Official 17 Set 2

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Prehistoric Art Dating

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What is the talk mainly about?
  • A. Techniques for locating archaeological sites

  • B. Methods of preserving archaeological sites

  • C. Limitations of some techniques for dating artifacts

  • D. Difficulties in determining where artifacts were created

显示答案 正确答案: C

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    NARRATOR:Listen to part of a lecture in an art history class.

    MALE PROFESSOR:Good morning. Ready to continue our review of prehistoric art?Um, today we’ll be covering the Upper Paleolithic period—um, which I’m roughly defining as the period from 35,000 to 8,000 B.C.Um, a lot of those cave drawings you’ve all seen come from this period, uh, but we’ll also be talking about portable works of art—uh, things that could be carried around from place to place.Here’s one example.

    This sculpture is called “The Lady with the Hood,” and it was carved from ivory, probably a, a mammoth’s tusk.Its age is a bit of a mystery.According to one source, it dates from, um, 22,000 B.C., but other sources claim it’s been dated closer to 30,000 B.C.Um, Amy?

    FEMALE STUDENT:Why don’t we know the exact date when this… head was made?

    MALE PROFESSOR:That’s a fair question.We’re talking about prehistory here—uh, so, obviously, the artists didn’t put a, a signature or a date on anything they did.So, how do we know when this figure was carved?

    MALE STUDENT:Last semester, I took an archaeology class, and we spent a lot of time on, uh, studying ways to date things.One technique I remember was, um, using the location of an object to date it. Like how deep was it buried.

    MALE PROFESSOR:That would be stratigraphy.

    Stratigraphy is used for dating portable art.When archaeologists are digging at a site, they make very careful notes about which stratum—which layer of earth—they find things in.And, you know, the general rule is that the oldest layers are at the lowest level.But this only works if the site hasn’t been touched and the layers are intact.Um, a problem with this dating method is that an object could have been carried around... used for several generations before it was discarded.So, it might be much older than the layer, or even the site, where it was found.The, uh, the stratification technique gives us the minimum age of an object, which isn’t necessarily its, its true age.Uh, Tom, in your archaeology class, did you talk about radiocarbon dating?

    MALE STUDENT:Yeah, we did. Um, that had to do with, uh, chemical analysis.Something to do with measuring the amount of radiocarbon that’s left in, oh, organic stuff.Because we know how fast radiocarbon decays, we can figure out the age of the organic material.

    MALE PROFESSOR:The key word there is “organic.” Is art made of organic material?

    MALE STUDENT:Well, you said “The Lady with the Hood” was carved out of ivory—that’s organic.

    MALE PROFESSOR:Absolutely. Any other examples?

    FEMALE STUDENT:Well, when they did those cave drawings, didn’t they use, like, charcoal? Or maybe colors... dyes made from plants?

    MALE PROFESSOR:Fortunately they did, a-at least some of the time.So, it turns out that radiocarbon dating works for a lot of prehistoric art.Uh, but again, there’s a problem.Um, this technique destroys what it analyzes, so ya-you have to chip off bits of the object for testing.

    Obviously, we’re reluctant to do that in some cases. And, and apart from that, there’s, there’s another problem: the, the date tells you the age of the material—say, a bone or, or a tree—the, the object is made from, but, but not the date when the artist actually created it.So with radiocarbon dating, we get the maximum possible age for the object, but it could be younger.OK, um,let’s say our scientific analysis has produced an age range, can we narrow it down?

    FEMALE STUDENT:Um, could we look for similar styles or motifs?You know, try to find things common to one time period.

    MALE PROFESSOR:We do that all the time, and when we see similarities in pieces of art, we assume some connection in, in time or place.But.. .but is it possible that we could be imposing our own values on that analysis?

    MALE STUDENT:I’m sorry, I don’t get your point.

    Um, well, we have all kinds of preconceived ideas about how artistic styles developed.For example, a, a lot of people think the presence of details demonstrates that the work was done by a more sophisticated artist while, um, a lack of details suggests a, a primitive style.But trends in art in the last century or so certainly challenge that idea.Don’t get me wrong, though, um, analyzing the styles of prehistoric artifacts can help dating them, but we need to be careful with the idea that, um, artistic development occurs in, in a straight line from simple to complex representations.

    FEMALE STUDENT:What you’re saying is... I mean, I get the feeling that this is like a legal process, like building a legal case.The more pieces of evidence we have, the closer we get to the truth.

    MALE PROFESSOR:Great analogy. And now you can see why we don’t have an exact date for our sculpture “The Lady with the Hood.”

