IELTS® Academic Reading Practice 8

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Coastal Archeology of Britain

A The recognition of the wealth and diversity of England’s coastal archaeology has been one of the most important developments of recent years. Some elements of this enormous resource have long been known. The so-called ‘submerged forests’ off the coasts of England, sometimes with clear evidence of the human activity, had attracted the interest of antiquarians since at least the eighteenth century, but serious and systematic attention has been given to the archaeological potential of the coast only since the early 1980s.

B It is possible to trace a variety of causes for this concentration of effort and interest. In the 1980s and 1990s, scientific research into climate change and its environmental impact spilled over into a much broader public debate as awareness of these issues grew; the prospect of rising sea levels over the next century, and their impact on current coastal environments, has been a particular focus for concern. At the same time archaeologists were beginning to recognize that the destruction caused by natural processes of coastal erosion and human activity, was having an increasing impact on the archaeological resource of the coast.

C The dominant process affecting the physical form of England in the post-glacial period has been rising in the altitude of sea level relative to the land, as the glaciers melted, and the landmass readjusted. The encroachment of the sea, the loss of huge areas of land now under the North Sea and the English Channel, and especially the loss of the land bridge between England and France, which finally made Britain an island, must have been immensely significant factors in the lives of our prehistoric ancestors. Yet the way in which prehistoric communities adjusted to these environmental changes has seldom been a major theme in discussions of the period. One factor contributing to this has been that, although the rise in relative sea level is comparatively well documented, we know little about the constant reconfiguration of the coastline. This was affected by many processes, many of which have not yet been adequately researched. The detailed reconstruction of coastline histories and the changing environments available for human use will be an important theme for future research.

D So great has been the rise in sea level and the consequent regression of the coast that much of the archaeological evidence is now within the coastal zone. Whether being eroded or exposed as a buried land surface, is derived from what was originally terrestrial occupation. Its current location in the coastal zone is the product of later unrelated processes, and it can tell us little about past adaptations to the sea. Estimates of its significance will need to be made in the context of other related evidence from dry land sites. Nevertheless, its physical environment means that preservation is often excellent, for example in the case of the Neolithic structure excavated at the Stumble in Essex.

E In some cases these buried land surfaces do contain evidence for human exploitation of what was a coastal environment, and elsewhere along the modern coast there is similar evidence. Where the evidence does relate to past human exploitation of the resources and the opportunities offered by the sea and the coast, it is both diverse and as of yet little understood. We are not yet in a position to make even preliminary estimates of answers to such fundamental questions as the extent to which the sea and the coast affected human life in the past, what percentage of the population at any time lived within reach of the sea, or whether human settlements in coastal environments showed a distinct character from those inland.

F The most striking evidence for use of the sea is in the form of boats, yet we still have much to learn about their production and use. Most of the known wrecks around our coast are not unexpectedly of post-medieval date and offer an unparalleled opportunity for research which has yet been little used. The prehistoric sewn-plank boats such as those from the Humber estuary and Dover all seem to belong to the second millennium BC; after this there is a gap in the record of a millennium, which cannot yet be explained before boats reappear, but it built using a very different technology. Boatbuilding must have been an extremely important activity around much of our coast, yet we know almost nothing about it. Boats were some of the most complex artifacts produced by pre-modem societies, and further research on their production and use make an important contribution to our understanding of past attitudes to technology and technological change.

G Boats need landing places, yet our knowledge on this area is also quite limited. In many cases, the natural shores and beaches would have sufficed, leaving little or no archaeological trace, but especially in later periods, many ports and harbors, as well as smaller facilities such as quays, wharves, and jetties, were built. Despite a growth of interest in the waterfront archaeology of some of our more important Roman and medieval towns, very little attention has been paid to the multitude of smaller landing places. Redevelopment of harbor sites and other development and natural pressures along the coast subject these important locations to unprecedented threats, yet few surveys of such sites have been undertaken.

