AP World History Question 1: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 1

1. The writing form depicted in the image above illustrates which of the following advances in human civilization?

  • A. The ability of the Sumerians to create published texts that were widely available to the masses
  • B. The ability of the Sumerians to organize their society more effectively by keeping written records of economic transactions
  • C. The ability of the Sumerians to travel to other parts of the world using advanced wagon-wheel technology
  • D. The ability of the Sumerians to domesticate wild animals for human use

Correct Answer: B


One of the major effects of the development of cuneiform writing was that the civilizations that used it were able to organize effectively, develop written legal codes, keep transaction receipts, sign contracts, and so on, making (B) the best answer. Choice (A) goes too far, as published texts were not widely available until the printing press was invented in early modern Europe. Choices (C) and (D) describe things that the Sumerians did, but the tablet is a record of barley distribution, and thus wheel technology and the domestication of animals are too off-topic for this context.