2015年6月14日托福阅读真题+题目+答案：Mesopotamian and Egyptian Settlement Patterns
1. On the basis of available evidence, there existed in ancient state-level societies a variety of urban types. These have been classified under a number of different headings, ranging from city-states to territorial- or village-states. Mesopotamia and Egypt, for example, traditionally represent the two opposing extremes along a spectrum of possible settlement distributions and types.
2. Mesopotamian city-state systems were made up of densely populated urban areas that shared a common language, status symbols, and economic systems, but their elites tended to compete with each other, often militarily, to control territory, trade routes, and other resources. Each city-state controlled a relatively small territory, often only a few hundred square kilometers, and had its own capital city, which in many cases was enclosed by a wall. In addition to its capital, a city-state might govern a number of smaller centers, as well as numerous farming villages and hamlets. Ancient Sumer is a classic example of such a system.
3. In ancient Mesopotamia, urban centers tended to be relatively large, with populations ranging from less than 1,000 to more than 100,000 inhabitants, depending on the ability of a particular city-state to control and collect payments from its neighbors. Often, a considerable number of farmers lived in these centers to secure greater protection for themselves and their possessions. It is estimated that in southern Mesopotamia (circa 2900¨C2350 BC) more than 80 percent of the total population lived in cities.
4. These cities also supported craft production, which sought to satisfy the demands of the urban elite and society as a whole. The development of craft specialization and commercial exchanges between town and countryside as well as between neighboring urban centers encouraged the growth of public markets. Although the evidence for actual marketplaces is less than clear for southern Mesopotamia, the remnants of shop-lined streets indicate vigorous commercial activity involving large numbers of people. This activity in turn promoted competition among city-states to obtain supplies of exotic raw materials. As a result of widespread access to goods produced by full-time specialists and the development of more intensive agriculture close to urban centers, Mesopotamian city-states were able to support numerous nonfood producers, possibly as high a proportion as 20 percent of the total population.
5. In contrast to Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt's population has traditionally been perceived as more evenly dispersed across the landscape, a characteristic of village-states. Topography and the formation of the early state were the major factors contributing to this dispersal. Unlike Mesopotamia, Egypt had relatively secure and defined borders, allowing a single state to dominate the area. Additionally, the villages and towns of Egypt, all of which were situated near the Nile on the river's narrow flood plain, had approximately equal access to the river and did not have to compete among themselves for water as their contemporaries in Mesopotamia were forced to do. As the main highway through Egypt, the Nile offered innumerable harbors for shipping and trading, so there was no strong locational advantage to be gained in one area as opposed to another; hence the Egyptian population generally remained dispersed throughout the valley and delta in low densities. Trade specialists apparently were evenly spread throughout Egypt, supported by both independent workshops in small towns and royal patronage in the territorial capitals. In contrast to the defensive walls of Mesopotamian city-states, the walls of Egyptian towns primarily defined and delineated sections of the town (for example, a temple precinct from a residential area).
6. Egypt, however, was not without urban centers. At points where goods entered the Nile valley via maritime routes or overland routes from the Red Sea via wadis (stream beds that remain dry except during the rainy season), the right circumstances existed for the growth of larger cities. Egyptian cities and towns shared certain characteristics with other contemporary societies but also displayed unique traits influenced by the culture and environment of the Nile valley. Thus, the geopolitical system that evolved in ancient Egypt was different from that of Mesopotamia; Egypt developed a village or territorial state characterized by dispersed settlements of varying size, a form of urbanism that gave Egypt its distinctive identity.
1..According to paragraph 1, which of the following best describes how ancient societies were organized
A. Ancient societies were classified as either city-states or village-states.
B. Most ancient societies started out as city-states and then became territorial- or village-states.
C. With the exception of Mesopotamia and Egypt, ancient societies were generally not urbanized.
D. Ancient societies likely followed a number of different urban settlement patterns.
2..Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
A. Although composed of very similar societies, Mesopotamian city-states were also characterized by conflicts among elites over trade, territory, and resources.
B. City-states that shared a common language, status symbols, and economic systems were more likely to compete militarily than were other city-states.
C. Most military conflicts among Mesopotamian city-states were about economic issues, such as territory or trade routes, but some were over the status symbols of elites.
D. Despite the military control of elites, Mesopotamian city-states tended to compete with each other.
3..The author mentions Ancient Sumer as an example of
A. an unusual settlement that differed from the classic city-state
B. a small farming village under the control of a large city
C. a city-state consisting of a capital and outlying settlements
D. a city-state that was particularly small in size for Mesopotamia
4..According to paragraph 3, what determined the size of an urban center in ancient Mesopotamia
A. The number of people defending it
B. The amount of available space between the city and its nearest neighbor
C. The extent of its political and economic enforcement power over its neighbors
D. The number of farmers and the amount of food they produced
5..The word remnants in the passage is closest in meaning to
6..According to paragraph 4, which of the following is NOT true of commercial activity in ancient Mesopotamia
A. Perhaps 20 percent of the population was involved in commercial activity rather than food production.
B. Commercial exchanges took place not only between urban and rural areas, but also between cities.
C. Although most urban centers had marketplaces, the largest ones were located in southern Mesopotamia.
D. Goods were plentiful and widely available to inhabitants of Mesopotamian cities.
7..The word exotic in the passage is closest in meaning to
8..The word dominate in the passage is closest in meaning to
9..In paragraph 5, why does the author provide the information that all Egyptian villages and towns were located near the Nile and had equal access to the river
A. To explain why flooding was a frequent problem for the Egyptian people
B. To identify a contributing cause of the dispersal of Egypt's population
C. To support the claim that Egypt had well-defined borders
D. To demonstrate the similarity between Egyptian and Mesopotamian settlement patterns
10..According to paragraph 5, the primary purpose of city walls in ancient Egypt was to
A. distinguish territorial capitals from other urban areas
B. prevent the city's population from becoming too spread out
C. protect the city from outside attack
D. separate parts of the city designated for different uses
11..Paragraph 6 suggests that Egypt's urban centers were located near stream beds called wadis because these areas
A. had the most fertile soil
B. provided opportunities for trade
C. had increased their water supplies
D. could easily be protected from invaders
12..The phrase contemporary societies in the passage means societies that
A. existed at the same time
B. were located in the same region
C. were the same size
D. had the same resources
13..Look at the four squares that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.
For example, Egypt's capital, Memphis, was located at a strategic point near the mouth of the Nile and grew to be one of the largest settlements of its time.
Where would the sentence best fit Click on a square to add the sentence to the passage.
14..Drag your choices to the spaces where they belong. To review the passage, click on View Text.
A. Mesopotamia was characterized by large, densely-populated urban centers, while the population of Egypt was more evenly distributed across the Nile valley.
B. Unlike Mesopotamian city-states, which were culturally and economically distinct, Egyptian villages and towns shared a common language and economy.
C. While defense was crucial in Mesopotamian cities due to competition for territory, trade routes, and raw materials, it was less important in Egypt.
D. Once they realized that craft production was more profitable than crop production, many Mesopotamians moved from rural to urban areas.
E. Differences in settlement patterns help to explain why the Egyptian central government survived and the Mesopotamian city-states did not.
F. Trade specialists were evenly spread throughout Egypt, while Mesopotamia's vibrant commercial trade was concentrated in its large urban centers.