IELTS|Upper-Intermediate|17. Collecting fossils

pic1_IELTS|Upper-Int|L17

Complete the newspaper headlines with the words from the box. Decide which article you would like to read in detail

Match the questions 1-6 with the pictures illustrating corresponding discovery


Choose one of the headlines and make up a short story of your own covering the questions from the previous task

  1. The ruins of an ancient spa city reburied in Turkey.
  2. Israeli divers find ancient Roman shipwreck full of pots with coins.
  3. Guatemala dig uncovers ancient Mayan artefacts.
  4. Archaeological remains discovered at a family burial in Suffolk.
  5. Scientists discover ‘alien’ insect preserved in amber from 100 million years ago.
  6. Fossilised footprint challenges established theories of human evolution.

Look at questions 1-5 and underline the key ideas in the questions

pic2_IELTS|Upper-Int|L17

pic3_IELTS|Upper-Int|L17

Listen and answer the questions 1-5

Questions 1-5

Choose the correct letter: А, В or С.

Juni Milton

Juni: Hi, Milton — I didn’t see you this afternoon. You missed a really good talk.
Milton: Oh, did I? That’s a pity — it was Mr Brand’s talk about fossils, wasn’t it?
Juni: Yeah. I hadn’t really expected to enjoy it, but it was fascinating.
Milton: I thought it would be. I’d been planning to go to the talk, but then when I was in the lab this morning. I realised I hadn’t done any reading for tomorrow’s history seminar.
Juni: Well, I think he’s going to repeat it some time, but it may be next year.
Milton: Perhaps you could tell me a bit about it, then?
Juni: Well, he talked about himself in the first part.
Milton: I saw on the notice that went round that he went to America to study and met a famous anthropologist.
Juni: Yeah, that’s right, but he said he got interested in fossils well before then — when he was about six, in fact — and he found the most amazing fossil on a school visit to a national park. He showed it to us — he still has it — though he said he wasn’t looking for it at the time!
Milton: Most kids wouldn’t recognise a fossil if they saw one!
Juni: I know — they want to watch adventure films or play with model dinosaurs. But apparently he spent his school holidays hunting for fossils in the farm pits near his home.
Milton: So does he lecture on the subject now?
Juni: Yes — but he also runs a business organising fossil hunts for groups of adults and children.
Milton: Aw … Wouldn’t it be great if we could do something like that?
Juni: He showed us a lot of pictures …
Milton: So they all go out in a group to the cliffs or somewhere with little hammers, do they?
Juni: Yeah — apparently, the kids tell everyone that’s the best bit — tapping the stones to see if anything’s there.
Milton:
Juni: Yeah. They get shown some examples of what they might find first.
Milton: And do they actually get to find any fossils?
Juni: Yes — Mr Brand showed some photos of children proudly holding up their fossils for the camera at the end of the day.
Milton: If they take them home, I bet they become prized possessions in their rooms as well!
Juni: For sure. He said he never stops being amazed at how close you can be to a fossil.
Milton:
Juni: No, but, for them, the key thing they learn is that if they keep looking, they will find something.
Milton: Mmm — you have to wait… it’s not for people who want instant success. So why don’t we go on one of these hunts?
Juni: Well, yes. I’m quite keen. The hunts are fully booked until the end of the year, unfortunately.
Milton: I could talk to some of the other students and see if we can form a group.
Juni: That’s a good idea. I’ll give him a call. Then, if we have enough people, we might be able to get him to do an extra one for us.
Milton: I’ll look on his website when I get back to the dorm just to get a bit more information.



Exam tips

Multiple choice

1. Underline key ideas in the questions and use them to help you follow the conversation.

2. Listen carefully to everything the speakers say in relation to the key idea before you choose your answer.

3. Although you may hear the words in the options, the speaker may be expressing the opposite idea.

4. Listen for synonyms or paraphrases of the words in the question.

Look at the pictures and answer the questions 1-3

pic4_IELTS|Upper-Int|L17

1. What information can you elicit from the title and pictures?

2. What is happening at each stage in the diagram?

3. What type of information do you need to complete each gap?

Formation of marine fossils

Listen and complete questions 6-10

Questions 6-10Complete the diagrams.

