IELTS Academic Reading Practice 10

 
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This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 1-14.

Questions 1-6

The reading passage has six sections, A-F.

Choose the correct heading for sections A-F from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number i-x in boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings
  1. The profound impact of the use of tools on society
  2. Trade in metal ore between continents begins
  3. The use of domestic animals for farming and travel
  4. How alloys like copper were created
  5. One of the first continents to use metal
  6. The story of the development of metal tools
  7. How the first crops were introduced to Africa
  8. A nation using metal weapons to subdue their neighbours
  9. The drying of north Africa leading to the movement of people and the further spread of metal     technology across the continent
  10. Metal working replacing the use of stone tools

1. Section A
2. Section B
3. Section C
4. Section D
5. Section E
6. Section F
Questions 7-14

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 7-14 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE   if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN   if there is no information on this

7. Larger communities, who lived near water, were more assured of a constant food source.
8. The earliest examples of cultivated plants discovered in Africa are native to Asia.
9. As the Sahara expanded, the camel gained in importance, eventually coming to have religious significance.
10. There was a slow gradual progress from the use of stone tools to metal tools.
11. The development of metal tools and weapons lead to great changes in African society.
12. Metal was worshiped by many of the early African people.
13. Metal technology on the American continent was more highly advanced than in Africa.
14. Today's Bantu-speaking peoples are descended from a technologically advanced people who spread throughout Africa.

Answer Sheet
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
N/A
16
N/A
17
N/A
18
N/A
19
N/A
20
N/A
21
N/A
22
N/A
23
N/A
24
N/A
25
N/A
26
N/A
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


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The History of Agriculture and Iron

Section A

There is evidence of agriculture in Africa prior to 3000 b.c. It may have developed independently, but many scholars believe that the spread of agriculture and iron throughout Africa linked it to the major centers of the Near East and Mediterranean world. The drying up of what is now the Sahara desert had pushed many peoples to the south into sub-Saharan Africa. These peoples settled at first in scattered hunting and-gathering bands, although in some places near lakes and rivers, people who fished, with a more secure food supply, lived in larger population concentrations. Agriculture seems to have reached these people from the Near East, since the first domesticated crops were millets and sorghums whose origins are not African but West Asian. Once the idea of planting diffused, Africans began to develop their own crops, such as certain varieties of rice, and they demonstrated a continued receptiveness to new imports. The proposed areas of the domestication of African crops lie in a band that extends from Ethiopia across southern Sudan to West Africa. Subsequently, other crops, such as bananas, were introduced from Southeast Asia.

Section B

Livestock also came from outside Africa. Cattle were introduced from Asia, as probably were domestic sheep and goats. Horses were apparently introduced by the Hyksos invaders of Egypt (1780-1560 b.c.) and then spread across the Sudan to West Africa. Rock paintings in the Sahara indicate that horses and chariots were used to traverse the desert and that by 300–200 b.c., there were trade routes across the Sahara. Horses were adopted by peoples of the West African savannah, and later their powerful cavalry forces allowed them to carve out large empires. Finally, the camel was introduced around the first century a.d. This was an important innovation, because the camel’s ability to thrive in harsh desert conditions and to carry large loads cheaply made it an effective and efficient means of transportation. The camel transformed the desert from a barrier into a still difficult, but more accessible, route of trade and communication.

Section C

Iron came from West Asia, although its routes of diffusion were somewhat different than those of agriculture. Most of Africa presents a curious case in which societies moved directly from a technology of stone to iron without passing through the intermediate stage of copper or bronze metallurgy, although some early copperworking sites have been found in West Africa. Knowledge of iron making penetrated into the forests and savannahs of West Africa at roughly the same time that iron making was reaching Europe. Evidence of iron making has been found in Nigeria, Ghana, and Mali.

Section D

This technological shift caused profound changes in the complexity of African societies. Iron represented power. In West Africa the blacksmith who made tools and weapons had an important place in society, often with special religious powers and functions. Iron hoes, which made the land more productive, and iron weapons, which made the warrior more powerful, had symbolic meaning in a number of West African societies. Those who knew the secrets of making iron gained ritual and sometimes political power.

Section E

Unlike in the Americas, where metallurgy was a very late and limited development, Africans had iron from a relatively early date, developing ingenious furnaces to produce the high heat needed for production and to control the amount of air that reached the carbon and iron ore necessary for making iron. Much of Africa moved right into the Iron Age, taking the basic technology and adapting it to local conditions and resources.

