Since the last column I wrote, the PAC board and I
have tried to find ways to address our concerns about Act 70 and
the destruction of archaeological sites. Act 70 is the amendment
to the state History Code, which gave the PHMC responsibility for
investigating "known" archaeological sites in state permitted areas.
In September, Dan Roberts, Pat Miller, Sarah Neusius, Ira Beckerman,
and I met with Janet Klein, Chairman of the PHMC Commissioners and
Dr. Brent Glass, Executive Director of the PHMC to express our concerns.
Mrs. Klein was especially receptive and invited us to attend the
next and all Commissioners meetings. Dr. Glass indicated he had
not completed his review of Joe Baker's annual report, but that
he was making some changes in the program, including an increase
in the budget and a change in the management of the program to produce
more reports on the investigations. I view both of these as positive
steps, although I don't think they solve the major drawbacks of
In October, I attended the PHMC Commissioners meeting
in Pittsburgh, where the report was briefly discussed. I was given
an opportunity to address the Commissioners and made three points:
1. Since there was some concern in the Commissioners
discussion that the general public was not supportive of the idea
of spending public funds to protect archaeological sites, I told
them about the national poll that the SAA and NPS on public attitudes
on archaeology. The poll results show that the American public is
interested in archaeological sites and feels that they should be
preserved or protected even if public funds must be spent for this.
(I encourage all of you to look at the results of the poll on the
SAA website at http://www.saa.org).
2. My second point was that, based on the Commonwealth
Archaeological Program report, we now know that significant archaeological
sites are being destroyed.
3. Finally, I pointed out that the legislature gave
the PHMC the responsibility to investigate these sites. The PHMC
has said that they can only investigate a limited number of sites
with the funds that are available. This may be reality, but I noted
that other agencies haven't been successful with this argument.
The Commissioners have appointed a committee, chaired
by Jim Adovasio to look at the program. This committee will report
at the next meeting in late January. I would urge you to attend
the meeting in Harrisburg.
On another note, in the past six months, three individuals
who had an enormous influence on archaeological investigations in
the state have left their positions. Wayne Kober, Director of the
Bureau of Environmental Quality of the Pennsylvania Department of
Transportation retired in July, Dan Johnson of the Federal Highway
Administration in Harrisburg moved to the Maryland State Office,
and Brenda Barrett Director of the Bureau for Historic Preservation
of the PHMC resigned under pressure. For at least the past 15 years,
these three supported the preservation and protection of archaeological
resources in their agencies. I will miss them all, even through
I am sure that their agencies will continue to support the same
policies. Brenda is a PAC member and I wish her the best in her
new position with the Heritage Parks Program in the Department of
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
There were no submissions for this edition.
In an effort to shine some light onto the "gray" literature, the
editor requests submissions for the Current Research column. These
should be short descriptions of on-going or recently completed work.
Reference to the full report should be included, if available. Please
forward such items to the editor (see below).
Archaeological Activities at the US Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh
The Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District, is responsible
for inland river navigation, as well as, flood control and other civil
works water-related resources in western Pennsylvania and portions
of surrounding states. Due to its position on the steeper headwaters
of the upper Ohio River, this district maintains more navigation lock
and dam facilities than any other Corps district nationwide.
The District's current Lower Monongahela River (a.k.a. Lower Mon)
Project is a $705 million modernization project for Locks and Dams
2, 3 and 4, the oldest on the river. Due to the planned elimination
of Locks and Dam 3, the Lower Mon Project will have impacts beyond
the immediate facility construction sites. Pool changes to accommodate
the removal of Dam 3 (a combination of lowering Pool 3 and raising
Pool 2) necessitate shoreside facility relocations, one bridge relocation
and dredging in Pool 3 to maintain navigable depths.
The District complied with federal historic preservation statutes
by executing a Programmatic Agreement with the Advisory Council on
Historic Preservation and the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation
Officer in 1992 prior to congressional authorization of the Lower
Mon Project. Since 1992, the District has been executing cultural
resource studies on components of the project tied to the project's
construction schedule. The Programmatic Agreement required District
to nominate the Monongahela River locks and dams to the National Register
of Historic Places. This is an overview of some cultural resource
studies conducted for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District
to help with Section 106 compliance for the Lower Mon Project.
