If you are preparing for IELTS, then one should be aware that IELTS main motive is to check your skill in the language by measuring your proficiency. But, have you ever wondered that besides checking your language skills, IELTS also aims to check some of the core knowledge that you have for the language.
Well, let’s infer the reading section, and talk about the comprehension part where the aspirant has to find the answers from the passage. IELTS here checks your initial knowledge of English. Because, there can be hundreds of passages you do before appearing for the exam, the aspirant only becomes master in the question pattern, not the passage. There will be different passages and different questions given in each new test.
Let’s understand some questions and know the answers to the papyrus plant which is an important reading passage in this article.
Papyrus Plant Which Shaped the World: Reading Passage
Here is the reading passage. The aspirants should skim through, don’t read, skim through the whole passage before jumping to the answers.
Used by the ancient Egyptians to make paper, the papyrus plant hashelped to shape the world we live in
Libraries and archives are cultural crossroads of knowledge exchange, where the past transmits information to the present, and where the present has the opportunity to inform the future. Bureaucracies have become the backbone of civilizations, as governments try to keep track of populations, business transactions and taxes.
At a personal level, our lives are governed by the documents we possess; we are certified on paper literally from birth to death. And written documentation carries enormous cultural importance: consider the consequences of signing the Foundation Document of the United Nations or the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Documentation requires a writing tool and a surface upon which to record the information permanently. About 5,000 years ago, the Sumerians started to use reeds or sticks to make marks on mud blocks which were then baked, but despite being fireproof, these were difficult to store. Other cultures used more flexible but less permanent surfaces, including animal skins and wood strips.
In western culture, the adoption of papyrus was to have a great impact. Sheets of papyrus not only provide an invaluable record of people’s daily lives, they can also be dated using carbon-dating techniques, giving precise information about the age of the text written on them.
Papyrus is strongly associated with Egyptian culture, although all the ancient civilizations around the Mediterranean used it. The papyrus sedge is a tall grass-like plant. It was harvested from shallow water and swamplands on the banks of the River Nile. Manufacturing sheets of plant from papyrus sedge was a complex, messy process. Pith from inside the plant’s stem was cut into long strips that were laid side by side.
These were then covered with a second layer of strips which were laid at right angles to the first, then soaked in water and hammered together. The sheet was then crushed to extract the water, dried and then polished to produce a high-quality writing surface, individual sheets could be glued together and rolled up to make scrolls or folded and bound to form books.
In moist climates, the cellulose-rich sheets of plant would readily decay, becoming covered by mould or full of holes from attacks by insects. But in dry climates, such as the Middle East, papyrus is a stable, rot-resistant writing surface. The earliest known roll of plant scroll was found in the tomb of an official called Hemeka near Memphis, which was then the capital city of Egypt, and is around five thousand years old. in 79CE, nearly 2,000 plant scrolls in the library of Julius Caesar’s father-in-law were protected at Herculaneum by ash from the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. However, the most famous discoveries of plant have come from the rubbish dumps of the ancient town of Oxyrhynchus, some 160km south-west of Cairo, in the desert to the west of the Nile.
Oxyrhynchus was a regional administrative capital and for a thousand years generated vast amounts of administrative documentation, including accounts, tax returns and correspondence, which was periodically discarded to make room for more. Over time, a thick layer of sand covered these dumps, andthey were forgotten. But the documents were protected by the sand, creating a time capsule that allowed astonishing glimpses into the lives of the town’s inhabitants over hundreds of years.
Collections of documents that record information and ideas have frequently been viewed as potentially dangerous. For thousands of years, governments, despots and conquerors have resorted to burning libraries and books to rid themselves of inconvenient evidence or obliterate cultures and ideas that they found politically, morally or religiously unacceptable.
One such calamity, the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, and the plant scrolls and books it contained, has been mythologized and has come to symbolize the global loss of cultural knowledge.
Besides their use in record-keeping, plant stems were used in many other aspects of Mediterranean life, such as for boat construction and making ropes, sails and baskets, as well as being a source of food. In 1969 the adventurer Thor Heyerdahl attempted to cross the Atlantic from Morocco in the boat Ra, to show that it was possible for mariners in ancient times to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
Ra was made from bundles of plant stems and modelled on ancient Egyptian craft. As a marshland plant, plant sedge stabilizes soils and reduces erosion, while some investigations show that it has potential for water purification and sewage treatment.
True paper was probably invented in China in the first century CE. Like plant, it was constructed from a meshwork of plant fibres, but the Chinese used fibres from the white mulberry tree, which yielded a tough, flexible material that could be folded, stretched, and compressed. The adoption of this paper by western cultures soon rendered papyrus obsolete.