H One of the most important revelations of recent research has been the extent of industrial activity along the coast. Fishing and salt production are among the better documented activities, though it seems little is still known on both. Many forms of fishing will leave little archaeological trace, and one of the surprises of a recent survey has been the extent of past investment in facilities for procuring fish and shellfish. Elaborate wooden fish weirs, often of considerable extent and responsive to aerial photography in shallow water, have been identified in areas such as Essex and the Severn estuary. The production of salt, especially in the late Iron Age and early Roman periods, has been recognized for some time, especially in the Thames estuary and around the Solent and Poole Harbor, but the reasons for the decline of that industry and the nature of later coastal salt working are much less well understood. Other industries were also located along the coast, either because the raw materials outcropped there or for ease of working and transport: mineral resources such as sand, gravel, stone, coal, ironstone, and alum were all exploited. These industries are poorly documented, but their remains are sometimes extensive and striking.

I Some appreciation of the variety and importance of the archaeological remains preserved in the coastal zone, albeit only in preliminary form, can thus be gained from recent work, but the complexity of the problem of managing that resource is also being realized. The problem arises not only from the scale and variety of the archaeological remains, but also from two other sources: the very varied natural and human threats to the resource, and the complex web of organizations with authority over, or interests in, the coastal zone. Human threats include the redevelopment of historic towns and old dockland areas, and the increased importance of the coast for the leisure and tourism industries, resulting in pressure for the increased provision of facilities such as marinas. The larger size of ferries has also caused an increase in the damage caused by their wake to fragile deposits in the intertidal zone. The most significant natural threat is the predicted rise in sea level over the next century especially in the south and east of England. Its impact on archaeology is not easy to predict, and though it is likely to be highly localized, it will be at a scale much larger than that of most archaeological sites. Thus, protecting one site may simply result in transposing the threat to a point further along the coast. The management of the archaeological remains will have to be considered in a much longer time scale and a much wider geographical scale than is common in the case of dry land sites, and this will pose a serious challenge for archaeologists.




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 15-26.
Questions 15-19
The reading passage has nine paragraphs labelled A-I.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-I in boxes 15-19 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

15. An account of the difficulties of managing the coast

16. Reference to a time when Britain was connected to mainland Europe

17. An account of some of the industries that took part on the coast of Britain

18. Highlights of some of the contemporary natural problems which affect Britain’s coast

19. Reference to sailing vessels and marine sites leading to coastline building

Questions 20-24
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 20-24 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.

20. The coastline of Britain has been studied seriously since the 1700s.

21. Until recent years the coast around Britain has remained relatively stable.

22. Coastal archaeological evidence may not be well protected by sea water.

23. It is difficult to understand how many people lived close to the sea.

24. The use of boats had not been recorded for a thousand years.

Questions 25-26
Complete the sentences below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in 25-26 on your answer sheet.

Research into the manufacturing of will give us a better idea of the technological outlook of the time.

The wake from large has caused further damage to the seashore.




Answer Sheet
1
N/A
2
N/A
3
N/A
4
N/A
5
N/A
6
N/A
7
N/A
8
N/A
9
N/A
10
N/A
11
N/A
12
N/A
13
N/A
14
N/A
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
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


Reading Passage Vocabulary
Coastal Archeology of Britain


A The recognition of the wealth and diversity of England’s coastal archaeology has been one of the most important developments of recent years. Some elements of this enormous resource have long been known. The so-called ‘submerged forests’ off the coasts of England, sometimes with clear evidence of the human activity, had attracted the interest of antiquarians since at least the eighteenth century, but serious and systematic attention has been given to the archaeological potential of the coast only since the early 1980s.

B It is possible to trace a variety of causes for this concentration of effort and interest. In the 1980s and 1990s, scientific research into climate change and its environmental impact spilled over into a much broader public debate as awareness of these issues grew; the prospect of rising sea levels over the next century, and their impact on current coastal environments, has been a particular focus for concern. At the same time archaeologists were beginning to recognize that the destruction caused by natural processes of coastal erosion and human activity, was having an increasing impact on the archaeological resource of the coast.

C The dominant process affecting the physical form of England in the post-glacial period has been rising in the altitude of sea level relative to the land, as the glaciers melted, and the landmass readjusted. The encroachment of the sea, the loss of huge areas of land now under the North Sea and the English Channel, and especially the loss of the land bridge between England and France, which finally made Britain an island, must have been immensely significant factors in the lives of our prehistoric ancestors. Yet the way in which prehistoric communities adjusted to these environmental changes has seldom been a major theme in discussions of the period. One factor contributing to this has been that, although the rise in relative sea level is comparatively well documented, we know little about the constant reconfiguration of the coastline. This was affected by many processes, many of which have not yet been adequately researched. The detailed reconstruction of coastline histories and the changing environments available for human use will be an important theme for future research.

