UNEARTHING JÓRVÍK | IELTS Academic Reading Sample Question

UNEARTHING JÓRVÍK | IELTS Academic Reading Sample Question

The passage contains following question types from IELTS Reading Question Types:

  • Matching headings
  • Matching information
  • Yes No Not Given

UNEARTHING JÓRVÍK

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1 – 13 which are based on Reading Passage.

UNEARTHING JÓRVÍK

A. From 1976 to 1981 in what is now known as the city of York in North Yorkshire, England, an archaeological dig was conducted in and around the street of Coppergate. This excavation played a most significant part in bringing to life the Viking kingdom of Jorvik.

B. Because most artifacts are made of materials which arc readily destroyed by Ore, coming across an abundance of them after so many years is indeed a rare thing. The five-year excavation in and around the street of Coppergate by the York Archaeological Trust, managed to uncover some breathtakingly well-preserved remains of Jorvik. Due to the unusual abundance of dense, anoxic wet clay, Jorvik’s mostly timber buildings, pits and wells, work areas and animal pens were remarkably very much intact.

C. Most commonly, household items from long ago were made of organic material and therefore tended to decompose completely in oxygen-rich soil. However, the complete lack of oxygen in the earth meant that decay bacteria was unable to break down the embedded Viking objects. An oxygen-free organic ‘cocoon’ comprising a mix of plant debris, including remains of plants, wood chips, twigs, straw used for bedding and thatch used in building, created an environment which enabled archaeologists to uncover an abundance of relics left over from a period dating back to the 10th century. Excavations of up to nine meters comprising numerous layers of deposits uncovered a number of household articles such as pottery and eating utensils as well as items made of wood and leather – all remarkably well-preserved. Many beautifully-decorated combs were among the most common items found at Coppergate. Combs at various stages of production, from sawn off-cuts of antler to the finished product, were all uncovered at the site.

D. The unusual number of combs found in the area indicated to archaeologists that there had been significant head lice infestations during the period. Head lice continue to be a menace in many parts of the world today and. excavations in the area revealed that such was the case for the residents of Jorvik. Though probably not too harmful to their health, also uncovered in the stomachs of many of the residents were parasitic worms, some of them up to a third of a metre long. Given the close proximity of household waste (food scraps, shells, bones) to houses, archaeologists deduced that sanitation in the area was generally poor. This poor sanitation would have impacted upon life expectancy with records indicating that most people did not live beyond the age of 50.

E. Archaeologists are concerned with studying the environment of a past civilisation and, like a detective, try to reconstruct a picture of what life in a particular area must have been like. Remains from the city of Jorvik told archaeologists a story about life in the Viking kingdom. A cap made of silk which was uncovered indicated a connection with the Byzantine Empire and beyond. Coins bearing inscriptions from the Uzbekistan city of Samarkand and a cowrie shell indicated contact with the Persian Gulf or Red Sea tus showing how far some of the inhabitants must have traveled. Also uncovered side-by-side were Christian and pagan objects probably indicating that Christians were probably not in power at the time.

F. It was clear from the wide range of everyday items uncovered that under the Vikings, Jorvik excelled as an important manufacturing center. The name ‘Coppergate’ means ‘the street of cup-makers’ in the old Norse language and further illustrated the manufacturing nature of the area as hundreds of wooden cores – the waste or off-cuts from wooden bowls and cups – were found in the area. This evidence points to a well-developed wood-working industry with the mass production of household wooden items. Another excavated area uncovered yet another manufacturing industry: metal work. Iron objects such as tools and knives for everyday purposes as well as moulds for making various types of jewellry were all uncovered. Shoemakers and repairers also were in significant number. Belts, straps, pouches, knife sheaths and piles of leather off-cuts all evidenced a thriving leather-craft trade. Balls of beeswax used to lubricate the needles as they passed through the leather were all tell-tail signs of a flourishing industry. Textile making materials such as needles and spindles to hold material were also uncovered.