Despite dreams of paper-free societies, western cultures still use enormous quantities of paper, often in ways that it would be inconceivable to use papyrus for. As a paper substitute, the role of the papyrus sedge in western cultures has been superseded; papyrus is little more than a niche product for the tourist market. What makes papyrus noteworthy for western societies nowadays is its use as the surface upon which our ancient ancestors recorded their lives, their art and their science. In the words of the ancient Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder, it is ‘the material on which the immortality of human beings depends’.
Papyrus Plant: Reading Questions with Detailed Answers
Now when you have skimmed through the passage, you must have some points in mind, from the passage. Now, read the questions below carefully and try to find answers, because you can now easily skim through the passage for the answers because you have the idea of how the passage is written and what it is all about.
The aspirant has less time to read the whole passage and should not ever try to read the whole passage, but reading the questions twice is important. Here IELTS checks your accuracy proportionate to your speed for your language, and one should be quick enough to skim through and have an idea of the whole passage in a glance and that comes through practice.
Question Type 1: IELTS Reading Answers
Multiple Choice Questions
One and Two
#What was the problem with writing on animal hides and wood strips?
A They didn’t survive long at all.
B They were difficult to keep track of.
C They were not adaptable enough.
D They might be obliterated by fire.
#Why did the papyrus producers hammer it?
A to remove moisture from the pith bands
B to link the layers of pith strips together
C to make it easier to cut the pith strips
D to place the layers of pith strips at the proper angle
Three to Five
#When the writer mentions burning libraries and books, what does he imply?
A he is implying that information may be utilised for both good and bad.
B new methods must be devised to ensure that data is not lost.
C cultural understanding is based on more than just written materials.
D Those in positions of authority may wish to keep others in the dark.
#The author uses the example of Thor Heyerdahl to demonstrate
A how papyrus may be used as a source of nourishment on extended sea trips.
B the ancient Egyptians were already adept navigators.
C papyrus could be used to construct long-distance boats.
D The ancient Egyptians were aware of papyrus’ environmental benefits.
#What is the author’s current opinion about papyrus?
A It is more environmentally friendly than using paper.
B Its relevance is limited to its historical role.
C For some applications, it is still the ideal writing surface.
D Efforts must be made to guarantee that it remains in use.
Question Type 2: IELTS Reading Answers
Complete the below sentences with one word.
Papyrus is high in cellulose and can be damaged by fungal growths or devoured by (1)………………. It can, however, thrive in a dry environment for long periods of time. It was discovered in a 5,000-year-old (2)…………………. Many papyrus texts were saved in Egypt and Herculaneum after a massive (3)…………………. in the year 79 CE Unwanted administrative documents were dumped on waste dumps in Oxyrhynchus, where they were preserved for many years by being covered in sand.
Question Type 2: IELTS Reading Answers
From the list of headings below, select the appropriate heading for each segment.
Fill in boxes on your answer sheet with the right numbers i-viii.
i Deciphering a papyrus text
ii The importance of written records and various methods of recording them
iii Papyrus’s usage for a variety of purposes
iv Suggestions for future papyrus possibilities
v Papyrus cultivation and manufacturing methods
vi The decline of papyrus use
vii Preservation and destruction of papyrus documents
viii Papyrus fabrication procedure
IELTS Exam Preparation
#If you can’t understand a question, don’t waste time on it.
#Examine every detail of the figures, graphs, or graphics in the question paper to be precise while replying.
#Instead of wasting time writing on the question paper, go on to the next. You can often come back later to complete this.
#There is a time limit, and you will not be given any further time to transfer answers.
#Be accurate, grammatically correct, and to-the-point when answering the questions and focusing on finding answers from the passage.
#Before submitting, proofread your answers and try to use all capital letters.
Quick Tips for Test Day
#Make sure you have all of the necessary identification with you. Carry the same kind of identification that you used to apply for the test.
#Check the test location, date, and time again. Allow adequate time for travel to prevent being late.
#In the exam room, no watches are permitted; however, there will be a wall clock to refer to.
#When the supervisor is delivering directions, pay attention and ask questions if you have any doubts.
#Because there is no negative marking, try to answer all of the questions.
#Do not attempt to cheat or copy the work of another student.
#As requested by the supervisor, leave your belongings outside the test hall.
There has been a recent change around the world, we have been changing from offline to online and the course of interaction has been through a screen. A vast part of the teaching and coaching facilities have been changed online and people are preferring online more.
IELTS Ninja is one such platform that is online and is the best platform for IELTS. It provides one to one interaction and live sessions help each student to solve their doubts. If the aspirant is looking for coaching, then online coaching is the best.
Hopefully, this article has helped you all to solve the doubts, regarding the reading section and how to answer the questions. All the best!