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ОЛИМПИАДА ПО АНГЛИЙСКОМУ ЯЗЫКУ

2014-2015 учебный год

READING
(time 25 minutes)

READING, page 1

UFFINGTON WHITE HORSE: ANCIENT HILLSIDE CHALK ART

When I was a teenager, I once carved my initials and those of my girlfriend into a tree, something
I thought of at the time as being a permanent statement of our eternal devotion to each other. When we
broke up a year later, I felt obliged to return to the tree, put an X through our initials, and add the words
'Null and Void'. The next time I went to find the tree, a number of years after that, it was gone. My guess
is that the tree was so ashamed at having been defaced with self-contradictory graffiti that it simply fell
over in an act of suicidal protest.
The urge to leave one's mark on the landscape – whether in a tree, a newly poured sidewalk, or the
wall of a cave – goes way, way back. One rather unusual form of ancient markings is found in the
picturesque, pastoral setting of rural England. About a 30-minute drive from the city of Oxford is a large
area covered with the rolling green hills and herds of grazing sheep that have found their way into
countless works of literature and film. Beneath the veneer of grass and soil, some of these hills are made
of chalk. And over the millennia, the landscape has become dotted with at least fifty large images made
by carving through the top layers of earth to expose the chalk beneath. Of these, about a dozen are
pictures of horses, and of the horse carvings, the oldest and best known is the Uffington White Horse.

A Horse of a Different Colour
Although less famous than, say, Stonehenge, the Uffington White Horse ranks right up there
among ancient and inexplicable English monuments. It is a highly stylised outline of a horse -
recognisable, but not as well-defined as the other, more solid horse images. The carving is about 374 feet
(113m) long, with the lines forming it ranging in width from about five to ten feet (two to three metres).
This particular carving doesn't actually go all the way through the crust to the chalk beneath; instead, a
relatively shallow trench was dug and filled in with chalk to make it almost flush with the surface.
The Uffington White Horse has the distinction of being the largest of Britain's horse carvings
(measured from head to tail). It's also one of only four such horses facing to the right, though no one
knows for sure the significance of the horse's direction, if any. And it's the oldest horse carving, meaning
it may have served as a prototype for the others.

This Old Horse
Scientists have determined that the carving is about 3,000 years old (give or take a few centuries),
and though it is mentioned in literature dating back to the eleventh century, its original purpose – along
with the identity of its creators – is uncertain. Conjecture ranges from a tribal emblem, the equivalent of a
modern flag, to a commemorative symbol of King Alfred's triumphs over the Danes. Or perhaps it was a
Celtic symbol of the goddess Epona, whose job it was to protect horses. It may have been a territory
marker, or simply (perish the thought) a giant piece of abstract art. Although it has been referred to as a
'horse' for at least 1,000 years, there are some who believe that it was intended to represent a dragon. If
so, then dragons must have been much more horse-shaped in those days. In any case, the carving has been
well tended over the centuries. Every seven years, weeds are removed and the outline smoothed to
maintain its original size and shape.
One of the most interesting things about the Uffington White Horse is that the only place to get a
good view of the whole thing is from the sky above. There are a few spots several miles away that
provide a fair view of most of the outline, but the local topography is such that there is just no vantage
point from which you can get a good view of the whole horse. This has, predictably, led some people to
speculate that it was created as a signal to UFOs, although what exactly it would signify is a bit unclear
('Horses for sale - next exit'?). Be that as it may, this peculiarity of perspective must have made it a
challenge to carve, and it makes the horse's original purpose all the more mysterious.

С was first mentioned 3000 years ago. choose the answer (А. В. D it's the only horse that does not face to the left. С То illustrate our need to preserve the present into the future. I В the horse was originally meant to be a dragon. D is covered in carvings of horses. В То tell us about the damage we can do to the landscape. 45 The true function of the white horse is thought to be A a religious symbol. D is a few centuries older than originally thought. С or D) which you think fits best according to the text. 43 The horse of Uffington differs in that A it's not as well known as many of Britain's monuments. D a mystery. С a decorative design. В lends itself to the creation of hill carvings. В may well have inspired similar designs. 46 The writer believes A the carving looks more like a horse than a dragon. В there's no logical reason to assume the carving was intended for aliens. В a monument to a victory in battle. 44 The White Horse of Uffington A is the largest carved chalk figure in Britain. page 2 Task: For questions 1-7. 47 The writer believes that A the horse may have been built to attract extra terrestrials. 41 Why does the writer tell us about the time he carved initials into a tree? A To prove that he loved his girlfriend. . С is covered in chalk and grass. D the original design is restored every seven years. С the whole horse can be seen well from several places. С it wasn't carved into the chalk like the others. В nobody knows why it was originally built. С the carving has changed shape over the years. READING. D To show that nothing lasts forever. 42 The writer mentions the area around Oxford to illustrate that it A has featured in too many books and films. D it's unclear how the original designers used perspective.