2014年7月12日托福阅读真题+题目+答案：Understanding Ancient Mesoamerican Art
Starting at the end of the eighteenth century and continuing up to the present, explorers have searched for the ruins of ancient Mesoamerica, a region that includes Central America and central and southern Mexico. With the progress of time, archaeologists have unearthed civilizations increasingly remote in age. It is as if with each new century in the modern era an earlier stratum of antiquity has been revealed. Nineteenth-century explorers, particularly John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood, came upon Maya cities in the jungle, as well as evidence of other Classic cultures. Twentieth-century research revealed a much earlier high civilization, the Olmec. It now scarcely seems possible that the frontiers of early Mesoamerican civilization can be pushed back any further, although new work—such as in Oaxaca, southern Mexico—will continue to fill in details of the picture.
The process of discovery often shapes what we know about the history of Mesoamerican art. New finds are just as often made accidentally as intentionally. In 1971 workers installing sound and light equipment under the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan stumbled upon a remarkable cave that has since been interpreted by some scholars as a royal burial chamber. Archaeology has its own fashions too: the isolation of new sites may be the prime goal in one decade and the excavation of pyramids the focus in the next. In a third decade, outlying structures rather than principal buildings may absorb archaeologists’ energies. Nor should one forget that excavators are vulnerable to local interests. At one point, reconstruction of pyramids to attract tourism may be desired; at another, archaeologists may be precluded from working at what has already become a tourist attraction. Also, modern construction often determines which ancient sites can be excavated. In Mexico City, for example, the building of the subway initiated the excavations there and renewed interest in the old Aztec capital.
But the study of Mesoamerican art is not based exclusively on archaeology. Much useful information about the native populations was written down in the sixteenth century, particularly in central Mexico, and it can help us unravel the pre-Columbian past (the time prior to the arrival of Columbus in the Americas in 1492). Although many sources exist, the single most important one to the art historian is Bernardino de Sahagún’s General History of the Things of New Spain. A Franciscan friar (member of the Roman Catholic religious order), Sahagún recorded for posterity many aspects of pre-Hispanic life in his encyclopedia of twelve books, including history, ideology, and cosmogony (theories of the origin of the universe), as well as detailed information on the materials and methods of the skilled native craft workers. Furthermore, traditional ways of life survive among the native peoples of Mesoamerica, and scholars have increasingly found that modern practice and belief can decode the past. Remarkably, some scholars have been turned this process around, teaching ancient writing to modern peoples who may use it to articulate their identity in the twenty-first century.
During the past 40 years, scholars also have made great progress in deciphering and interpreting ancient Mesoamerican writing systems, a breakthrough that has transformed our understanding of the pre-Columbian mind. Classic Maya inscriptions, for example—long thought to record only calendrical information and astrological incantations—can now be read, and we find that most of them glorify family and ancestry by displaying the right of individual sovereigns to rule. The carvings can thus be seen as portraits or public records of dynastic power. Although scholars long believed that Mesoamerican artists did not sign their works, Mayanist scholar David Stuart’s 1986 deciphering of the Maya glyphs (written symbols) for ―scribe‖ and ―to write‖ opened a window on Maya practice; now we know at least one painter of ceramic vessels was the son of a king. Knowledge of the minor arts has also come in large part through an active art market. Thousands more small-scale objects are known now than in the twentieth century, although at a terrible cost to the ancient ruins from which they have been plundered.
15. According to paragraph 1, which of the following best describes the progress made in the search for ruins of ancient Mesoamerica?
A. The oldest remains were discovered immediately after Columbus arrived, and later findings correspond to more recent ruins.
B. From the late eighteenth century through the twentieth century, increasingly older remains were found.
C. All of the archaeological work was completed in the twentieth century.
D. Technological developments made it progressively easier for explorers todiscover Mayan cities in the jungle.
16. Paragraph 1 supports which of the following statements about the revealing of early Mesoamerican civilization?
A. The Maya and Olmec civilizations were discovered by explorers at approximately the same time.
B.Most of our understanding of Mesoamerican civilization comes from discoveries made in the twentieth century.
