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Beyond The Blue Horizon Reading Test

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

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If you are aiming to excel in your IELTS exam, you need to take the reading section into account and practice for the same. Measure your preparedness for the exam by undertaking as many sample tests as possible. Here’s one curated for you under the name ‘Beyond the Horizon,’ with all the solutions and explanations. Well, all the best for your IELTS!

Lapita, the ancestors of Polynesians

Archaeologists believe Lapita were the first people to inhabit the Pacific Island region and were the ancestors of today's Polynesians. The indigenous Pacific islanders traveled great distances by ocean and never settled on one island.

A recent archaeological discovery points to several facts and data about the Lapita people, their culture, pottery, and living habits.

Efate, also called Vate, is the main island in Vanuatu, located in the southwestern Pacific archipelago. These islands are known for the plantation of different crops since agriculture remains the backbone of the Pacific Islanders. The remains of the Lapita people were discovered when a farm worker was working on an abandoned plantation.

While digging the ground, the worker accidentally hit a grave. It is safe to say the plantation was once a graveyard, and dozens of other graves that can reveal important facts about the Lapita people are concealed underground. This discovery also marks one of the most ancient cemeteries ever discovered in the great Pacific Islands. Soon, archaeologists flocked to the site to learn more about the Lapita people, their daily lives, what they valued, and other essential facts.

The professor of archaeology at the Australian National University, Matthew Spriggs, was the head of the international team digging up the site. He said, 'It's an important discovery for it conclusively identifies the remains as Lapita.'

Archaeologists have uncovered many precious items on Efate island that are important to study the Lapita individuals. The remnants of what seem like 62 Lapita people have been excavated from the site. Other than this, they found Lapita burial urn that displayed intricate designs of birds on its rim and six Lapita pots. It almost looks like the birds are keeping an eye on the human bones and remains buried inside. Researchers are thrilled to find so many essential items at a site that came to light only by chance.

The Lapita people were voyagers with exceptional knowledge of navigation. Their excellent navigation knowledge helped them to traverse thousands of kilometers across the ocean. They settled primarily near the coast rather than inland. They were not explorers who only traveled through the new islands but took these voyages to settle for a specific time. They paused on one island for a generation before launching an expedition to the next island.

These seafaring people carried plants for cultivation, including taro, yam, breadfruit, banana and coconut, domesticated pigs, dogs and fowls. Besides their livestock and seedlings, they transported stone tools and almost everything they would need to start new lives. As their voyages continued, they moved eastward from the jungle-clad volcanic islands of Papua New Guinea to the remotest islands of Tonga and Samoa within several centuries.

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These daring sea voyagers used basic canoes to sail across the ocean. However, no evidence has been found that state how the Lapitas sailed across the sea or how their canoes were built. Many scientists have compared these repeated journeys of the Lapitas to journeys from Earth to the moon. They covered not only great distances but also underwent significant challenges. The present inhabitants of the Polynesian island offer very little insight, and there are no oral traditions that reveal any information about the canoes.

Geoff Irwin, an archaeology professor at University of Auckland stated that we can only be certain about the Lapita canoes capable of undergoing long ocean voyages, and their ability to sail them well. The professor believes that the sailing skills of the Lapitas were slowly developed and bequeathed over the years by mariners who voyaged across the archipelagoes present in the western Pacific. The Lapitas traveled far without any island in sight. But the question remains at the back of the mind, how did they undertake these perilous journeys?

According to Professor Irwin, its drive in the Pacific was towards east, contrary to the typical trade winds. These strong headwinds gave them the confidence that they could catch one of these winds and head back to the island. They sailed for days into the unknown, following leads like twigs, coconuts and seabirds. They also relied on the afternoon clouds that often indicated land near the horizon.

The geological features of their archipelagoes safeguarded the returning explorers after their voyages. Without geography, it's easy to get lost in the sea. For instance, the island of Vanuatu covers over 500 miles in the northwest and southeast. The small islands in the archipelago were indistinguishable, and explorers returning home to the island could identify them from a great distance.

Atholl Anderson, a learned prehistory professor at Australian National University, stated that the Lapita's skill of navigating the ocean using the wind points to the fact that the Lapita had gained mastery of the progressive art of sailing the boat against the massive winds. There is no proof, but individuals have built replicas of their possible canoes to follow the routes taken by the Lapita to discover their practices and techniques in the sea.

Professor Anderson also refers to El Nino for the Lapita's frequent voyages. There has been frequent episodes of El Ninos during the time Lapitas were moving across different islands. The typical east-west trade wind flow was reversed by the big El Ninos, forcing the Lapitas to move across the ocean.

Since the Pacific was too vast, maybe they were exhausted from their voyages and decided to end the explorations after spreading almost a quarter of the Pacific islands. The population of the Lapitas was limited to a couple thousand. Among the several islands they visited during their eastward migration, they set foot in 300 Fiji Islands.