- The Monongahela River Navigation System (locks, dams, etc.) may
be eligible for listing on the National Register under Criterion
A. Research on four themes were undertaken to place the Mon River
Navigation System in its historic context including: the western
movement; boat building; community development; and the coal, coke,
iron, and steel industries of the Monongahela River Valley. Structural
inventory forms were recorded for all the Mon River Locks and Dams
in PA and WV. In addition, as a mitigation feature, the Monongahela
River Navigation System is being documented with Historic American
Engineering Record archival quality, large-format photographs, written
text, and architectural line drawings including a system overview
and details of Locks and Dams 2, 3, 4, and 7.
- The District completed a detailed, comprehensive technical study
of the Monongahela River locks and dam engineering technology as
part of our effort to evaluate the engineering significance of the
Mon River Navigation System for the National Register under Criterion
- A thematic survey of district Civil Works residences built for
federal employees working as lock tenders at navigation facilities
or dam tenders at flood control facilities was completed recently.
In June 2000, this study was awarded the Vernacular Architecture
Forum's Paul E. Buchanan award for excellence in field studies.
- Underwater archaeology studies were undertaken for proposed dredging
and filling locations within Mon River Pools 2 and 3. The Phase
I remote sensing (side scan sonar and magnetometer) study identified
potentially sensitive underwater targets. The Phase II study found
three 19th century wooden barges or vessels for hauling coal, a
19th century anchor, and misc. debris. Our dredging and disposal
operations in the pool will not affect the sunken vessels.
- A Phase IA literature search for the shorelines along Lower Mon
Pools 2 and 3 and a landform assessment study of terraces along
Pools 2 and 3 was conducted since future pool changes may affect
shoreline resources. The assessment identifies areas that may have
potential for intact buried prehistoric or historic archaeological
sites. Phase I field investigations are slated for 2001 and 2002.
Archaeological Site 36AL480 Discovered at Leetsdale Casting Facility
The District is employing an innovative "in-the-wet" construction
technique for building the new Braddock Dam to replace existing Dam
2. The base of the dam is being constructed in two large segments
at a remote fabrication site at Leetsdale Industrial Park along the
Ohio River. The fabrication site occupies about 30 acres of land along
the Ohio River about 15 miles down river from Pittsburgh and 26 miles
from the new dam site at Braddock.
A Phase I archaeological investigation was undertaken to locate and
identify cultural resources that may be present in the Leetsdale fabrication
area. Site 36AL480 was identified during this study. Additional field
investigations at the site revealed numerous features and cultural
strata. Cultural occupations ranging from the Middle Archaic period
(ca. 6,000 B.C.) through the Historic period were identified within
the upper 4 m of soils. The site is approximately 12 acres in size.
The Pennsylvania Bureau for Historic Preservation and the District
have concurred that site 36AL480 is eligible for the National Register
under Criterion D.
The historic component of site 36AL480 is a brickworks, dating from
the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, owned by the Harmonist
Society. Phase II studies identified intact subsurface structural
remains of five kiln foundations and several other structures. The
core of the industrial site possesses good integrity. Data recovery
work has begun on the brickworks component. Fieldwork on the historic
component will be completed in the spring of 2001. Data recovery excavations
on the prehistoric components of the site are currently scheduled
More specific information regarding cultural resources studies for
the Lower Mon project can be found in the District newsletter, The
Monongahela Packet, Historical Bulletin for the Lower Mon Project.
For a complete copy of this newsletter, web cam views of the dam construction
site, and the latest on the archaeological investigations, visit our
web site at http://www.lrp.usace.army.mil/
Questions on Mon River cultural resources or the compliance process
may be directed to Mr. Conrad Weiser at 412-395-7220. Questions on
the Lower Mon Project may be directed to Mr. Hank Edwardo, Project
Manager, at 412-395-7374. General questions on the Pittsburgh District
mission and activities may be directed to Mr. Richard Dowling, Public
Affairs Office, at 412-395-7501.
