An introduction to Seshat

Global History Databank

Peter Turchin, Harvey Whitehouse, Pieter François, Daniel Hoyer, Abel Alves, John Baines, David Baker, Marta Bartkowiak, Jennifer Bates, James Bennett, Julye Bidmead, Peter Bol, Alessandro Ceccarelli, Kostis Christakis, David Christian, Alan Covey, Franco De Angelis, Timothy K. Earle, Neil R. Edwards, Gary Feinman & 31 others Stephanie Grohmann, Philip B. Holden, Árni Júlíusson, Andrey Korotayev, Axel Kristinsson, Jennifer Larson, Oren Litwin, Victor Mair, Joseph G. Manning, Patrick Manning, Arkadiusz Marciniak, Gregory McMahon, John Miksic, Juan Carlos Moreno Garcia, Ian Morris, Ruth Mostern, Daniel Mullins, Oluwole Oyebamiji, Peter Peregrine, Cameron Petrie, Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Peter Rudiak-Gould, Paula Sabloff, Patrick Savage, Charles Spencer, Miriam Stark, Barend ter Haar, Stefan Thurner, Vesna Wallace, Nina Witoszek, Liye Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article introduces the Seshat: Global History Databank, its potential, and its methodology. Seshat is a databank containing vast amounts of quantitative data buttressed by qualitative nuance for a large sample of historical and archaeological polities. The sample is global in scope and covers the period from the Neolithic Revolution to the Industrial Revolution. Seshat allows scholars to capture dynamic processes and to test theories about the co-evolution (or not) of social scale and complexity, agriculture, warfare, religion, and any number of such Big Questions. Seshat is rapidly becoming a massive resource for innovative cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary research. Seshat is part of a growing trend to use comparative historical data on a large scale and contributes as such to a growing consilience between the humanities and social sciences. Seshat is underpinned by a robust and transparent workflow to ensure the ever growing dataset is of high quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cognitive Historiography
Volume5
Issue number1-2 (2018)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • global history
  • cultural evolution
  • social complexity
  • big data
  • interdisciplinarity

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