Woven baskets characterized by a particular distinctive pattern have previously been found only in the immediate vicinity of the prehistoric village of Palea and therefore were believed to have been made only by the Palean people. Recently, however, archaeologists discovered such a “Palean” basket in Lithos, an ancient village across the Brim River from Palea. The Brim River is very deep and broad, and so the ancient Paleans could have crossed it only by boat, and no Palean boats have been found. Thus it follows that the so-called Palean baskets were not uniquely Palean.
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.
The argument based on the several observations mentioned seem somehow convincing at first glance, however, if assessed cautiously, many flaws and points needed to be made clearer would appear, representing the untenable nature of this argument. The truth behind the recently found baskets can be further discussed by looking from several, more objective, perspectives.
The argument suggests that because additional baskets of identical pattern has been found near the ancient village of Palea, and because concrete evidence is absent to support that there have been ships to transport the baskets, the baskets must have been made by hands outside the village of Palea. However, many logic fallacies can be found in it.
At first, the argument says the river “is” very deep. People with basic knowledge of geography all know that the earth’s sufaces change throughout time. While plains can rise to be mountains, rivers also can form or disappear if certain climate appears. The Brim River is unconquerable today doesn’t mean there was no way for ancient people to get through it since the river might be shallower and narrower, or did not even exist. The ancient people of Palea might have invented the method to manufacture baskets and then spread the technique outside the village by walking or riding animals.
Secondly, the argument says ancient people could only have access to the other side of the river by boats. If the river was deep and broad like today is, would boats be their only solution? Ancient construction such as bridges which haven’t been found might have served as a medium for them to trade and communicate. And there is possibility that their boats was not found because they were made of wooden materials, which can easily decompose. Even if they could use more durable materials to build their boats, those boats not yet corrupted may stay unexcavated because there is no evidence provided in the argument to show how professional the researchers are. They might range from amateurs to trained scientists, which means certain important part of the research, for example, debris left by ancient boats, might be ignored.
For the above mentioned reasons, the conclusion drawn by the argument appears to be lame and susceptible to criticism. If more solid proof can be presented with more logical elucidation to clarify the above questions, the argument may be more persuasive.
Hi Peter, I thought you did a very good job with this one. One other argument I have heard for this question notes that woven baskets float of course, so many baskets made in Palea may have been lost in floods or by people accidentally dropping the baskets in the river, allowing them to float across the river to the Lithos side, where they were found by the archaeologists.