Write one word only for each answer.

Milton Juni

Milton: So what did he talk about in the second part?
Juni: Well, that was more theoretical, but just as interesting, and there were lots of visuals. You know how fossils are formed?
Milton: Not exactly. We all know they’re the remains of living organisms, sort of entombed in rock, but I don’t know how they get to be there.
Juni: Well, he basically went through the stages that make that happen.
Milton: So did he talk about the conditions that bring about fossilisation?
Juni: Yes — and he used a fish as an example. Here, I’ll show you my notes.
Milton: Wow, these are great diagrams, Juni!
Juni: Thanks.
Milton: OK … er. Stage 1 … Ah yes, that’s right — a lot of fossils form underwater, don’t they?
Juni: Yeah — like as soon as a fish dies, it sinks to the bottom of the ocean, and as long as a predator doesn’t come along, it just lies there.
Milton: Undisturbed.
Juni: That’s right.
Milton: And since the ocean bed’s soft — well, much of it is, plus it’s muddy as well — the fish gradually gets covered over and can’t be seen any more.
Juni: Mmm. Apparently for a fossil to begin to form, you also need conditions where the light is minimal and there’s very little oxygen.
Milton: … so the organic matter doesn’t break down too quickly.
Juni: Yes, and you know there are fault lines, even on the sea bed, and the rocks can move.
Milton: Yeah, so once the fish gets buried — I guess that has to happen quite quickly?
Juni: Mm-hm, all the sand and sediment piles up into layers, and the huge pressure and weight of all the layers compacts it and you move on to Stage 2, where it gets heavier and heavier until it becomes hard rock.
Milton: There’d be no water left, so the fish skeleton would be entombed. It can stay like that for millions of years, can’t it?
Juni: It can. but during that time, the bone in the skeleton is replaced by minerals.
Milton: I see, and these minerals sort of mimic the shape of the skeleton.
Juni: Yes — and that’s how you get a fossil.
Milton: But how do we find them if they’re buried so far down?
Juni: Again, it’s all down to the movement of the Earth’s plates. In the last stage, many millions of years after the fossil has formed, the rock may lift and eventually be above sea level.
Milton: Meanwhile, the surface of the rock wears away?
Juni: Yes, another natural process called erosion wears away the rock until one day, you can see the tip of the fossil.
Milton: And you break open the rock — and there it is.
Juni: It’s incredible really.

Formation of marine fossils

Exam tips

Labelling a diagram

1. Read the title to know what you are going to be listening about.

2. If there is more than one diagram, compare the features in each one.

3. Decide what information you need for each gap.

Watch the first part of the video and do the test

Today I’m going to talk about five simple steps you can take to get a higher listening score. I hope you’re ready. I sure am. Let’s get started.

So, the five step process that I have is step number 1 — predict the topic, step 2 — find the keywords in each question, step 3 — listen for synonyms and antonyms, step 4 — always stay focused and step 5 — don’t review, preview.

I’m going to explain each of these steps in detail next. First, step 1 — predict the topic. I need you to use the title, the content and any pictures to guess the topic immediately. As soon as you turn the page, you should try to guess the topic. This will help you to predict or guess the kind of language that you will need, alright? And I’ll give you an example in a moment. Don’t worry if you don’t know much about the topic just get ready for related vocabulary. So, for example, let’s take a look at this IELTS listening test. This is part 1. We look at this and the first thing I see is, boom, city bank customer service log. So, what is this topic about? Ok, it’s a bank, and it’s a customer service log. So, immediately, I’m thinking what kind of bank words do I know? What kind of bank or customer service language am I going to need? And, if I look down below, I can see — ok, there’s an amount, a term. Ok, what is the term? A term is how long. We have the interest rate, different kinds of bank words. But by looking at this title I can immediately start to think of the kinds of words that I need. And this kind of thing can help you save time. If you see a title about education, start thinking of the education words that you know: curriculum, pupil, whatever they may be. This kind of prediction can really help you improve your score.