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Questions 1-5

Completing Summary 

Complete the summary using the list of words and phrases, A-J, below.

Write the correct letter, A-J, in boxes 1-5 on your sheet.

  1. Proof 
  2. Harbour
  3. Data
  4. Burial urn
  5. Animals
  6. Plantation
  7. Bones
  8. Archaeological discovery
  9. Source
  10. Maps 

The Efate burial site 

  • A 3,000-year-old burial ground of seafaring people called the Lapita has been found on an abandoned 1_ on the Pacific Island of Efate.
  • The cemetery, which is a significant 2_, was uncovered accidentally by an agricultural worker.
  • The Lapita explored and colonized many Pacific islands over several centuries. They took many things with them on their voyages, including 3_ and tools.
  • The burial ground increases the amount of information about the Lapita available to scientists. A team of researchers led by Matthew Spriggs from the Australian National University, are helping with the excavation of the site. Spriggs believes the 4_ found at the site is very important since it confirms that the 5_ found inside are Lapita.

Questions 6-9

Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.

Write the correct letter in boxes 6-9 on your answer sheet.

6. According to the writer, there are difficulties explaining how the Lapita accomplished their journeys because

A: Archaelogists have shown limited interest in this area of research.

B: Technological advances have altered the way such achievements are viewed.

C: Little information relating to this period can be relied upon for accuracy.

D: The canoes that have been discovered offer relatively few clues.

7. According to the sixth paragraph, what was extraordinary about the Lapita?

A: They sailed beyond the point where land was visible.

B: They were able to build canoes that withstood ocean voyages.

C: Their cultural heritage discouraged the expression of fear.

D: Their navigational skills were passed on from one generation to the next.

8. What does 'This' refer to in the seventh paragraph?

A: The Lapita’s extensive knowledge of the region.

B: The Lapita’s ability to detect signs of land.

C: The Lapita’s seafaring talent.

D: The Lapita's belief they would be able to return home.

9. According to the eighth paragraph, how was the geography of the region significant?

A: It meant there were relatively few storms at sea.

B: It made a large number of islands habitable.

C: It provided a navigational aid for the Lapita.

D: It played an important role in Lapita culture.

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Questions 10-14

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in Reading Passage?

In boxes 10-14 on your answer sheet, write

YES if the statement agrees with the views of the writer

NO if the statement contradicts the views of the writer

NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

10. It is now clear that the Lapita could sail into a prevailing wind.

11. Extreme climate conditions may have played a role in Lapita migration.

12. The Lapita learnt to predict the duration of El Ninos.

13. It remains unclear why the Lapita halted their expansion across the Pacific.

14. It is likely that the majority of Lapita settled on Fiji.





F (plantation)

It is mentioned in the passage, line 6, paragraph 3 of 'Beyond the blue horizonIELTS reading sample, that a farmer hit a grave while working on an abandoned plantation.


H (archaeological discovery)

You can find the answer in the IELTS reading sample ‘Beyond the blue horizon.’ The site led to the critical discovery of remains of the Lapita people and a few of their belongings. Also, it was the oldest cemetery ever found in the Islands of Pacific.


E (Animals)

We find that the Lapita people carried everything they needed to settle in a new place, including seeds to grow plants and crops, livestock, and stone tools.


D (Burial Urn)

In the beyond the blue horizon IELTS reading sample, the answer is mentioned in paragraph six. We find the mention of all the items excavated from the site. It is mentioned a Lapita burial urn with birds designed on the rim was found.


G (Bones)

The answer can be found in the beyond the blue horizon IELTS reading sample, in paragraph 6, line 4. It’s mentioned that the birds seem to be closely watching human remains inside Lapita.



No remains of the Lapita's canoes have been found. No reliable information states how the canoes sailed in the ocean. 



In the beyond the blue horizon reading answers IELTS sample, it is mentioned that the Lapita individuals sailed farther into the ocean without any shore or land nearby.



We find the fact in the passage of 'beyond the blue horizon' that Lapitas sailed out for days into the unknown to assess the area, knowing that if they didn't discover anything, they could always return to the island by catching on the trade winds.



In the eighth paragraph, the passage mentions that the topography of the archipelagos could be identified from a distance, and this worked to the advantage of the explorers returning home to the islands.



Professor Anderson mentions that the Lapita were experts in sailing against the wind.



In the second last paragraph, it is mentioned that Professor Anderson thinks that El Nino and the related climatic conditions were responsible for the Lapita's frequent voyages.


Not Given

No statement in the paragraph beyond the blue horizon reading answers IELTS sample supports this.



The last paragraph in the passage mentions the reasons are not known for why the Lapitas decided to quit their voyages.


Not Given

There is no statement that supports this.

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