made a mark on the head of the figure by chipping the stone. --- it provides an alternate reason for the presence of mark
A number of the paintings appear to feature some of the same people, and it is tempting to think of these works as family portraits. Indeed, one figure, seen as a child with a mark on its forehead—the stone has actually been chipped away to represent the mark—is shown in other paintings as a young person and as an adult with the same mark.
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Re: Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone  [#permalink]

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12 Feb 2018, 07:49
iamdp wrote:
Hi everyone

Hi there,

I believe the reason why choice D is the correct answer is because in the last paragraph, it mentions the possibilities of the reason why the paintings were created. The question refers to those possibilities of Hunting or Domestic life or family tree. I think here it is asking about the possibility of the purpose
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Re: Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone  [#permalink]

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12 Dec 2019, 19:11
Although there were no tools found in the area, the fineness of the lines indicates that the animal hair brushes were sophisticated. The paints were painstakingly ground and mixed with binding materials such as vegetable and animal oils. Gypsum, manganese, malachite at and other minerals. In some cases, the Artist (Dr Linus Mendoza of the international association of speleologists) studied the paintings and believes that stypical similarities and differences are indicative of the work of three artists.
But the topic of the pictures is the most interesting. Conventional wisdom argues that cave hunting scenes were designed to give supernatural aid during actual hunts, or that prehistoric shamans had painted figures and designs as a way to draw power from the cave. It might also be that the household scenes are intended to ensure good luck like hunting. While facial features are rarely distinctive, the paintings display contentment, or at least lack of conflict.
Re: Archaeologists working in two recently discovered limestone   [#permalink] 12 Dec 2019, 19:11
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