Step 2 — find the keywords in each question. Right, this is the keyword method very, very, very important. This is probably the most imp… Well, one of the most important steps. You need to look for the most important words in each question — underline them, circle them, do whatever you need to do so that you don’t forget these keywords. And the keywords are the words that you are going to listen for or you’re going to listen for something very similar or the opposite of them. We’ll talk about that in a minute. Don’t forget about looking for keywords in the answer choices for multiple choice questions as well. Also very, very important. Let’s take a look at this sample test. This is section two. So, in the first question we have the September celebration day is held. September celebration day is definitely a key word here, especially because you don’t see it in the other questions. So, I’m going to be listening for September celebration day. And because it’s capitalized, it’s a proper noun, it’s a special day, the listening will probably have that word, or this combination of words. They will probably say — September celebration day. There probably won’t… They might say holiday instead of day but there probably won’t be a different way of saying this. Next, I’m going to look at the answers and find the keywords in the answer. Okay, first we have five times a year. Five times a year. This to me is a keyword. Whenever I see a number, I have a Uhhhhh… A number! I like numbers because they’re easy to listen for. Next, on the park’s important birthday. For me birthday is the key word in this answer. I’m going to be listening for birthday. Is it on the birthday, or is it not on the birthday. And then, C is to remember the history of. So, I think remember the history, remember the history is quite important here. And they might say it in a different way but the concept of remembering the history, very important. In the next question you have — the park was first built. Two keywords — first and built. Remember, you need to listen… when you see a word like first — you want to listen for exactly that, alright? So, that’s finding the keywords in each question and the answers in the case of multiple choice questions.

Next, step number 3 — listen for synonyms and antonyms. I hinted on this in the previous step. But the person speaking doesn’t always use the same words, right? You need to listen for synonyms — different ways of saying the same word — and antonyms — saying the opposite — because this is also the case sometimes. Let’s take a look at this example: again, section 1. So, we have the phone number. Numbers are an easy way. It’s not quite a synonym but they have a different way of saying the numbers. Look, this number is 0 2 3 5 6 1 0 5 5. But instead of zero, the speaker might say oh. Oh 2 3. Instead of zero 2 3 — you need to understand this. You need to be ready for it. Instead of zero five five, they might say zero double five. Also possible, so you need to be ready for it. Let’s take a look at another example — per annum down here. Now, per annum could also mean for each year, for each year. So, it’s very possible that the speaker in this listening will say three point four five percent each year.


Watch the second part of the video and answer the questions

Step number 4 — always stay focused. This is so, so important and also so difficult. There’s no time on IELTS listening for you to lose focus. You don’t have time for it. Because, what happens — you lose focus on one question, maybe, you miss a question — what happens you’re going to miss the next question also, if you’re going: Oh no, I miss that question! What should I do? Boom! The next question comes and you miss the next question too. Now you’re double sad. Don’t do that. Don’t miss a question and lose your focus. Just miss the question. You can guess later — that’s okay but focus on what’s coming up next, alright? Sometimes you might need to refocus. There’s a lot going on. During these times just take a deep breath and then get back to it. That’s what you need to do. So, stay focused, alright? For example, if we have question number 11, maybe you miss question number 11. But right after question number 11, they’ve got question 12 and they say 1955. And then they continue on. You don’t want to miss the next question because you missed the previous question. Don’t lose your focus.

Step number 5 — don’t review, preview. Now, preview is looking for the next questions. You’re looking at the next questions. And you’re going to focus on finding the keywords in these ones. The listening test always gives you time to review your answers. They’ll say — you now have 30 seconds to review your answers or something like that. Don’t use this time to review the last questions. You already answered those questions unless there’s something you didn’t finish. Instead of going back, focus on previewing the next questions. Looking for these keywords. This takes more time. But it’s very, very important for getting correct answers. Previewing will include reading the questions and answers and looking for the keywords, alright? So, when you’re finished with this section if they say — okay you now have time to review answers. Don’t do that, just go to the next section and start to preview.


  1. Which strategy do you personally consider being the most useful?
  2. Which strategy do you use least of all?
  3. What should you do in case you have missed the answer?
  4. Is it difficult for you to stay concentrated during all the time the recording is on?
  5. Do you usually preview the questions?