Submitted by Lori Frye and Conrad Weiser
Coverts Bridge Project
Between 1998 and 2000, GAI Consultants, Inc. (GAI) conducted Phase
I-III excavations at the Coverts Bridge Site (36Lr228), Lawrence County,
Pennsylvania for Taylor Engineering and the Pennsylvania Department
of Transportation. Coverts Bridge is a late-Late Woodland/Protohistoric
camp located on the floodplain of the Mahoning River in Mahoning Township,
west of New Castle. A second prehistoric site, the Coverts Crossing
Site, was recently excavated by GAI on the opposite side of the Mahoning
River for the same project. Results of these excavations were reported
in the last issue of the PAC newsletter and in a recently submitted
Phase I-III technical report.
The Coverts Bridge Site was first identified in 1998 during GAI's
Phase I survey of the impact area of the Coverts Crossing Bridge Replacement
Project. Phase I surface collection and shovel testing within the
APE recovered 13 lithic debitage from seven shovel test pits. Subsequent
Phase II excavations uncovered three features and over 200 prehistoric
artifacts, including small grit-tempered ceramic fragments. Phase
II features included two storage pits and a roasting pit, the latter
of which yielded a burned corn cob and a calibrated age of AD 1480.
Phase III data recovery yielded an additional 500 artifacts from 30
1x1-m (3x3-foot) test units, as well as one prehistoric feature which
possessed a calibrated age of AD 1660.
Phase I-III excavations revealed artifacts and features from a single
late Holocene buried soil. Artifacts recovered include eight pitted
cobbles, 25 untyped prehistoric ceramic fragments and two triangle
points. Immunological analysis indicates that the pitted cobbles were
used to process black walnut and possibly rabbit, and one of the triangle
points was used to hunt deer. Botanical remains from features indicated
the processing of black walnut and assorted wild berries.
Coverts Bridge lithic artifacts were produced almost exclusively
of locally-collected cherts, including Mahoning (Sky Hill), Onondaga,
and Gull River (Yellow Onondaga). A majority of Mahoning chert, and
all Onondaga and Gull River chert, was collected as secondary cobbles,
while some Mahoning chert was also collected from primary sources
a few kilometers north of the site. Non-local lithic raw materials,
including Ten Mile, Uniontown, Flint Ridge, and Upper Mercer cherts,
comprise approximately 10 percent of lithic artifacts, suggestive
of small-scale down-the-line trading or travel to the south and west.
As with the Coverts Crossing Site across the river, non-local lithic
data suggest that Coverts Bridge was used as a seasonal camp by Late
Woodland individuals with links to the Monongahela culture to the
south, rather than to Proto-Iroquois cultures to the north.
In summary, Late Woodland/Protohistoric forager-farmers used Coverts
Bridge as a short-term campsite on at least two occasions in the late
summer and fall between AD 1480 and AD 1660. These data complement
those collected at the Coverts Crossing Site across the river which
revealed at least three short-term seasonal encampments between AD
1050 and AD 1200. Although no postholes or other typical village traits
were identified during excavations at either site, the two storage
features at Coverts Bridge indicate the preservation of foodstuffs.
These data suggest that both the Coverts Bridge and Coverts Crossing
Sites were short-term seasonal camps used during the late Holocene.
Even more than the Coverts Crossing Site, the Coverts Bridge Site
was a special-purpose camp, in which nuts, berries, and small mammals
were processed and perhaps stored for future use by individuals living
in the Mahoning River valley of Lawrence County, northwestern Pennsylvania.
Public outreach was an important component of the project and included
site tours for school groups, as well distribution of a trifold brochure
and two Byways to the Past newsletters to schools, historical societies,
and libraries in Lawrence County. In addition, research results were
presented to various schools and organizations, including Mohawk Regional
High School (North Beaver Township, Lawrence County), George Washington
Elementary School (New Castle), the Lawrence County Historical Society
(New Castle), and the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology (Butler
Please contact Douglas H. MacDonald, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator
of the Coverts Crossing Project (email@example.com,
412-856-9220x1375), if you would like more information regarding these
projects and/or if you would like to participate in a symposium on
the Late Woodland period in the Upper Ohio River region at the 2001
ESAF or 2002 SAA meetings.