G. Re-created from the excavation of just four Viking-Age house plots, the small Jorvik Viking Centre which was opened in April 1984 reminds tourists and visitors of life long ago. Using innovative interpretive methods, the York Archaeological Trust has recreated a model of what they believe the city of Jorvik would have been like. Mid 10th century single-storey homes with upright posts supporting thatched roofs, open fireplaces and simple earthen floors have all been constructed.

Questions 1 – 2

Choose TWO letters, A-F.
Write the correct letters in boxes 1-2 on your answer sheet.
The list below gives some factors which may explain why the artifacts at Jorvik were so well preserved.

Which TWO reasons are mentioned by the writer of the passage?

A. the complete absence of fires
B. the clay
C. the lack of oxygen in the soil
D. the organic composition of the artifacts
E. the abundance of decay bacteria
F. the combination of plants, wood chips and twigs in the area

Questions 3 – 8

Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer?
In boxes 3-8 on your answer sheet write

YES if the statement agrees with the information in the passage
NO if the statement contradicts the information in the passage
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about the statement in the passage

3)    The archaeological findings in Jorvik are unusual.
4)    The number of combs discovered evidence large-scale head lice problems in Jorvik.
5)    Poor standards in cleanliness resulted in shorter life-spans.
6)    Most of the town of Jorvik has now been uncovered by archaeologists.
7)   Coins from Samarkand indicated that Jorvik had visitors from other countries.
8)    Coppergate was so-called because many cups were made in the area.

Questions 9-13

Reading Passage has seven paragraphs, A-G.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A-G in boxes 9-13 on your answer sheet.

NB      You may use any letter more than once.

 9)       examples of the types of industries in Jorvik
10)       a reference to the material used in mid-10th century bedding in Jorvik
11)       a reference to the number of Viking homes uncovered in Jorvik
12)       a simple job definition
13)      an example of an annoying type of insect

Answers for IELTS Reading Sample Question

1)    B, B & C (Answers in any order)
The answers are in paragraphs which state: ‘Due to the unusual abundance of dense, anoxic wet clay, Jorvik’s mostly timber buildings, pits and wells, work areas…were all incredibly well preserved. ‘And ‘…the complete lack of oxygen in the earth meant that decay bacteria was unable to break down the embedded Viking objects. ‘

2)    C

3)    Y
Paragraph B states: ‘Because most artifacts are made of materials which are readily destroyed by fire, coming across an abundance of them after so many years is indeed a rare thing’ and ‘…the York Archaeological Trust, managed to uncover some breathtakingly well-preserved remains of Jorvik.’

4)    Y
Paragraph D states: ‘The unusual number of combs found in the area indicated to archaeologists that there had been significant head lice infestations during the period.’

5)    Y
Paragraph D states: ‘Given the close proximity of household waste…to houses, we can deduce that sanitation was generally poor. This would have impacted upon life expectancy…most people did not live beyond the age of 50. ‘

6)    NG
There is nothing in the passage about this!

7)    N
Paragraph E states: ‘Coins bearing inscriptions from…Samarkand…showed how far some of the inhabitants must have traveled.’

8)    Y
Paragraph F states: ‘The name ‘Coppergate’ means ‘the street of cup-makers’ in the old Norse language (with)…hundreds of wooden cores – the waste or off-cuts from wooden bowls and cups – were found in the area.’

9)    F
Although the manufacture of combs is mentioned in paragraph C, it is only one industry. Paragraph F lists industries – wood-working (cup-manufacturing), jewellery, metal-work and leather-craft.

10)    C
In paragraph C it is written: ‘…straw used for bedding and thatch used in building…’

11)    G
Paragraph G states: ‘Re-created from the excavation of just tour Viking-Age house plots…’

12)    E
Paragraph E states: ‘Archaeologists are concerned with studying the environment of a past civilisation and, like a detective, try to reconstruct a picture of what life in a particular area must have been like.’

13)    D
Paragraph D states: ‘Head lice continue to be a menace in many parts of the world today and, excavations in the area revealed that such was the case for the residents of Jorvik.’

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