  • 旁白:听下面一段艺术史的课程。

    教授:早上好!准备好接着复习史前艺术这一部分的内容了吗?今天我们会讲到旧石器时代前期,这个时期时间我粗略定为公元前 35,000 年到前 8,000 年。你们已经见到的许多岩画就是在这个时期产生的,但我们同时也会讲讲这个时期移动性艺术品—那些可以被携带到不同地方的。先举个例子吧

    这儿有一座雕塑,名字叫“带头巾的女人”;它是用象牙雕刻成的,很可能是猛犸象的獠牙。它的时代有些神秘。从某种证据上推断,它的时代应该定在公元前22,000 年左右。但是别的材料表明它的时代应该被定在前 30,000 年。艾米,有问题吗?

    学生:为什么我们不能知道雕塑的头颅被雕塑出来的确切日期呢?

    教授:这个问题问到点子上了。我们这里讲的内容是史前时期的艺术!所以,很明显,那时的作者们不会在任何作品上留下标签或者日期。所以,我们怎么知道这个雕塑是什么时候雕刻的呢?

    学生:上学期我选了考古学课,我在这门课上花了功夫,学习怎么给文物断代。我记得,其中一项技巧是通过文物的出土地点来给文物断代。譬如它出土的深度之类的。

    教授:那就是所谓的地层学。

    地层学正是移动性艺术品的断代方法。当考古学家在发掘某个坑位时,他们会很注意文物出土的地层,即文物是从地表的哪一个层面被发掘出来的。并且,想必你们也知道,地层断代法的一般原理是,越古老的东西,出土地层就越是靠下。但是这只对那些完全没有被盗掘过的坑位有效,因为这些坑位的地层关系完好无损。这种断代的一个缺点是,有可能某一件东西从一个地方被带到了另外的地方,被好几代人用了之后才被埋入土中。这样的话,它的实际时代可能要比它在坑位中的实际层位体现出来的时代要早得多。层位断代技术只能给我们提供一件文物产生时代的最小值,这个最小值并不一定是它产生的真正时代。汤姆,你在考古学可上有没有讨论过碳元素断代法?

    学生:是的,我们讨论过。那种方法涉及到了化学分析,与文物中残留的所释放的放射性碳的含量测定有关,有机物成分。因为我们知道放射性碳的衰变速率,所以据此我们就能够弄清这些有机物的时代。

    教授:这个方法的关键词是“有机物”。艺术品一般是由有机物构成的吗?

    学生:嗯,您讲过,“戴头巾的女人”这件作品是用象牙雕刻成的,这种材料应该是有机物。

    教授:完全正确!还有别的例子吗?

    学生:嗯,当那时的作者绘制岩画的时候,他们不也用焦炭吗?或者染色剂...从植物中提取的染料。

    教授:好在他们那时确实用了,虽然不是每一次都用。这样的话,碳放射法似乎对许多史前艺术品都能派上用场。但是还是有一个问题。这种方法会损坏被分析的文物,你们必须得从文物上剔除一些物质来检测。

    很明显,有时我们不愿意这样做。除此以外,还有别的问题。这种断代法告诉你的是文物的某一种材料的产生时间,比如,一块骨头或则一棵树,而不是艺术家真的用这些材料来制作艺术品的时间。所以,我们利用碳元素断代法得到的是文物产生时间的最大值,文物的实际时间可能要比测量出来的时间短。好吧我们假设我们的技术手段已经将某项文物产生的时间制定出来了一个范围,我们怎么缩小这个范围呢?

    学生:我们能从相似的类型或者目的入手吗?即从某一个特定时期的文物中找出一些共同特征。

    教授:我们一直都在做这项工作。并且我们我们在不同文物中也找到了许多相似的地方,并且假设这些共同之处有时间或者空间上的联系。但是,有没有可能,我们会在这样的操作中把我们自己的想法、对待事物的态度加入进去,使得客观的分析受到干扰?

    学生:不好意思,我没弄懂您在说什么。

    嗯,是这样的,我们对艺术风格的发展有各种各样的先入为主的想法。比如说,很多人认为精细的文物只可能是出自熟练的工匠之手,而粗糙、缺乏精细度的作品的时代则可能比较原始。但是,从上个世纪甚至早些的艺术趋势来看,这种观念受到了挑战。嗯,不要错解我的意思,分析史前文物当然可以帮助我们确定它的时代。但是我们必须要摒除艺术品单线发展,即所有艺术品都是从原始到复杂,从粗糙到精细这样的成见。

    学生:您刚才的话,据我理解,让我觉得文物的式样分析就像法律程序,与建立一个司法案例一样。我们的证据越多,我们就越能够接近事实的真相。

    教授:这个总结非常棒!这样的话你就能明白为什么我们不能对这件艺术品,“戴头巾的女人”,进行特别精确的断代了吧!

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    FEMALE STUDENT

    Why don’t we know the exact date when this…head was made?

    MALE PROFESSOR

    That’s a fair question. We’re talking about prehistory here—uh, so, obviously, the artists didn’t put a, a signature or a date on anything they did.  So, how do we know when this figure was carved?

    选项分析:老师对Amy的提问表示赞许,并且就这个问题展开讨论。

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