Match the sequencers in bold with the meanings

Use 🔗Page Marker to complete this task

Using sequencers when describing processes

When we describe processes, we can use a number of words/phrases to explain when different stages of the process happen in relation to each other.

1. To indicate the start of the process: first, firstly, in/at the beginning, to begin with.

When a fish dies, at the beginning its body just sinks into the soft mud.

2. To show the next stages in the process: after that/some time, (some time) later, when (that has happened), next, the next thing which happens is (that), following that.

After some time, the fish’s skeleton becomes covered by a thick layer of mud.

3. To show stages which happen very soon afterwards: as soon as, immediately (after/after this), once.

Once the fish is completely covered, no oxygen reaches it, so it stops decomposing.

4. To show stages which happen at the same time: meanwhile, during that time/this stage in the process, while/whilst/as this happens/is happening.

Meanwhile, the pressure of the ocean converts the layer of mud into rock.

5. To show things which happen slowly over a period of time: gradually, little by little, progressively.

The skeleton of the fish is progressively transformed into a similar, lighter-coloured rock by the same pressure.

6. To show when a stage stops: until, up to the moment/point when.

The fish’s skeleton is transformed up to the point when no organic matter remains.

7. To show the last stage in the process: finally, lastly, eventually, in the end.

Eventually, tectonic movements thrust the sea bed to the surface, and the fossil is uncovered.

Note: eventually and in the end are used to mean ‘after a long time’ / ‘after a long process’. At last is not correct in this context. At last implies that you were impatient for something to finish: At last she’s answered my email!

Describing a process_1

Choose the correct option to complete the paragraphs about underwater archaeology

pic6_IELTS|Int|L19

Choose the Speaking Part 1, 2 or 3 and answer the corresponding questions

Collecting things

  1. Did you collect anything (such as stamps or CDs) when you were a child?
  2. Why do you think people like collecting things?
  3. Would you collect something that you think will have value in the future?

Art

  1. Did you do any artistic activities when you were a child?
  2. Did you ever do any artwork when you were a child?

Colours

  1. What’s your favourite color?
  2. Do you usually wear clothes in your favourite colour?

Describe a historical place you have been to.

You should say:

  • what kind of place it is;
  • what it looks like;
  • where it is

and explain how the place is related to history.

 

Collecting things as a hobby

  1. What kind of things do people like collecting as a hobby?
  2. What educational benefit do you think collecting objects like coins or stamps might have?

Archaeology

  1. How useful do you think it is for humans to uncover objects from the past?
  2. Who do you think historic objects should belong to when they have been found?

Exploration

  1. Can you suggest what motivated people in the past to explore the world?
  2. Do you think interest in space exploration will increase in future?

Historic Place

  1. How do people in your country feel about protecting historic buildings?
  2. Do you think an area can benefit from having an interesting historic place locally? In what way?
  3. Are there other ways people can learn about history, apart from at school? How?

