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# Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian

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Senior Manager
Joined: 12 Mar 2007
Posts: 272

Kudos [?]: 120 [0], given: 2

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

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15 Mar 2007, 16:38
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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

Kudos [?]: 120 [0], given: 2

Senior Manager
Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 294

Kudos [?]: 18 [0], given: 0

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16 Mar 2007, 07:00
I would have to go with D here.

The artifact must have been in the earth. If it was in a vault, most likely it was in a room protected from contact with the soil, and from the shifting earth.

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Manager
Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 56

Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 0

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16 Mar 2007, 08:06
D or B. Most likely D.

Both artifacts seems to be protected from the elements. Even though the pottery is found in the ruins, it may have more contct with the elements as compared to the cape.

Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 0

Director
Joined: 09 Aug 2006
Posts: 521

Kudos [?]: 110 [0], given: 0

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16 Mar 2007, 22:22
I agree for D.

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Intern
Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 28

Kudos [?]: 9 [0], given: 0

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21 Mar 2007, 14:18
i think it's (C). (C) just says gold ear weights, with jasper ornaments. it says nothing about it being an artifact. all the other choices specify that the respective object was found in a place of archaelogical significance.

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Manager
Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 76

Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 0

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23 Mar 2007, 04:28
its D which also the OA. The choice is very easy to spot

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Senior Manager
Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 294

Kudos [?]: 18 [0], given: 0

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23 Mar 2007, 06:17
"Ruins" tend to be buried and excavated. We can not assume that the artifact in B was not buried. Only D gives us this option

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Manager
Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Posts: 213

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23 Mar 2007, 10:11
I too for D.

.

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Director
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Posts: 633

Kudos [?]: 427 [0], given: 0

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13 Jun 2007, 08:30
Guys,
(E) A multicolored woven sash found near the gravesite of a slave

Both the tests might not work with a sash even though it is multicolored.

Kudos [?]: 427 [0], given: 0

Why not E?   [#permalink] 13 Jun 2007, 08:30
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