C. The discoveries made at Oaxaca in southern Mexico show that the Olmec civilization had its origins there.
D. Evidence still to be found in Oaxaca, Mexico, is likely to provide additional information about the high civilization of early Mesoamerica.
17. In paragraph 2, why does the author discuss the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan?
A.To introduce the discussion of a specific style of Mesoamerican art
B. To illustrate the importance of an accidental discovery
C. To emphasize the necessity of systematic study
D. To argue against the use of modern equipment in archaeology
18. The word "outlying" in the passage is closest in meaning to
C. far from the center
19. Which of the following is NOT mentioned in paragraph 2 as a factor affecting the process of discovery in archaeology?
A.Fashions that change over time
B. The popularity of archaeology as a field of study
C. The interests of local inhabitants
D. The building of modern structures
20. The word "initiated" in the passage is closest in meaning to
C.occurred at the same time as
21. The word "exclusively" in the passage is closest in meaning to
22. According to paragraph 3, why was Bernardino de Sahagún important to the study of Mesoamerican art?
A.He recorded detailed information about native populations in the sixteenth century.
B. He made important archaeological discoveries in central Mexico.
C. He studied the methods and materials of skilled Mesoamerican craft workers as a basis for his own art.
D. He encouraged native people to preserve their traditional ways of life.
23. The word "posterity" in the passage is closest in meaning to
A.the religious leadership
C. the native people
D. future generations
24. According to paragraph 3, which of the following is true of ancient Mesoamerican writing?
A.It is very similar to the modern writing of Mesoamerican peoples.
B. It is not as old as originally thought.
C. It can be used by modern peoples to express their own identities.
D. It is most thoroughly understood by skilled native craft workers.
25. According to paragraph 4, how did the deciphering of ancient Mesoamerican inscriptions transform our understanding of the pre-Columbian mind?
A.It showed that most attention was given to the prediction and magical control of the future.
B. It revealed a much greater concern with the identity and ancestry of particular individuals than had been suspected.
C. It demonstrated that painting was regarded as a royal art.
D. It disproved the idea that the Maya devoted much thought to record keeping.
26. According toparagraph 4, all of the following are true of Mayanist scholar David Stuart’s 1986 discovery EXCEPT:
A.It reversed a belief held by earlier scholars.
B. It uncovered long lists of royal dynastic records.
C. It allowed scholars to understand two glyphs for the first time.
D. It revealed that at least one Maya painter was a king’s son.
Paragraph 2 The process of discovery often shapes what we know about the history of Mesoamerican art. New finds are just as often made accidentally as intentionally. ■In 1971 workers installing sound and light equipment under the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan stumbled upon a remarkable cave that has since been interpreted by some scholars as a royal burial chamber. ■Archaeology has its own fashions too: the isolation of new sites may be the prime goal in one decade and the excavation of pyramids the focus in the next. In a third decade, outlying structures rather than principal buildings may absorb archaeologists’ energies. ■ Nor should one forget that excavators are vulnerable to local interests. ■At one point, reconstruction of pyramids to attract tourism may be desired; at another, archaeologists may be precluded from working at what has already become a tourist attraction. Also, modern construction often determines which ancient sites can be excavated. In Mexico City, for example, the building of the subway initiated the excavations there and renewed interest in the old Aztec capital.
27. Look at the four squares [■] that indicate where the following sentence can be added to the passage.
The chance discovery has done as much for our understanding of the pyramid as any systematic study would have.
Where would the sentence best fit?
28. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some answer choices do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points. Our knowledge of Mesoamerican art has grown since explorers first began searching for ruins of ancient Mesoamerica.
1.John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood used the ruins of Maya cities in the jungle as evidence that the Maya civilization was older than the Olmec civilization.
2.Classic Maya inscriptions primarily recorded calendrical information, astrological incantations, and signature …
3.Often discoveries accidentally, Mesoamerican pyramids not only contain numerous samples of native art but also attract tourism.