pic5_IELTS|Int|L6

Complete this passage with words and phrases from the box

Before you listen, read through the questions and underline the key words

pic5_IELTS|Upper-Int|L17

pic6_IELTS|Upper-Int|L17

Now listen to the first part of the conversation and answer questions 1-5

Questions 1-5

Choose the correct letter: А, В or С

Claudia Dave

Claudia: Hi. Dave. How are you? I tried calling you last night, but your phone was off.
Dave: Oh, hi Claudia. Sorry about that, but I went to a talk by Professor Brian Jeffcott. You know, the guy who does those archaeology programmes on television.
Claudia: Oh, him. I think he’s great.
Dave: Me too. What I like about him is that he’s the complete opposite of how you imagine these archaeology types to be, you know. He’s young, funny, loads of energy. And he’s so passionate about his subject. He’s the sort of person who can make even boring things sound fascinating. I wish all lecturers were like that.
Claudia: So, what was it about?
Dave: Well, in the first part of the talk he explained that researchers have recently discovered when Neolithic structures were built. You know, stone circles, hill forts, places where people lived and worked, that kind of thing.
Claudia: But I thought they already knew that.
Dave: Sort of, but until now they only had a rough idea of when these structures went up, usually to within a few hundred years. But Professor Jeffcott showed us how new carbon-dating techniques and advanced computer programmes are allowing them to narrow that, down to within ten or twenty years. And it’s led to an interesting conclusion, which formed the second part of his talk.
Claudia: Which is?
Dave: The research team generally assumed that Neolithic structures were built over a period of two or three thousand years. However, they now know that most of them went up over a 75-year period, about five and a half thousand years ago. And that’s important because it means that they now have a more precise idea of when people went from being nomadic, that is, wandering from place to place, to being more static.
Claudia: Staying put, building permanent settlements, that kind of thing.
Dave: Exactly. People only really build when they’re settled. And that meant that their lifestyle altered in other ways. They went from being hunter-gatherers to being farmers. They started growing cereals, grains, that kind of thing. Well, the researchers knew that already, but what was news to them was how quickly Neolithic people took to other things at the same time. Within just a few years they learnt how to make pottery, domesticate animals, build timber houses, all sorts of things. They’d always assumed that these were developed over hundreds, thousands of years.
Claudia: Well, that’s all fascinating stuff, but you’re studying architecture. Why the interest?
Dave: Ah, well, next week my class is going on a field project to look at prehistoric construction methods. We want to find out if they have any relevance today, you know, if ancient methods can be applied to modern structures. And then I’ll be using that as the basis for my dissertation. So we’ll be visiting the Knowles Hill project. Heard of it?
Claudia: That’s the place where they’ve reconstructed an entire Neolithic village, isn’t it? It was on TV a few weeks ago.
Dave: That’s the one.


pic7_IELTS|Upper-Int|L17

Look at questions 6-10, listen to the next part of the conversation and complete the notes

Questions 6-10

Complete the notes.

Write one word only for each answer.


Dave Claudia

Dave: Anyway, what I need to do next is find out more about the period, get a bit more background information.
Claudia: Well, we can do that now. Let’s see. Neolithic period, er, history. OK, there are loads of websites. Let’s try this one. Oh, this lists key moments in, and features of, the Neolithic period in Britain. Any good?
Dave: I guess so.
Claudia: So, the Neolithic period, which occurred towards the end of the Stone Age, started approximately 9.000 years ago and lasted for about 5,000 years. At first, people lived in nomadic tribes, and wandered throughout Europe hunting and gathering.
Dave: Nothing I didn’t know already, unfortunately.
Claudia: Ah, but about 8,000 years ago, Britain became separated from mainland Europe when the sea covered low land between what is now England and France. That must be pretty important.
Dave: Hmm, so people couldn’t get back to mainland Europe. Which could mean they started evolving differently, socially and culturally, that is.
Claudia: It doesn’t say, but it does tell us that between five and six thousand years ago they started building houses that were permanent rather than temporary, which indicates they were becoming more settled. A connection, do you think?
Dave: Possibly. What else?
Claudia: Other solid structures started appearing. Stone circles like Stonehenge, for example. Actually, that came a bit later, about four thousand five hundred years ago. Oh, it says here that it was built in several different stages over many hundreds of years. I didn’t know that. I’d always assumed it all went up at once.
Dave: Me too. That is interesting.
Claudia: ОК, and this was also the time when pottery was first used to make bowls and cups. And tools made from stone for building and farming became more sophisticated. And new agricultural techniques also appeared. Wow, they were busy!
Dave: They certainly were. Does it say anything about why…

Read the passage and choose the correct option A, B, C, or D

pic8_IELTS|Upper-Int|L17

Ancient Egypt

The people of ancient Egypt emerged as one of the first Western civilisations. Sustained by the River Nile and protected by vast deserts, the Egyptians lived in comparative security, prosperity and peace for thousands of years. When such conditions exist, the civilisation and its arts usually flourish. To this day, many of the Egyptian artistic creations display the wealth, splendour and talent of this great civilisation.

Ancient Egypt has been called a land of temples and tombs, and for centuries people have been filled with wonder at the ingenuity of the Egyptians, whose impressive works have withstood the ravages of time so well. Had it not been for the long-lasting nature of their monuments and carved inscriptions in the form of hieroglyphics, much evidence of their activities would have vanished from all historical records. In about 3000 BC, Upper and Lower Egypt were united under the first pharaoh, and generally, from that time until the invasion by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, Egypt prospered as a nation of skilful craftsmen and artists.

