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Argument Essay - Palean Baskets

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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 author implies that Palean baskets were not uniquely palean due to the absence of palean boats and magnanimous size of the Brim river along with the discovery of “palean” baskets in Lithos. This argument is based on various assumptions like the Brim river has not changed in depth and/or width since prehistoric times. Also, the transportation system of the time in which palean basket was prevalent has not been thoroughly stated and the possibility of many modes other than Brim river is undermined in the argument.

First and foremost reason weakening the argument is that the brim river’s gigantic dimensions have not been clearly stated.  It is possible that the river might be mightier during the prehistoric times. This could have been conducive to trading of the Palean baskets to neighbouring areas on foot. In due course  of time the river might have been inundated with water and thus this undermines the statement “and so the ancient Paleasn could have crossed it only by the boat”.

Even if we continue with the assumption of Brim river being deep and broad, absence of Palean boats does not necessarily mean absence of commodity exchange between Paleans and Lithos. No clear mention of the prehistoric time beign devoid of any boats is stated. This leads to the possibility of presence of other communities’ boats leading to facilitation of movement of Palean baskets from Palea to other areas. Lithos could fetch the baskets from Palea in their own boats – not requiring Paleans’ boats. This could also lead to the possibility of Lithos being tradesmen. Hence the conclusion can not be based on the absence of Palean boats.

Moreover, no clear mention of any other mode of transporting goods, particularly baskets, have been mentioned. This is a clear indicative of a weak argument based on the assumption that Brim river is the only mode through which movement of Palean basket could have  been made possible. People at the prehistoric times might be creative to trade by making hanging rope structures through which only baskets and money in return could be moved. Also, use of trained  animals as carriers could have been prevelant.

We can thus project that the author’s argument is based on many assumptions that are not thoroughly supported by facts required.

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