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Critical Reasoning: Conclusion Weakening Questions

Which of the following, if true, would most weaken the author's contention that a lack of imported ceramics in archaeological digs is a sign of decreased economic activity and disappearing markets?

Incorrect.

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This statement strengthens, not weakens, the author's assertion. If there were fewer cities, this would indicate that markets were indeed contracting.

Incorrect.

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The quality of Roman pottery has no bearing on the author's assertion. The author's assertion relies on the fact that archaeologists could not find imported pottery from the post-Roman era (i.e. the Early Middle Ages).

Incorrect.

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This statement strengthens, not weakens, the author's assertion. If imports of wine in Britain decreased, this would provide another example of a contracting economy.

Incorrect.

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This statement neither weakens nor strengthens the author's assertion. If true, this would apply equally to Roman and post-Roman sites and therefore we cannot use this fact to explain why there is less pottery in post-Roman Britain.

Very good!

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This answer choice provides an alternative explanation for the lack of imported pottery. The existence of domestic pottery indicates that there was a market for these goods and suggests that domestic production of pottery simply displaced imported products.

Archaeologists found a large amount of domestic pottery in digs in Britain from the Early Middle Ages.
Roman-made pottery tended to crumble after several decades.
The number of cities in post-Roman Britain sharply declined.
The archaeological methods used by archaeologists in Britain do not allow them to access all the pottery found in a specific site.
Imports of wine in Britain sharply decreased after the Roman era.