Douglas H. MacDonald
River Avenue Redevelopment Project
A recent Phase III data recovery project in Pittsburgh, conducted
in advance of the Heinz Plant expansion, has uncovered well-preserved
archaeological resources to a late nineteenth-century tannery. The
work was conducted for the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
(URA) by GAI Consultants, Inc. under the direction of Ben Resnick
(Principal Investigator) and Kim Parson (Field Director). During the
late nineteenth century, leather and wool production comprised the
most important industries in Duquesne Borough and Allegheny City (today
Pittsburgh's Northside). Tannery remains at the site comprise one
of only a few archaeological examples of this industry identified
in Pennsylvania despite the fact that more tanneries were located
in the state from circa 1880 to 1920 than anywhere in the nation.
Based on information collected to date, it appears that the site represents
the sole example of a small, late nineteenth-century urban tannery
in Pennsylvania and possibly the region
Archaeological investigations consisting of both mechanical and hand
excavation identified significant historic archaeological resources
associated with the operation and layout of the Adam Wiese & Company
Tannery (ca. 1873-1890). These include the discovery of important
construction details of the leaches and lime and tanning vats, information
that is generally unavailable from the historical record. Investigation
of the leaches, for example, provides important data on the architecture
and physical organization of the Wiese Tannery Leach House where the
production of tannin took place (leaching water through ground bark).
In 1880 Adam Wiese employed 5 men working 10-hours days at his Allegheny
City tannery at a rate of $2.25 per day. During this period, Wiese
reported the production of 7,800 skins with the value of products
at $10,500. Skins, which may have included sheep pelts, were used
to manufacture various products, including shoe uppers and gloves.
Based on a review of Adam Wiese's 1887 probate inventory, we also
know that harness leather was produced at the tannery.
In addition to tannery remains, archaeological features and deposits
relating to mid-nineteenth to early twentieth-century tenements were
uncovered. Discovery of a block of row house foundations, cellars,
privies, and historic yard deposits are likely associated with industrial
workers. Archaeological and cartographic evidence suggests that the
tenement buildings were constructed in two distinct phases. It appears
that, for a time, these one- to two-story tenements were affiliated
with the extensive A. & J. Groetzinger's Labelle Tannery located adjacent
and south of the Wiese Tannery. Initial laboratory analysis suggests
that one of the above-noted privies contains artifacts (ceramics,
patent medicine bottles, cut bone, seeds, coins) dating to circa 1850-1880
prior to the construction of the tenement building and Labelle Tannery,
at a time when the parcel was occupied by an earlier planing mill.
As part of GAI's continuing public education and outreach efforts,
a site tour was conducted and public information flyer was produced
for the project. This work also involves public presentations of project
results. The draft technical report is in preparation.
(See Committee Reports)
Archaeology Month Excavations on City Island 2000 PAC members played
an invaluable role in the 2001 City Island Archaeology Project. The
2001 program, the sixth cosponsored by the PHMC and the City of Harrisburg,
saw over 1,800 middle school students, and thousands of walk-on visitors
attend the celebration. This year's visitors viewed the exposure and
partial excavation of a large 19th century feature with intact Native
American features sealed below it. The project's field lab, again
staffed by the Londonderry School of Dauphin County, employed sophisticated
imaging technology in the identification of artifacts from the site.
Indeed, the lab was even visited by Dr. Roger Easton of the Rochester
Institute of Technology, one of the foremost authorities on imaging
technology and historic documents and objects in the United States!
The popular experimental archaeology program boasted a Knapp-in featuring
five accomplished flint knappers all working on a common experiment
with South Mountain Rhyolite; the construction of a Clemson Island
phase "proto-longhouse", keyhole structure, and bark-lined pit; a
Native American garden; and a variety of experiments. The experiments
included the manufacture and firing of native ceramics, a replicative
use-wear experiment in hide scraping, and some fire-cracked rock experiments
as well. The 2000 Archaeology Month Essay Contest winners were honored
in a ceremony on the island, and First Lady Michele Ridge made a surprise
appearance on-site for the final day. PAC members assisted in the
excavation, in talking with visiting students and adults, in the lab,
and in the experiments, and made an enormous contribution to the project.
