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Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts is

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

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New post Updated on: 22 Jan 2019, 20:27
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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

Originally posted by lordw on 14 Jul 2008, 07:04.
Last edited by Bunuel on 22 Jan 2019, 20:27, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts is  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2010, 17:46
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Hey All,

Lots of discussion on this one. Let's see what I can do...

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?

Breakdown. We have two methods: Check earthquake-related gridding and check for magnesium darkening. Where will these fail?

(A) An ax head of black obsidian, unearthed from a kitchen midden
PROBLEM: Darkening wouldn't work here (because it's black), but gridding would still work (obsidian is just glassy rock).

(B) A pottery bowl with a red ocher design, found in the ruins of a temple
PROBLEM: Both gridding and darkening would work here.

(C) A set of gold ear weights, ornamented with jasper pendants
PROBLEM: Both gridding and darkening would work here.

(D) A black feather cape from a king’s burial vault
ANSWER: It's black, so you can't check darkening, and it's made of feathers, so there won't be any gridding on the surface.

(E) A multicolored woven sash found near the gravesite of a slave
ANSWER: Gridding wouldn't work here (fabric), but darkening still would.

The answer is definitely D. Fun!

-tommy
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Re: Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts is  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2008, 11:24
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D

However, historians and anthropologists have evolved two reliable criteria, which, utilized in combination, have proven effective for dating these artifacts.
(1)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.
(2)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
->(1)/(2) can be used
(B) A pottery bowl with a red ocher design, found in the ruins of a temple
->(1)/(2) can be used
(C) A set of gold ear weights, ornamented with jasper pendants
->(1)/(2) can be used
(D) A black feather cape from a king’s burial vault
->If the feather is in the vault , we cannot use (2) becuase the feather was not exposed to magnesium.
->Since its a feather how can you see thescratches.Cannot use (1)

(E) A multicolored woven sash found near the gravesite of a slave
->->(1)/(2) can be used
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Re: Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts is  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2010, 09:46
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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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Re: Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts is  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2010, 17:47
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Aha. I just checked other people. I agree that the vault itself does not imply that it wasn't in the dirt. The issue is that it's black.

-t
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Re: Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts is  [#permalink]

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New post 18 May 2012, 16:54
This one is easy D but i think the paragraph is quite long for a typical CR question. I dont think GMAT question can be that long though.
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Re: Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts is  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2013, 15:15
gmatfighter12 wrote:
This one is easy D but i think the paragraph is quite long for a typical CR question. I dont think GMAT question can be that long though.

This post is pretty old, but it never got answered and some other folks have brought this thread back from the dead. So: yes, they can! GMAT CR questions are typically a bit shorter than this, but some of them can be long paragraphs. Flip through the Official Guide, and you'll see a few examples of textually dense passages like this one. On such passages, it's vitally important that you start with the question stem. You can't spend a long time reading the text, so you need to know what you are looking for before you dive in!

Best,
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Re: Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts is  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2019, 21:28
lordw 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
(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


Combination of two tests are done in this argument,

T 1 : 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.
T 2: 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.

(A) An ax head of black obsidian, unearthed from a kitchen midden
This can have some gridding and can show a darkening in surface color

(B) A pottery bowl with a red ocher design, found in the ruins of a temple
This can have some gridding and can show a darkening in surface color

(C) A set of gold ear weights, ornamented with jasper pendants
This can have some gridding and can show a darkening in surface color

(D) A black feather cape from a king’s burial vault
Black feather cape -> how will the feather be affected by a the earthquake, wont it be like torn apart, on top of that it is black in color

(E) A multicolored woven sash found near the gravesite of a slave
sash again this was a close one too, sash is again quite soft, but compared with D. it can get some gridding

IMO D
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Re: Determining the authenticity of purported pre-Columbian artifacts is   [#permalink] 22 Jan 2019, 21:28
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