Cr - Pre-Columbian artifacts : GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR)
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# Cr - Pre-Columbian artifacts

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VP
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31 Mar 2006, 19:23
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Hi guys,
I saw this one posted recently. However nobody explained the answer to it. Since I got this wrong, I would really like some help on this. Thanks in advance.
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
If you have any questions
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VP
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03 Apr 2006, 18:26
go with D.

want to bring it into the discussion.
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03 Apr 2006, 18:49
Agree with D.

Two criteria can be applied:
1. Unique scratch patterns caused by the shifting of the solid matter/earth that the artifact was found in.
2. Darkened surface color cuased by exposure to the soil (which contains magnesium)

A â€“ â€œunearthed.â€
VP
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04 Apr 2006, 02:18
I will go with D.

Firstly, its black - so the Mg rule cannot be used to distinguish. Secondly its was in the vault so it would have have been shifted the earthquake!

P.S.: Do not use this to determine the answer, but, its the only organic stuff so shud have decomposed!
Director
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04 Apr 2006, 02:31
I go with D.
It looks for unique scratch patterns.
It is not possibleto have scratches in feathers. Hence D
VP
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04 Apr 2006, 06:02
Dont you guys think that C is the ONLY one that does not mention soil, earth, etc? Thats the reason I picked C. But remgeo's and sm176811's explanations are pretty convinicing. Especially sm176811's!!!
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04 Apr 2006, 07:53
kripalkavi wrote:
Dont you guys think that C is the ONLY one that does not mention soil, earth, etc? Thats the reason I picked C. But remgeo's and sm176811's explanations are pretty convinicing. Especially sm176811's!!!

Well, the problem with C is that it doesn't mention WHERE they were found. However, D clearly indicates that it was found in a place and that it was of such a material that neither criteria 1 or 2 can be applied. That was at least my reasoning.

What is the correct answer?? *eager to hear*
04 Apr 2006, 07:53
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