Many thanks to the individual PAC members, companies, and organizations
that volunteered their time, efforts, and resources to the project.
This years participants included the Allegheny Heritage Development
Corporation, Archaeological and Historical Consultants, the Army Corps
of Engineers: Pittsburgh District, GAI Consultants, Heberling Associates,
Kittatinny Archaeological Research, KCI Technologies, and Indiana
University of Pennsylvania. We look forward to PAC's continued involvement
Joseph Baker and Gary Coppock
[Members are invited to submit comments on issues of current concern.
With luck, varying points of view will be presented.]
NO SUBMISSIONS FOR THIS ISSUE
PAC COMPUTER USER'S
Personal Data Assistants or PDAs are going to be
the next big technological development (if they are not already).
PDAs got their start when Palm, Inc. introduced the Palm Pilot and
the Palm Operating System (OS). The Palm Pilot is a handheld computer
the size of a calculator designed to keep appointment records, contact
telephone numbers, and travel account information. It uses a type
of handwriting recognition system (you have to make the characters
in a specified Palm Pilot notation protocol) to take short notes,
up to 4K.
Palm Pilots and PDAs first made inroads with many
corporate executives who found them to be useful in organizing daily
tasks, contacts, and business functions. However, early Palm PDAs
were limited the fact that for most people, keeping a paper calendar
organizing book did just about as much for them as the PDA, and
at a much cheaper price.
Early Palm PDA models employed a black-and-white touch
screen for data entry. One limitation was that the screens were
hard to see in bright sunlight. More recent models (notably the
Palm V series) have improved the black-and-white screen to eliminate
this problem. Color touch screen models were introduced by Palm,
but these are still difficult to view in bright sunlight. Early
Palm PDAs also had limited memory for storing data. More recent
Palm models (usually those having an "x" for extended memory as
part of their model code) have effectively addressed the memory
problem. User's download the Palm PDA's information to their desktop
computer by means of software and a cable connecting the Palm to
the desktop's RS232C serial port. Palm software synchronizes files
on the Palm PDA with various desktop programs (i.e., it matches
files on the two systems and automatically updates files to the
most recent version to insure data are identical). Palm software
for the desktop is included with the PDA when it is purchased. Synchronization
insures that data and appointments can then be viewed on both the
desktop and PDA when needed.
Palm's success at introducing PDAs was soon followed
by the inevitable copycats. Clones of Palms were developed by several
different companies, the most successful being Handspring, Inc.
Also, the Palm OS is an open one. Many software developers have
written programs for use with the Palm OS, greatly expanding PDA
usefulness. There now are spreadsheet, database, accounting (including
Palm versions of most desktop personal accounting software) and
many other programs that can be purchased from third parties for
use on Palm or Palm clone PDAs. Unfortunately, PDA software can
not handle all complex spreadsheet and database formats employed
on desktops and mainframes due to memory limitations. Still, simple
spreadsheets and databases can be designed and used on the PDAs.
The data can be transferred to desktop systems where they are converted
for use with specific desktop PC software (always check to be certain
the PDA software is compatible with a desktop program you use since
data exchange is determined by the PDA software writer).
Once Palm PDAs were established as a useful tool for
executives, it wasn't long until Microsoft cast a lustful eye at
the emerging PDA market. Microsoft developed Windows CE for use
on PDAs, but the first few versions did not make much of an impact
on the PDA market. Palm and its clones still hold, by a very large
margin, the majority stake in the PDA market. Nevertheless, Microsoft
keeps plugging away.
I see the competition between the Palm- and Microsoft-based
PDAs as paralleling competition that occurred during the initial
years of desktop computers. Apple introduced the first really useful
personal computer (PC). IBM tried to come up with its own PC running
a Microsoft OS and failed dismally at first (remember the IBM jr.?).
However, Microsoft and IBM (and their clones) continued to develop
their OS and hardware eventually supplanting Apple as the preferred
desktop system. I would not be surprised to see a similar fate befall
Palm PDAs and the Palm OS with Microsoft eventually winning the
battle. The primary reason for this is Palm OS and software has
to be converted to Microsoft desktop software. Some of this is automatic,
depending on the software, others require a third party translating
program. Since the majority of desktop computer users currently
use Microsoft desktop software, any PDA system that easily transfers
data between the two will become the preferred one.
