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Hi, for this question I chose D and I was wondering if D is wrong because of the time frame mentioned (I believe the theory only addresses the uses of the envelopes before 4000 B.C.) or because the wording of the answer choice is weak, i.e. just because there is no archaeological evidence, it does not necessarily disprove the theory (classic evidence error?). Would appreciate some clarification, thank you. I do understand that B weakens the theory because it provides an alternate purpose for the envelopes.
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Hi bli2016,

Yes, D is a weak answer because it deals with a time frame that is 1,000 to 100 years before the 3,000 b.c. mentioned in the passage. B gives us an alternative directly attacks the theory, making it a much stronger answer.

Also, remember that the absence of evidence is not proof that something doesn't exist but it can be used to support the argument that it doesn't exist. For example, people have been searching for the lochness monster for a long time, this lack of evidence doesn't prove lochy doesn't exist, but it can be used to call into question the argument that it does exist.
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Can someone please explain why B is the right answer here? Is it because that could mean that the inscripted envelopes were the record of compensation instead of the official record of villagers' contributions?

 Adam Tyson
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You got it, Terilyn! Schmandt-Besserat argues
that the envelopes contained official records of villagers’ contributions to temple-based grain and livestock pools.
What if, instead of being an official record of those contributions, it was just a form of IOU between two private parties who had entered into a private contract? You help me to harvest my crop this year and I will give you some of the crops and some other stuff as a form of payment. That would weaken Schmandt-Besserat's argument by giving us an alternate explanation for the purpose of the envelopes.

Good job, keep it up!
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Understand why B. Want to confirm why D is wrong. The theory is that they contribute to grain / livestock pools; this may encompass labor as well. If the paragraph said they contribute "GRAIN AND LIVESTOCK" would this change the answer? Is this why this is wrong? Thanks.
 Shannon Parker
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We are asked which answer choice "if true, would most call into question Schmandt-Besserat's theory mentioned in lines 28-33?" The theory is that then envelopes found containing tokens were envelopes containing official records of villagers' contributions.

Answer Choice D states "there is no archaeological evidence suggesting that the tokens in use from about 4000 B.C. to 3100 B.C. were necessarily meant to placed in clay envelopes."Answer choice D is incorrect because after 4000 B.C. hundreds of new token forms developed, including figurative ones such as bowls and jars.(Lines 33-37). Evidence about the use of tokens after this development has no effect on how they were used prior to it, and therefore answer choice D does not weaken her theory.
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Can someone explain why C is wrong? I thought this directly called into question that they functioned as records. I can see how B is correct but I can't seem to see how C is incorrect, or even weaker than B.

Thank you!
 Robert Carroll
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Remember that the tokens dating back as far as 4000 BC and the system of marks on tablets that started in 3100 BC are two different recording devices. The theory of Schmandt-Besserat is about the system of tokens, while answer choice (C) is talking about the later system of marked tablets. Information about that later system would not refute the theory.

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Hi, I'm having trouble understanding why D is wrong.

I understand that the lack of evidence that the tokens from 4000 BC to 3100 BC were meant to be placed in envelopes would not have an effect on Schmandt-Besserat's theory about the use of tokens before 4000 BC. However, I don't see how we know that her theory WAS about the use of tokens BEFORE 4000 BC.

The passage says
"LATER envelopes are also inscribed with impressions of tokens in the outer clay, signaling exactly what each envelope contained. Noting that THESE inscriptions are clearly traceable to later, known inscriptions of farm products, Schmandt-Besserat theorizes that THE envelopes contained official records of villagers’ contributions to temple-based grain and livestock pools. After 4000 B.C., hundreds of new token forms developed..."
The passage doesn't state that the theory is limited to the time period before 4000 BC. At most, the passage says that the theory is about "later" envelopes (relative to the "earliest" envelopes). Although the passage does immediately go into talking about post-4000 BC developments, it doesn't say that these post-4000 BC envelopes are somehow different from the "later" envelopes mentioned previously.

Is there another reason why D is wrong? Or is it strictly about the time period?

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