Vol. IX, No. 1

May, 1996

Bronze Age Material Added to Data Archive

Professor Michael B. Cosmopoulos' work on the early Bronze Age in the Aegean, The Early Bronze 2 in the Aegean (SIMA 98, Jonsered 1991), includes seven data tables containing information about EB 2 artifacts from mainland Greece, the Cyclades, Crete, and the East Aegean; only excavated artifacts were included, all, of course excavated before 1991. The data tables include information about metal, ivory, stone, bone, and clay artifacts as well as figurines, and seals. In March Mr. Cosmopoulos put the tables, in the format for the latest version of Lotus 1-2-3, on the server at the University of Manitoba so that the files could be downloaded. The availability of the files was announced on various lists at that time.

When ADAP Director Harrison Eiteljorg, II, saw the announcement, he wrote to Mr. Cosmopoulos to suggest that those data tables be archived at the Archaeological Data Archive. Mr. Cosmopoulos agreed, and, beginning in late April, Mr. Eiteljorg and CSA's Susan C. Jones began to download the files from the University of Manitoba server. The files were converted to the standard formats used for data tables at the archive - ASCII (tab-delimited in this case, since there are commas in the data fields) (1) and zipped (compressed) .dbf format.(2). The ASCII and .dbf files will be available at the Archaeological Data Archive, and the Lotus files will remain available on the University of Manitoba server. The files maintained at the Archaeological Data Archive will be updated and migrated, as required, to new formats in the future.

These data tables are a good example of the help the Archaeological Data Archive can provide to scholars. The important information in the tables was available only in the most recent version of the Lotus file format; so many potential users would have found it difficult to use the tables. Now they can be used by a wider audience; more important, they will continue to be available for all as new file formats emerge, since they will be transferred/translated into new formats whenever that is appropriate.

These tables are incomplete, as are all archaeological collections. New finds will surface; new information will arise, and new analyses will be performed. We will make sure that the new information can be accessed by those seeking the original tables and that appropriate credit is given to all who provide that new information. To do that, however, we need the cooperation of other scholars who work on this material. If they inform Mr. Cosmopoulos or ADAP of their additions, the new information can be added - not to the original data tables but to the total data available - to keep an excellent resource from going out of date and to prevent scholars from needing to compile the same information again twenty years from now. To add information, please contact Michael B. Cosmopoulos (c/o Department of Classics, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada), or the Archaeological Data Archive Project, (c/o Center for the Study of Architecture, P.O. Box 60, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010).

For further information on the ADAP project and the contents of its archives, please visit the ADAP homepage and the description of its archives. For other Newsletter articles concerning the ADAP, consult the Subject index.

Turn to related article: Data from Prehistoric Pueblo Study

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1 ASCII (an acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange) files are files consisting only of standard text. Each character has a number assigned to it; so the simple transmission of a stream of numbers can effectively be a transfer of text. This coding is very limited in that it includes no formattting information, only a string of characters. In addition, the code only includes English language characters; so umlauts, accent marks, and other non-English characters cannot be used. The advantage of ASCII is its ubiquity. Virtually any computer system can deal with ASCII text, precisely because it is so simple, and most database systems can translate ASCII code into their own format. Those programs, to perform the translation, must be told what character has been used to separate the data fields, and that character can be used for nothing else. In this case, a tab has been used. The Archaeological Data Archive normally uses a comma to separate (delimit) the fields, but, in this case, there are commas in the fields; so a tab was used instead. Return to body of Bronze Age Material article. or Return to body of Prehistoric Pueblo Material article.

2 The file format called .dbf was developed for use with databases and adopted by dBase, which was the most commonly used database system on early personal computers. It has become a standard so widely used that most other database systems can import .dbf files, making this the closest thing to a universal database format. Transmitting such files over the Interneet can be problematic, though, so it is better to compress them first, and the Archaeological Data Archive uses the common compression program PKZIP; the decompression program is available from PKWARE at http://www.pkware.com/, and many other programs can uncompress zipped files. Return to body of Bronze Age Material article. or Return to body of Prehistoric Pueblo Material article.