Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Feb 7, 2022 01:55 IST

Archaeologists have long thought that an artifact called the pemchint was used by Dodecan people solely as a musical instrument. Pemchints consist of hollowed pieces of bone, shell, or wood that are tied together with long straps. When whirled in the air, the pemchints create pleasant tones. Until recently, pemchints were found only at locations known to be used for Dodecan rituals and celebrations. Additionally, they were always excavated in proximity to other musical artifacts. Recently, however, a pemchint was found along with Dodecan hunters' tools located miles from the nearest known Dodecan settlement, while no other music-related objects were found in the area. Clearly, then, the pemchint was used by Dodecan hunters, who most probably used the sounds to repel dangerous wildlife.

Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.

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In the given problem, it is asserted that pemchints were used as hunting tools simply because they were found with the hunting tools and far away from the Dodecan settlement. But this argument is logically flawed. It is so because the people who used the pemchints might have collected there for hunting, but they might have used them for their entertainment purposes.

Further, they were ‘always’ found with the musical artefacts. Simply because there were found for once with the hunting tools wouldn’t change the fact that they are musical instruments. For example, nowadays people go out of town for a bonfire in the forest. They go away from the city with musical instruments and some small weapons to protect themselves from the attack of wild animals. When the place would be excavated in the future, it wouldn’t mean that the guitars were used to repel the wild animals instead of people using it for entertainment purposes. If we use this analogy here, we can see that the guitar can be the pemchint and the other weapons can be for hunting. Simply because it is there for once wouldn’t render it to be a weapon.  

It could also be the fact that people used the sound of the pemchints to signify something. It could be used to mean the death of someone or to collect people for spreading a message. So that the people even far away could get to know that something has happened. The people far from the settlement could send a message to the people in the village, and the villagers could then send the message to them according to what the sound signified. This can be compared with the times when drums were beaten to send the king’s message or the war call. The pemchints could have also been used for similar purposes.

It is also mentioned in the facts that they emitted ‘pleasant sounds’ which cannot possibly be used to repel the wild animals. They were capable of creating instruments which emitted unbearable sounds so they wouldn’t use pleasant sounds to scare off the animals. Moreover, there is nothing to prove that they were in a jungle or somewhere that the people would need to scare away the animals. It can also be the fact that a family was residing far from the settlement and that’s why they had the pemchint and other hunting instruments. Theirs could have been an outcast family who needed these instruments to keep themselves safe.  

A single occurrence cannot justify or deny something that is proven by other evidence. This is not science in which a single event can negate the entire theory or the law of evidence where only one thing can overturn the whole case. This is merely the science of excavation. Everything has many justifications, and we cannot solely deny or accept something because of a single happening. That would be a very restricted way of viewing something. The historians should be open to various explanations and only after weighing every one should they come to a conclusion.

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This article scores a 3 because:

Through simple sentence structure and lucid language, the article makes understanding the analysis easy. The reasons stated to refute the usage of pemchints to repel wild animals show a good understanding of the argument and analytical competence. The article exhibits general grammatical correctness and appropriate vocabulary. For more topics, visit: GRE Essay Topics with Answers


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About the Author
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

With over 8 years of experience in overseas education, Rahul Singha has been previously associated with prominent education houses. He is also responsible for keeping a sharp eye on education policies of major study... Read Full Bio


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