Section F

The diffusion of agriculture and later of iron was accompanied by a great movement of people who may have carried these innovations. These people probably originated in eastern Nigeria. Their migration may have been set in motion by an increase in population caused by a movement of peoples fleeing the desiccation, or drying up, of the Sahara. They spoke a language, proto-Bantu (“bantu” means “the people”), which is the parent tongue of a large number of Bantu languages still spoken throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Why and how these people spread out into central and southern Africa remains a mystery, but archaeologists believe that their iron weapons allowed them to conquer their hunting-gathering opponents, who still used stone implements. Still, the process is uncertain, and peaceful migration—or simply rapid demographic growth—may have also caused the Bantu explosion.

Reading Passage Vocabulary
The History of Agriculture and Iron

Section A

There is evidence of agriculture in Africa prior to 3000 b.c. It may have developed independently, but many scholars believe that the spread of agriculture and iron throughout Africa linked it to the major centers of the Near East and Mediterranean world. The drying up of what is now the Sahara desert had pushed many peoples to the south into sub-Saharan Africa. These peoples settled at first in scattered hunting and-gathering bands, although in some places near lakes and rivers, people who fished, with a more secure food supply, lived in larger population concentrations. Agriculture seems to have reached these people from the Near East, since the first domesticated crops were millets and sorghums whose origins are not African but West Asian. Once the idea of planting diffused, Africans began to develop their own crops, such as certain varieties of rice, and they demonstrated a continued receptiveness to new imports. The proposed areas of the domestication of African crops lie in a band that extends from Ethiopia across southern Sudan to West Africa. Subsequently, other crops, such as bananas, were introduced from Southeast Asia.

Section B

Livestock also came from outside Africa. Cattle were introduced from Asia, as probably were domestic sheep and goats. Horses were apparently introduced by the Hyksos invaders of Egypt (1780-1560 b.c.) and then spread across the Sudan to West Africa. Rock paintings in the Sahara indicate that horses and chariots were used to traverse the desert and that by 300–200 b.c., there were trade routes across the Sahara. Horses were adopted by peoples of the West African savannah, and later their powerful cavalry forces allowed them to carve out large empires. Finally, the camel was introduced around the first century a.d. This was an important innovation, because the camel’s ability to thrive in harsh desert conditions and to carry large loads cheaply made it an effective and efficient means of transportation. The camel transformed the desert from a barrier into a still difficult, but more accessible, route of trade and communication.

Section C

Iron came from West Asia, although its routes of diffusion were somewhat different than those of agriculture. Most of Africa presents a curious case in which societies moved directly from a technology of stone to iron without passing through the intermediate stage of copper or bronze metallurgy, although some early copperworking sites have been found in West Africa. Knowledge of iron making penetrated into the forests and savannahs of West Africa at roughly the same time that iron making was reaching Europe. Evidence of iron making has been found in Nigeria, Ghana, and Mali.

Section D

This technological shift caused profound changes in the complexity of African societies. Iron represented power. In West Africa the blacksmith who made tools and weapons had an important place in society, often with special religious powers and functions. Iron hoes, which made the land more productive, and iron weapons, which made the warrior more powerful, had symbolic meaning in a number of West African societies. Those who knew the secrets of making iron gained ritual and sometimes political power.

Section E

Unlike in the Americas, where metallurgy was a very late and limited development, Africans had iron from a relatively early date, developing ingenious furnaces to produce the high heat needed for production and to control the amount of air that reached the carbon and iron ore necessary for making iron. Much of Africa moved right into the Iron Age, taking the basic technology and adapting it to local conditions and resources.

Section F

The diffusion of agriculture and later of iron was accompanied by a great movement of people who may have carried these innovations. These people probably originated in eastern Nigeria. Their migration may have been set in motion by an increase in population caused by a movement of peoples fleeing the desiccation, or drying up, of the Sahara. They spoke a language, proto-Bantu (“bantu” means “the people”), which is the parent tongue of a large number of Bantu languages still spoken throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Why and how these people spread out into central and southern Africa remains a mystery, but archaeologists believe that their iron weapons allowed them to conquer their hunting-gathering opponents, who still used stone implements. Still, the process is uncertain, and peaceful migration—or simply rapid demographic growth—may have also caused the Bantu explosion.

 
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