The Egyptians were industrious, highly civilised and deeply religious people, who obediently accepted the supreme authority of their pharaohs. The people were content to serve and work for the state in return for a secure livelihood. They considered this earthly life to be a segment in a great cycle, at the end of which everything would be returned to its original form. The richer and more important the person, the more careful and elaborate would be his or her burial, and the stronger and safer the tomb in which they would be buried.

The burial of the dead in the ground was not considered sufficiently safe for kings, queens and court officials, so sunken, sealed tombs were ingeniously constructed to protect personal treasures, food and instructions for the safe conduct of the soul after death. The design of these tombs developed into the stepped pyramid, and finally into the square pyramid that we know today.

There are about 80 ancient pyramids in Egypt. The Great Pyramid at Gizeh, which King Cheops built as his tomb 5000 years ago, holds the most interest. It stands with two other pyramids on a slight rise overlooking the River Nile. At the centre of the pyramid is the King’s Chamber and leading down from there is a long narrow area known as the Grand Gallery. The pyramid covers 13 acres and contains 2,300,000 blocks of limestone, each weighing an average of 1.5 tons. Its pyramidal form has a perfectly square base with sides of 756 feet and a height of 481 feet. Situated directly below the King’s Chamber is the Queen’s Chamber and there are two air channels leading upwards from the centre of the pyramid to the outside.

Originally the exterior was covered in highly polished limestone slabs, all of which have been stolen over the years. It is estimated that a total of 100,000 men laboured for 20 years to build this gigantic structure, and although architecturally unimportant in design, it has aroused the curiosity of millions of people because of the uncanny accuracy of its measurements and proportions. It reveals the remarkable ingenuity and the great organising ability of the ancient Egyptians.

Near these pyramids stands the Great Sphinx, the origin and purpose of which constitute one of the world’s most famous puzzles. Shaped from an outcrop of stone in the form of a human-headed lion, the face is possibly a portrait of King Khafra, the son of Cheops, who was buried in the second largest pyramid. The Sphinx is one of the biggest statues ever made.

The Egyptian people showed reverence towards natural objects such as the lotus flower, the scarab beetle, the falcon, the lion, the sun and the River Nile. AII these subjects and many more were used symbolically and conventionally as motifs in low-relief carving and painting. It was the custom of the Egyptians to depict the various parts of the human figure, usually in the most characteristic positions. The head was shown in profile except for the eye, which was represented from the front, the shoulders and a portion of the arms were portrayed from the front, while the hips and legs were side views. Wall decoration showed little or no attempt to indicate depth or perspective, except by placing distant objects above near things. It was essentially two-dimensional, and relative size indicated the status of the person, so the pharaoh was the largest figure in the composition.

Egyptian art is characterised by a passion for permanence, a desire to impress by size, and a determination to make each item serve its function without much regard for the whole. It is obvious that art among these people reached a very high level and the strong influence of Egyptian art can be seen in the work of nearby civilisations.

The fortunate discovery and subsequent deciphering in 1822 of the Rosetta Stone, which showed the same laws inscribed both in Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Egyptian demotic, or popular version of their language, as well as the Greek language, eventually gave the key to the meaning of Egyptian inscriptions, and therefore the significance of much Egyptian art.


Scan the passage and do the task in the green box

Questions 2-3

Complete the sentences below.

Choose no more than three words from the passage for each answer.

Look at the diagram and do the task in the box


Questions 4-7

Label the diagram.

Choose no more than three words and/or the number from the passage for each answer.


Ancient Egypt

The people of ancient Egypt emerged as one of the first Western civilisations. Sustained by the River Nile and protected by vast deserts, the Egyptians lived in comparative security, prosperity and peace far thousands of years. When such conditions exist, the civilisation and its arts usually flourish. To this day, many of the Egyptian artistic creations display the wealth, splendour and talent of this great civilisation.

