IELTSDATA READING PASSAGE 74-The Lost Civilization of Peru

IELTSDATA READING PASSAGE 74-The Lost Civilization of Peru.

IELTSDATA READING PASSAGE 74-The Lost Civilization of Peru


Two thousand years ago, a mysterious and little-known civilization ruled the northern coast of Peru. Its people were called the Moche. They built huge and bizarre pyramids that still dominate the surrounding countryside — some well over a hundred feet tall. Many are so heavily eroded they look like natural hills. Only close up can you see they are made up of millions of mud bricks. Several of the pyramids, known as ‘huacas’, contain rich collections of murals depicting both secular and sacred scenes from the Moche world. Others house the elaborate tombs of Moche leaders.

Out in the desert, archaeologists have also found the 2,000-year-old remains of an extensive system of mud brick aqueducts which enabled the Moche to tame their desert environment. Many are still in use today. As archaeologists have excavated at Moche sites they’ve unearthed some of the most fabulous pottery and jewelry ever to emerge from an ancient civilization. The Moche were pioneers of metal-working techniques like gilding and early forms of soldering. These skills enabled them to create extraordinarily intricate artifacts: ear studs and necklaces, nose rings and helmets, many heavily inlaid with gold and precious stones.

But it was the pottery that gave the archaeologists their first real insight into Moche life. The Moche left no written record but they did leave a fabulous account of their life and times in paintings on pots and vessels. Many show everyday events and objects such as people, fish, birds, and other animals. Others show scenes from what, at first sight, look like a series of battles. But as the archaeologists studied them more closely they realized they weren’t ordinary battles: all the soldiers have dressed alike; the same images were repeated time and again. When the battle was won, the vanquished were ritually sacrificed. It was, the archaeologists slowly realized, a story not of war but ritual combat followed by human sacrifice.

But what did it mean? The first breakthrough came when Canadian archaeologist Dr. Steve Bourget, of the University of Texas in Austin, discovered a collection of bones at one of the most important Moche huacas. Many of the skeletons were deeply encased in mud which meant the burials had to have taken place in the rain. Yet in this part of Peru, it almost never rains. Bourget realized there had to be a deliberate connection between the rain and the sacrifices. It led him to a new insight into the Moche world. The Moche, like most desert societies, had practiced a form of the ritual designed to celebrate or encourage rain. The sacrifices were about making an unpredictable world more predictable. A harsh environment had molded a harsh civilization with an elaborate set of rituals designed to ensure its survival.

These discoveries answered one question — what the painted scenes were all about- but still left a central riddle. Why had Moche society finally collapsed? Clues came first from climate researchers gathering evidence of the region’s climatic history, which suggested that at around AD 560 to AD 650 there was a thirty-year period of exceptionally wet weather, followed by a severe drought lasting another thirty years.

Then archaeologists found evidence of enormous rain damage at a Moche site called Huanchaco. New building work had been interrupted and torn apart by torrential rain, and artifacts found in the damaged area dated to almost exactly that period. Next, evidence of drought was discovered. Huge sand dunes appeared to have drifted in and engulfed a number of Moche settlements around AD 600 to AD 650. The story all fitted together.The evidence suggested the Moche had been hit by a double whammy: a huge climate disaster had simply wiped them out. For several years this became the accepted version of events; the riddle of the Moche had been solved.

There was only one problem. In the late 1990s, American archaeologist Dr. Tom Dillehay revisited some of the more obscure Moche sites and found that the dates didn’t match the climate catastrophe explanation. Many of these settlements were later than AD 650, so clearly, the weather hadn’t been the immediate cause of their demise. He also found that, instead of constructing huge huacas, the Moche had started building fortresses. They had been at war. But who with? Searching the site for clues, Dillehay’s team were unable to find any non-Moche military artifacts. It could only mean one thing: the Moche had been fighting amongst themselves.

Dillehay now puts together a new theory. The Moche had struggled through the climatic disasters but had been fatally weakened. The leadership, which at least in part claimed authority on the basis of being able to determine the weather, had lost its control over the population. Moche villages and clan groups turned on each other in a battle for food and land. This escalated to the point where the Moche replaced ritual battles and human sacrifices with civil war. Gradually they destroyed their own civilization.

Today, after 1,500 years, the Moche and their legacy are beginning to take their place in world history. The story of the Moche is an epic account of a society that thought it could control the world and what happened to it when it found it couldn’t. It is a story of human achievement and natural disaster, human sacrifice, and war.
Questions 1-5:
Do the Following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this
15. Chiefs are buried in some pyramids.
16. Moche water channels have lasted to the present day.
17. Archaeologists found evidence that the Moche used the money.
18. Texts in the Moche language were discovered.
19. Pottery designs had scenes of the Moche fighting foreign armies.
Questions 6-10:
Complete the notes. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the Reading Passage for each answer.
6. The aim of the killings and burials was to make it more likely there would be
7. The extremely dry weather led to some Moche sites being covered by
8. It was thought their civilization had been destroyed by changes in the
9. Dillehay found evidence that Moche society had survived beyond
10. The first evidence of military activity was the discovery of
Questions 11- 13:

Which THREE of these reasons does Dillehay suggest contributed to the disappearance of the Moche civilization?
A. a disastrous war with an external enemy
B. six decades of extreme weather
C. people no longer obeying their leaders
D. declining religious belief
E. the practice of sacrificing people
F. armed conflict within Moche society

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1 . T

2 . T

3 . NG

4 . F

5 . F

6 . RAIN



9 . AD 650


11 . B*

12 . C*

13 . F*

IELTSDATA READING PASSAGE 73-The Lost Civilization of Peru IELTSDATA READING PASSAGE 73-The Lost Civilization of Peru IELTSDATA READING PASSAGE 73-The Lost Civilization of Peru IELTSDATA READING PASSAGE 73-The Lost Civilization of Peru IELTSDATA READING PASSAGE 73-The Lost Civilization of Peru



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