Palm, Inc., seems to be happy to continue with its
own OS and is not worried about the Microsoft initiative. Probably
the early users of PDAs, who own Palm systems, will remain loyal
to them, just as Apple computer users did with the early desktop
systems. Palm and Palm clone users are the majority of PDA owners,
currently accounting for over 90% of PDA purchases. However, it
isn't going to be the current users who will determine the ultimate
outcome of the race. New users who enter the PDA market without
any favored position concerning the type of OS used will be the
ones who decide the outcome.
It was in this position that I found myself earlier
this year. I did not have a PDA and had no opinion concerning the
viability of any particular PDA OS. Frankly, I had not thought much
about them or the need for using a PDA. However, the Hawk Migration
Association of North American (HMANA, the folks that count migrating
hawks at hawk watches), decided that PDAs would be useful as a method
of record keeping at the sites. I happen to be a HMANA member and
run a hawk watch up at Brady's Bend, Pennsylvania during fall weekends.
HMANA officers believed PDAs could be used to record daily counts
at the hawk watches in real time. The data could then be downloaded
to desktops for modem transmission to permanent record depositories
(Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and Hawk Mountain Nature Preserve).
PDAs would eliminate the need to fill out paper field forms, copy
them, and send them via snail mail to the record depositories. Most
HMANA board members (I am not on the board) have various models
of Palm Pilots and decided on an initiative to develop a Palm OS-based
system for recording migration data. Unfortunately, this would necessitate
someone creating or writing new software to do this, since existing
Palm OS software was not capable of doing the task. The HMANA board
hoped to get Palm, Inc. or a granting agency to fund development
of the software. It was at this point that I learned about the HMANA
initiative. It sounded interesting to me, and it spurred me to think
about how a PDA might prove useful for recording information at
archaeological excavations and other projects.
I have never been one to look for special software
to do what I think is a fairly uncomplicated task (and I wrote a
lot of my own statistical software in BASIC back in the early days
of PCs, and did some FORTRAN mainframe programming during grad school
at the University of Pittsburgh). I don't like small-scale proprietary
software since it is very likely the person(s) who developed the
software will eventually move on to other things leaving it unsupported.
Also, OS systems evolve and it is likely that the proprietary software
will eventually not work on upgraded systems. Basically, I feel
it is unwise to invent new software for systems when there are existing
supported software alternatives. I decided to investigate alternatives
to the HMANA initiative after talking it over with some of the people
The HMANA initiative suggested using the Palm Vx as
the system of choice. The Palm Vx uses a bright black-and-white
touch screen that is easily seen in sunlight. I looked at the system
and was rather underwhelmed by its capabilities. It came with the
basic Palm OS software (i.e., date book [calendar], address book,
to do list, memo pad [character recognition entry] for taking short
notes, calculator, expense software, and Email reader [downloaded
from your desktop PC and it recognizes most common formats]). None
of these things were really all that useful to me and certainly
not at the $399 list price for a Palm Vx. To make the Palm Vx useful,
third party software would have to be purchased, such as a spreadsheet
or database, etc. This would drive price of a useable system to
over $500 at the very least. Also, depending on the software purchased,
there was no assurance the data would easily convert to the Microsoft
desktop software I use.
I started looking around over the summer at various
PDA systems. I heard that Microsoft was coming out with a new version
of its Windows CE OS and that Hewlett-Packard, Casio, and Compaq
were developing systems based on Windows CE 3.0. Windows CE 3.0
systems include what are called "pocket" (since Windows CE-based
systems are often called Pocket PCs to distinguish them from the
Palms) versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, Money, and Outlook. It
should be noted that Windows CE versions 1 and 2 DO NOT include
pocket versions of Word, Excel, etc. I decided to wait and check
these new systems before purchasing a PDA since I use Microsoft
Office software (including Word, Excel and Outlook) at work and
home. The ability to easily interchange PDA and desktop files appealed
to me. I also believed a usable spreadsheet employing a simple form
could accomplish the recording tasks needed at hawk watch sites.