Ancient Egypt has been called a land of temples and tombs, and for centuries people have been filled with wonder at the ingenuity of the Egyptians, whose impressive works have withstood the ravages of time so well. Had it not been for the long-lasting nature of their monuments and carved inscriptions in the form of hieroglyphics, much evidence of their activities would have vanished from all historical records. In about 3000 BC, Upper and Lower Egypt were united under the first pharaoh, and generally, from that time until the invasion by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, Egypt prospered as a nation of skilful craftsmen and artists.

The Egyptians were industrious, highly civilised and deeply religious people, who obediently accepted the supreme authority of their pharaohs. The people were content to serve and work for the state in return for a secure livelihood. They considered this earthly life to be a segment in a great cycle, at the end of which everything would be returned to its original form. The richer and more important the person, the more careful and elaborate would be his or her burial, and the stronger and safer the tomb in which they would be buried.

The burial of the dead in the ground was not considered sufficiently safe for kings, queens and court officials, so sunken, sealed tombs were ingeniously constructed to protect personal treasures, food and instructions for the safe conduct of the soul after death. The design of these tombs developed into the stepped pyramid, and finally into the square pyramid that we know today.

There are about 80 ancient pyramids in Egypt. The Great Pyramid at Gizeh, which King Cheops built as his tomb 5000 years ago, holds the most interest. It stands with two other pyramids on a slight rise overlooking the River Nile. At the centre of the pyramid is the King’s Chamber and leading down from there is a long narrow area known as the Grand Gallery. The pyramid covers 13 acres and contains 2,300,000 blocks of limestone, each weighing an average of 1.5 tons. Its pyramidal form has a perfectly square base with sides of 756 feet and a height of 481 feet. Situated directly below the King’s Chamber is the Queen’s Chamber and there are two air channels leading upwards from the centre of the pyramid to the outside.

Originally the exterior was covered in highly polished limestone slabs, all of which have been stolen over the years. It is estimated that a total of 100,000 men laboured for 20 years to build this gigantic structure, and although architecturally unimportant in design, it has aroused the curiosity of millions of people because of the uncanny accuracy of its measurements and proportions. It reveals the remarkable ingenuity and the great organising ability of the ancient Egyptians.

Near these pyramids stands the Great Sphinx, the origin and purpose of which constitute one of the world’s most famous puzzles. Shaped from an outcrop of stone in the form of a human-headed lion, the face is possibly a portrait of King Khafra, the son of Cheops, who was buried in the second largest pyramid. The Sphinx is one of the biggest statues ever made.

The Egyptian people showed reverence towards natural objects such as the lotus flower, the scarab beetle, the falcon, the lion, the sun and the River Nile. AII these subjects and many more were used symbolically and conventionally as motifs in low-relief carving and painting. It was the custom of the Egyptians to depict the various parts of the human figure, usually in the most characteristic positions. The head was shown in profile except for the eye, which was represented from the front, the shoulders and a portion of the arms were portrayed from the front, while the hips and legs were side views. Wall decoration showed little or no attempt to indicate depth or perspective, except by placing distant objects above near things. It was essentially two-dimensional, and relative size indicated the status of the person, so the pharaoh was the largest figure in the composition.

Egyptian art is characterised by a passion for permanence, a desire to impress by size, and a determination to make each item serve its function without much regard for the whole. It is obvious that art among these people reached a very high level and the strong influence of Egyptian art can be seen in the work of nearby civilisations.

The fortunate discovery and subsequent deciphering in 1822 of the Rosetta Stone, which showed the same laws inscribed both in Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Egyptian demotic, or popular version of their language, as well as the Greek language, eventually gave the key to the meaning of Egyptian inscriptions, and therefore the significance of much Egyptian art.


Read the task and complete questions 8-12

Questions 8-12

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage 1?

Choose:

True if the statement agrees with the information

False if the statement contradicts the information

Not given if there is no information on this

Урок Homework Курс
  • Warm-up
  • Amazing discoveries
  • Fossil hunt
  • Fossilisation
  • How to boost your score
  • Describing a process
  • Speaking
  • Using sequencers
  • Advances in archaeology
  • Busy Neolithic Age
  • Ancient civilisations
  • Ancient tombs