D So great has been the rise in sea level and the consequent regression of the coast that much of the archaeological evidence is now within the coastal zone. Whether being eroded or exposed as a buried land surface, is derived from what was originally terrestrial occupation. Its current location in the coastal zone is the product of later unrelated processes, and it can tell us little about past adaptations to the sea. Estimates of its significance will need to be made in the context of other related evidence from dry land sites. Nevertheless, its physical environment means that preservation is often excellent, for example in the case of the Neolithic structure excavated at the Stumble in Essex.

E In some cases these buried land surfaces do contain evidence for human exploitation of what was a coastal environment, and elsewhere along the modern coast there is similar evidence. Where the evidence does relate to past human exploitation of the resources and the opportunities offered by the sea and the coast, it is both diverse and as of yet little understood. We are not yet in a position to make even preliminary estimates of answers to such fundamental questions as the extent to which the sea and the coast affected human life in the past, what percentage of the population at any time lived within reach of the sea, or whether human settlements in coastal environments showed a distinct character from those inland.

F The most striking evidence for use of the sea is in the form of boats, yet we still have much to learn about their production and use. Most of the known wrecks around our coast are not unexpectedly of post-medieval date and offer an unparalleled opportunity for research which has yet been little used. The prehistoric sewn-plank boats such as those from the Humber estuary and Dover all seem to belong to the second millennium BC; after this there is a gap in the record of a millennium, which cannot yet be explained before boats reappear, but it built using a very different technology. Boatbuilding must have been an extremely important activity around much of our coast, yet we know almost nothing about it. Boats were some of the most complex artifacts produced by pre-modem societies, and further research on their production and use make an important contribution to our understanding of past attitudes to technology and technological change.

G Boats need landing places, yet our knowledge on this area is also quite limited. In many cases, the natural shores and beaches would have sufficed, leaving little or no archaeological trace, but especially in later periods, many ports and harbors, as well as smaller facilities such as quays, wharves, and jetties, were built. Despite a growth of interest in the waterfront archaeology of some of our more important Roman and medieval towns, very little attention has been paid to the multitude of smaller landing places. Redevelopment of harbor sites and other development and natural pressures along the coast subject these important locations to unprecedented threats, yet few surveys of such sites have been undertaken.

H One of the most important revelations of recent research has been the extent of industrial activity along the coast. Fishing and salt production are among the better documented activities, though it seems little is still known on both. Many forms of fishing will leave little archaeological trace, and one of the surprises of a recent survey has been the extent of past investment in facilities for procuring fish and shellfish. Elaborate wooden fish weirs, often of considerable extent and responsive to aerial photography in shallow water, have been identified in areas such as Essex and the Severn estuary. The production of salt, especially in the late Iron Age and early Roman periods, has been recognized for some time, especially in the Thames estuary and around the Solent and Poole Harbor, but the reasons for the decline of that industry and the nature of later coastal salt working are much less well understood. Other industries were also located along the coast, either because the raw materials outcropped there or for ease of working and transport: mineral resources such as sand, gravel, stone, coal, ironstone, and alum were all exploited. These industries are poorly documented, but their remains are sometimes extensive and striking.

I Some appreciation of the variety and importance of the archaeological remains preserved in the coastal zone, albeit only in preliminary form, can thus be gained from recent work, but the complexity of the problem of managing that resource is also being realized. The problem arises not only from the scale and variety of the archaeological remains, but also from two other sources: the very varied natural and human threats to the resource, and the complex web of organizations with authority over, or interests in, the coastal zone. Human threats include the redevelopment of historic towns and old dockland areas, and the increased importance of the coast for the leisure and tourism industries, resulting in pressure for the increased provision of facilities such as marinas. The larger size of ferries has also caused an increase in the damage caused by their wake to fragile deposits in the intertidal zone. The most significant natural threat is the predicted rise in sea level over the next century especially in the south and east of England. Its impact on archaeology is not easy to predict, and though it is likely to be highly localized, it will be at a scale much larger than that of most archaeological sites. Thus, protecting one site may simply result in transposing the threat to a point further along the coast. The management of the archaeological remains will have to be considered in a much longer time scale and a much wider geographical scale than is common in the case of dry land sites, and this will pose a serious challenge for archaeologists.

