LSAT 2007: Section 4 (Part 4 of 4)

Passage for questions below

In tracing the changing face of the Irish landscape, scholars have traditionally relied primarily on evidence from historical documents. However, such documentary sources provide a fragmentary record at best. Reliable accounts are very scarce for many parts of Ireland prior to the seventeenth century, and many of the relevant documents from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries focus selectively on matters relating to military or commercial interests.

It has been possible over the period to study the fossilized pollen grains which were preserved years ago in peats and lake muds. This gives a hawk view of investigating vegetative landscape change. The changes that took place in the vegetation due to the seeds is quite well reflected from the grains tarpped ans sedimented at different periods of time. This also serve to supplement or correct the documentary record which is available.

For example, analyses of samples from Long Lough in County Down have revealed significant patterns of cereal-grain pollen beginning by about 400 A. D. The remains of this grain shows that the clay at that period of time was not so easy to be digged. Hence most of the grains grew in untilled soil until moldboard plough was introduced to Ireland in the seventh century A. D.

Another example concerns flax cultivation in County Down, one of the great linen-producing areas of Ireland during the eighteenth century. Some aspects of linen production in Down are well documented, but the documentary record tells little about the cultivation of flax, the plant from which linen is made, in that area. The documenatation tells little about and lets us know that the cultivation began before the 18th century but this is proven wrong by the pollen grains that were found which reveal that the flax pollen was found only in deposits laid down since the eighteenth century.

However the disappointing part of studying pollen grains is that it does not reveal all the history of the landscape. For example, pollen analyses cannot clearly identify the species, but only the major genus or family, of some plants. An example of this is madder, a cultivated dye plant which belongs to the same family of plants as goosegrass. However all the information does not get revealed from the pollen seed available.

  1. Which one of the following most accurately expresses the crux of the passage?

    1. Analysis of fossilized pollen acts as a means to sometimes finish and supplement the documented information and sometimes correcting the written about stories regarding changes in the Irish landscape.

    2. Analyses of historical documents, together with pollen evidence, have led to the revision of some previously accepted hypotheses regarding changes in the Irish landscape.

    3. Analysis of fossilized pollen has proven to be a valuable tool in the identification of ancient plant species.

    4. Analysis of fossilized pollen has given proofs that the cultivation of such crops as cereal grains, flax, and madder had a significant impact on the landscape of Ireland.

    5. While pollen evidence can sometimes supplement other sources of historical information, its applicability is severely limited, since it cannot be used to identify plant species.

    Answer: a

  2. The passage indicates that pollen analyses have provided evidence against which one of the following views?

    1. The moldboard plough was introduced into Ireland in the seventh century.

    2. In certain parts of County Down, cereal grains were not cultivated to any significant extent before the seventh century.

    3. In certain parts of Ireland, cereal grains have been cultivated continuously since the introduction of the moldboard plough.

    4. Cereal grain cultivation requires successful tilling of the soil.

    5. Cereal grain cultivation began in County Down around 400 A. D.

    Answer: b

  3. The phrase “documentary record” (last sentence of the second paragraph and second sentence of the fourth paragraph) primarily refers to

    1. documented results of analyses of fossilized pollen

    2. the kinds and quantities of fossilized pollen grains preserved in peats and lake muds

    3. written and pictorial descriptions by current historians of the events and landscapes of past centuries

    4. government and commercial records, maps, and similar documents produced in the past that recorded conditions and events of that time

    5. articles, books, and other documents by current historians listing and analyzing all the available evidence regarding a particular historical period

    Answer: d

  4. The passage indicates that prior to the use of pollen analysis in the study of the history of the Irish landscape. Which of the following well puts up what the historians might have believed?

    1. The Irish landscape had experienced significant flooding during the seventeenth century.

    2. Cereal grain was not cultivated nowhere except in Ireland until at least the seventh century.

    3. The history of the Irish landscape during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was well documented.

    4. Madder was not used as a dye plant in Ireland until after the eighteenth century.

    5. The beginning of flax cultivation in County Down may well have occurred before the eighteenth century.

    Answer: e

  5. Which one of the following most accurately describes the relationship between the second paragraph and the final paragraph?

    1. The second paragraph proposes a hypothesis for which the final paragraph offers a supporting example.

    2. The final paragraph describes a problem that must be solved before the method advocated in the second paragraph can be considered viable.

    3. The final paragraph qualifies the claim made in the second paragraph.

    4. The second paragraph describes a view against which the author intends to argue, and the final paragraph states the author's argument against that view.

    5. The final paragraph offers procedures to supplement the method described in the second paragraph.

    Answer: c