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Pompeii, past and present

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Home > Free English Tests for ESL/EFL > English Language Proficiency Test, Advanced Level # 417
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According to geologic and geographical research, Pompeii sits on a spur of lava about 40 meters above sea level. On August 24, 79 AD, it was dominated by a supposedly extinct volcano, Mt. Vesuvius. But on that morning, Vesuvius came alive and terrified residents experienced a hurricane of eruptive materials and gas, dying on the streets as they tried to escape.

Correct answer: (a) spur

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The pressure beneath the surface of Vesuvius was so intense that the top part collapsed inward, forming the current caldera. Despite the cataclysmic event, Pliny the Latin writer was able to record the terrible three day event for posterity.

Correct answer: (d) cataclysmic

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After the disaster, Pompeii would remain buried under a layer of ash more than seven meters deep, all substantiation of the residents existence would lie undiscovered for over 200 years.

Correct answer: (b) substantiation

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A visitor to the Pompeii excavation would experience walking through the grid layout typical of Roman cities. Archaeologists have established that each of the nine areas is analogous to present day city blocks. Every building in the regions is still marked with the original Roman numbers, which indicated an address.

Correct answer: (c) analogous

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The main entrance to the city is the gate facing the sea, named Porta Marina. Two arches in the gate separate the entrances; one was intended for use only by pedestrians, while the other was for use by animals. The structure of the gates indicates that the inside area was probably the city nucleus where trade was conducted.

Correct answer: (b) nucleus

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To the right of the gate are the remains of the Temple of Venus. The building was partially destroyed by an earthquake three years prior to the eruption. Very few remains of the sacred edifice were found, but researchers surmised that the construction materials uncovered were for renovation to the temple.

Correct answer: (d) surmised

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Further ahead on the right are the remains of the Temple of Apollo. A consensus of opinion by stratigraphic experts is that its foundation dates back to the 6th century BC. Although very little remains of the temple, two bronze statues found alongside the portico were in remarkable condition and were placed in the National Archeological Museum in Naples.

Correct answer: (a) consensus

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Close by the temple is the basilica, which was an important part of the city's economic transactions. Its primary function was to be the seat for settling disputes of commercial and civil matters.

Correct answer: (b) transactions

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At one end of the basilica stood the podium used by magistrates to make speeches, introduce problems, and announce decision. But it was also a popular meet place for the general public as deduced by the graffiti that covered the walls with messages written in the Oscan alphabet.

Correct answer: (c) podium

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Architects consider the basilica one of the most interesting and imposing buildings. It is rectangular in shape and divided into three long central halls by two rows of brick columns. Against the side walls are shorter columns topped by an entablature. The long debate as to whether the basilica had a roof or not, was settled when excavation revealed roof materials.

Correct answer: (d) entablature

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