 
IELTS Academic Reading Tips for Success
These are general tips that will appear on all reading questions.

Tips to improve your reading speed
To get a high score on the IELTS reading section, you need to have a fast reading speed. To have a fast reading speed, you need to improve your vocabulary and practice dissecting sentences. One strategy to dissect a sentence is to look for the subject and verb of the sentence. Finding the subject and verb will help you better understand the main idea of said sentence. Keep in mind, a common feature of a IELTS reading passage is to join strings of ideas to form long compound sentences. This produces large chunks that students have a hard time absorbing. Do not get overwhelmed by its length, just look for the subject and verb, the rest of the ideas will flow.


Keep in mind, having a slow reading speed makes skimming or scanning a reading passage more difficult. The process of quickly skimming through a reading passage for specific keywords or main ideas is a requirement for you to employ successful reading strategies to improve your IELTS reading score. In other words, skimming and scanning are critical skills to ensure you complete all questions in the allotted time frame.
IELTS Reading Strategies
Once you can read and comprehend a passage with a rate of, at least, 220 words per minute, you'll be ready to start implementing our strategies. All too often, students spend too much time reading the passages and not enough time answering the questions. Here is a step by step guide for tackling the reading section.

  1. Step 1: Read questions first

    One of the most common mistakes that candidates make when approaching the reading exam is reading every single word of the passages. Although you can practice for the exam by reading for pleasure, "reading blindly" (reading without any sense of what the questions will ask) will not do you any favors in the exam. Instead, it will hurt your chances for effectively managing your time and getting the best score.

    The main reason to read the questions first is because the type of question may determine what you read in the passage or how you read it. For example, some question types will call for the "skimming" technique, while others may call for the "scanning" technique.

    It is important to answer a set of questions that are of the same question type. You'll need to determine which question type you want to tackle first. A good strategy would be to start with the easier question type and move on to more difficult question types later. The Easiest question types are the ones where you spend less time reading. For example, the Matching Heading question type is an easier one because you only need to find the heading that best describes the main idea of a paragraph. An example of a difficult question type would be Identifying Information. For this question type, you'll need to read each paragraph to find out if each statement is TRUE, FALSE, or NOT GIVEN according to the passage.

    Here is a table that lists the difficulty levels for each question type. Use this table as a reference when choosing which question type you want to tackle first.


    Difficulty level Question Type
    Easy Sentence Completion
    Short answer
    Medium Matching Features
    Multiple choice
    Matching Headings
    Summary, Table, Flow-Chart Completion
    Difficult Matching Sentence Endings
    Matching Information
    Identifying Information (TRUE/FALSE/NOT GIVEN)
    Identifying Viewer's claims (YES/NO/NOT GIVEN)

  2. Step 2: Read for an objective

    After you've read the questions for the passage, you will be able to read for an objective. What does this mean? For example, if you come across a question that includes the year "1896", you can make a note of when this year comes up in the text, using it to answer the question later on. There are two reading techniques that will help you stay on track with reading for an objective. The first one, skimming, is best defined as reading fast in order to get the "gist", or general idea, or a passage. With this technique, you are not stopping for any unfamiliar words or looking for specific details. The second technique, scanning, is best defined as reading for specific information. With this technique, you are not reading for the overall gist, but rather, specific information. Notice how each of these techniques has a specific objective in mind. This will help you find information more quickly.

  3. Step 3: Take notes

    As you're reading for an objective, you should also be making notes on the margins of the passage, placing stars next to key information, or underlining things that you believe will help you answer the various questions. This will make it easier for you to check back when you are asked certain things in the questions. Choose whichever note-taking system is right for you - just make sure you do it!

  4. Step 4: Answer wisely

    After you've read the questions, read the passage, and have taken any appropriate notes, you you should have located the part of the text where you where you need to read carefully. Then just read carefully and think critically to determine the correct answer.

IELTS Reading Question Types
 
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