Hewlett-Packard's Jornada 540 series and Casio's Cassiopeia
E-125 were the first out on the market with Windows CE 3.0. Both
of these systems have color touch screens for data entry. Both systems
were priced at $549 and had Pocket Word, Excel, Money, Outlook and
other built in software. The Pocket PCs would easily exchange and
read files, without conversion, with desktop versions of the same
programs. However, after looking at the systems, the color screens
were hard to see in bright sunlight, making them unusable outdoors
on bright days (such as occur on hawk watches or archaeological
Finally, the $499 Compaq iPaq 3630/3650 (the two
numbers represent the same computer, the different model numbers
are employed so Compaq can track sales through non-Compaq outlets,
iPaq 3630, and direct Compaq sales, iPaq 3650) arrived in late July,
2000. It had all the MS software found on the other two Pocket PCs,
but had a good color touch screen easily viewable in bright sunlight.
In addition, it has a digital voice recorder built into it, can
play MP3 recordings, and has a Pocket PC book reader. The spreadsheet,
word processing software with both keyboard stylus or character
recognition entry, voice recorder, and viewable color screen sold
me. I purchased an iPaq 3630 from a local Staples outlet in August
I initially had some problems with the iPaq 3630 when
I tried to install it as the picture setup instructions indicated.
This was largely due to erroneous instructions issued with the Compaq
iPaq. If you do purchase this system, DO NOT hook it up directly
to your PC and charge the battery BEFORE installing the software
as it shows in the installation instructions. Install the software
on your PC first, or you will have to delete it and go through some
nasty contortions to reinstall everything before synchronization
will work. However, once that problem was straightened out, the
iPaq synchronizes without problems with my desktop PC.
I am currently using my iPaq 3630 to record hawk watch
data on a Pocket Excel spreadsheet at Brady's Bend. The iPaq Pocket
Excel generated file is read directly by my Office 2000 version
of Excel and I am pleased with the results.
The iPaq 3630/3650 comes with Microsoft Outlook for
scheduling appointments. I am currently using Outlook on my iPaq
3630 to schedule field visits to proposed strip mine sites and other
business meetings, and to record contact information (names, telephone
numbers, addresses, etc.). I also download the information to my
home desktop version of Microsoft Outlook 2000 where I can check
on meetings that will occur the next day, etc. It will be even more
useful to me when the State of Pennsylvania finishes converting
everyone in the state system to Windows NT and Microsoft Office
2000, which includes Microsoft Outlook for setting up appointments.
For example, Outlook can be used to check all Bureau for Historic
Preservation employee appointment calendars and then set up joint
meetings and block off the time when all the people are available.
[Thanks Big Brother! - editorial comment, PAP]
PDAs would make useful field recorders for archaeological
projects. PDAs could be used to record various types of archaeological
data, such as feature and excavation unit information. They could
also be used to assign lot/catalog numbers in the field and then
easily transfer these data to desktop systems at the processing
lab. Another possible useful function of PDAs are as GPS units.
Some GPS manufacturers have produced modules that attach to PDA
models (check to see availability since they do not work with every
model out there) permitting field archaeologists to record site
I have also used my Compaq iPaq 3630 to take meeting
notes (it does not have a 4K limit per note file as found in the
Palms), and I find it easier to use than a laptop for taking notes
at conference presentations. There is a built-in character recognition
program for entering notes, or an onscreen keyboard can be used
to enter each letter using the stylus and a hunt-and-peck entry
method. I prefer the latter method because I find it faster and
more reliable than character recognition. Portable external keyboards
for data entry are available for most Palm OS models and will soon
be available for Windows CE 3.0 models. The portable keyboards I
have seen for the Palms can either be rolled up or folded for easy
transport in a briefcase.
The biggest problem for use at archaeological excavation
projects would be to keep PDAs relatively clean. Dirt can get under
the touch screens of most models, making it difficult to enter data
without cleaning (and this usually will have to be done by the company
manufacturing the system).
