CAE: Listening, part 1You will hear an archaeologist talking about an ancient civilisation in North America. For questions 1-8, complete the notes.
You now have 30 seconds to look at the questions. Then start the recording.
You can listen to the recording twice.
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The story went something like this. About seven hundred years ago, in the semi-arid area of North America called Four Corners, a whole community of people walked away from their homes one day, and vanished. Although they left no documents or paintings for us to study, pots and tools do remain for us to puzzle over; as does evidence of a complex culture. So what do we know about them? At one stage in their history these people were wealthy and successful, but they had always been at the mercy of a cruel climate, with irregular rainfall and extremes of temperature -- hot by day and plunging below freezing after dark. They were farmers. The land they worked, with its shallow earth, produced an adequate, if unexciting diet. From the earliest days, when their habitations were still small and rough, they grew corn as their staple food, and later they added beans. So we are talking about a predominantly agricultural society with a settled existence and scattered population, working the land around the cities.We know from the animal bones we found in their domestic rubbish heaps, that they raised rabbits for meat, which must have added some variety to their diet. Although they went hunting for deer, this was probably an occasional sport rather than for food.
So far, nothing remarkable. But when we turn to the way they ran their society and built their towns, we realise they were no ordinary people. In this inhospitable landscape, the communities could only survive by mutual support and co-operation, and the structure of their dwelling places reflected this inter-dependence. Some people lived in caves, but the most common form of construction was multi-storey houses. They were built to last, of brick or stone, and the rooms fitted together like the cells of a beehive. These houses were designed so that several families could live separately, but co-operatively. And in every building there were several rooms called kivas, circular in shape, where the inhabitants of the house met for their ritual ceremonies.
It took four hundred years for these people to build up their wealth and power, and their civilisation reached the peak of its success in the eleventh century. At this stage, there were nearly a hundred towns in Four Corners and in an area a long way from coastal and river communications, a system of roads connected the towns to each other and with the outside world. The people grew more farm produce than they needed, and sold the rest. Prosperity followed the trade, the towns increased in sophistication, and the spectacular architecture we associate with this civilisation was developed. So what caused them to turn their backs on Four Corners? (fade)