Another problem would be battery life. PDAs use either
rechargeable batteries or replaceable AA alkaline batteries, depending
on the model. Each system has advantages and disadvantages. Battery
life also is determined to some extent by the type of view screen
used. Color screens use up battery power at a much faster rate than
black-and-white ones. Palm OS black-and-white screen PDAs have batteries
the can last several weeks under optimal conditions. The Compaq
iPaq 3630/3650 and other Pocket PCs with color screens usually have
rechargeable batteries that last for about 10 to 14 hours under
optimal conditions. The short life of Pocket PC batteries usually
is mitigated to some extent by automatic power downs when the system
is not in use over a set period of time, usually set at 5 minutes
or less. The power down system conserves battery life. Pocket PCs
are usually good for a day of use if recharged at night. Pocket
PCs can recharge while hooked up or synchronized with the desktop
PC, so you do not lose use of the PDA while batteries are recharging.
There are two ways that PDAs connect with desktops,
and you should check the model to see which one is provided when
it is purchased. One is the previously mentioned serial connection
through an RS232C port. It is a reliable connection method, but
usually has the drawback of transferring data at a relatively slow
rate. The other method is via the Universal Serial Bus (USB) port.
This method provides faster data transfer, but it can be a touchier
synchronization method depending on the desktop OS system used.
Windows 95 and Windows NT do not directly support the USB port and
PDAs used with these operating systems should use a serial connection.
There are ways to work around this in the PC bios settings, but
it is tricky and should not be attempted by folks who really do
not understand how the bios settings work (you can really screw
up your computer if you change the wrong settings). Windows 98 and
2000 support use of USB ports. I believe Palm OS PDAs can also synchronize
with MacIntosh systems (or there is third party support for this),
but check before buying a particular model. Pocket PCs are not useable
with MacIntosh systems.
There are several useful Web sites for checking and/or
purchasing PDAs online. They have more and better information than
anything I can provide.
The Gadgeteer site provides excellent reviews of various
PDAs, PDA accessories, and PDA software. It is a super site! http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/
The About.com site, listed below, has bulletin boards
devoted to PDAs, links to other web sites, and other info. http://palmtops.about.com/gadgets/palmtops/
Information about the Earthmate GPS system for use
with handhelds and laptops is at: http://palmtops.about.com/gadgets/palmtops/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.delorme.com%2Fearthmate%2F
Information about the Earthmate GPS system with Topo
USA 2.0 (Topographic map GPS software for use with Palms and Windows
CE 2.0, $249.95) is at: http://palmtops.about.com/gadgets/palmtops/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.delorme.com%2Fearthmate%2F
The Palm, Inc.(manufacturer of Palm PDAs) Homepage
is at: http://www.palm.com/home1.html
The Handspring Visor homepage (manufactures Palm OS
clones) is at: http://www.handspring.com/
A Palm-size PC On-Line web site that provides information
about handheld PCs and software is at: http://www.palmsizepc.com/
PalmGear Headquarters which is an online site for
purchasing software and accessories for Palm OS PDAs is at: http://www.palmgear.com/
The Compaq Handheld Computer homepage (for iPaq 3650
and other Compaq handhelds) is at: http://www5.compaq.com/products/handhelds/
The MSn Estore for handheld PDAs is at: http://eshop.msn.com/category.asp?catid=40
Both Palm- and Windows-based PDAs currently have utility
with the appropriate software. Even though PDAs are an emerging
technology that will certainly evolve into better and more usable
systems, I do recommend obtaining an existing PDA if you find it
useful and cost effective. There will always be that better PDA
"just around the corner" and waiting for it will simply result in
depriving yourself of a useful tool. PDAs are becoming increasingly
powerful and useful. I have no doubt that they will become an indispensable
piece of equipment in the future for archaeological work.
Mark A. McConaughy
No announcements in this issue.
MEETING AND EVENTS CALENDAR
** Please send notices of upcoming events to the editor.
Inquiries regarding membership in PAC should be made to:
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Work FAX: 610-436-8468
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Deadline for next issue:
1 April 2001.
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Send updates to Mark McConaughy.
In order to control costs, instead of being printed in the Spring
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list will be distributed to members via email, fax, or mail, as available.