The first batch of Seshat data

It’s been a long haul. Six years ago we launched the project that we eventually named Seshat: Global History Databank. Three years ago, following a series of workshops that designed the overall structure of the databank, we started collecting data. By January 2015 we had 30,000 records (a “Seshat record” says what the value of […]

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Seshat: Global History Databank publishes first set of historical data

  Seshat: Global History Databank has published its first batch of systematically coded and referenced data, which can be accessed at http://dacura.scss.tcd.ie/seshat/. Seshat, a large, online, open-access store of information about the human past, is a groundbreaking resource that is bringing together the most current and comprehensive body of knowledge about human history available. Previously […]

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The Seshat Team Maps the History of Mounted Warfare

The use of horse-riders in warfare changed the face of global conflict, and continued to impact the evolution of complex societies for thousands of years after its first adaption. A recent paper published in Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History Evolution by Seshat: Global History Databank directors Prof. Peter Turchin and Dr. Thomas Currie, and […]

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Harvey Whitehouse: Studying ritual may help us understand extremism

Why do people engage in self-sacrifice? Why would people adopt such an extreme behavior? Answering these questions has proven to be difficult for policy makers, world leaders, and academic researchers alike. Seshat founding editor and Oxford University scholar Professor Harvey Whitehouse recently offered several critical insights into the psychology of extremism at the IdeasLab session […]

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Experts reflect on their experiences working with Seshat: Global History Databank

In our quest to uncover cross-cultural patterns in a global range of historical cases, it is often impossible to go directly to the source of evidence. At Seshat: Global History Databank we try to do the next best thing- we go to the experts. We value the time and energy that our volunteer expert contributors […]

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Prof Harvey Whitehouse introduces Seshat: Global History Databank at World Economic Forum annual meeting

Seshat founding editor and University of Oxford anthropologist Professor Harvey Whitehouse recently spoke about rituals and Seshat: Global History Databank at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Whitehouse presented his research in a Betazone session in partnership with the Nature Publishing Group in a speech entitled “Why Facts Don’t Unify Us.” The […]

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Seshat is the premier tool to write longue-durée history and test social sciences theories comprehensively with historical data

A major paper on Seshat: Global History Databank has been published in Digital Humanities Quarterly. Lead author and Seshat founding editor Dr. Pieter François sees the publication as an important milestone in showcasing the potential of the project’s method to historians, digital humanists and the general public. I caught up with Dr François to discuss […]

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Testing the Axial Age

Last week the Seshat project ran a workshop on “Testing the Axial Age” in Oxford, UK. The workshop brought together a small group of scholars from different fields – historians, religious studies experts, archaeologists, and anthropologists. The goal was to discuss what exactly the ‘Axial Age’ means, and develop quantitative, data-based approaches to testing various […]

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A Call for the Development of Field Sites to Study Cultural Evolution

Seshat founding editor and Oxford University Professor Harvey Whitehouse, an anthropologist, and Seshat consultant and SUNY Binghamton Professor David Sloan Wilson, an evolutionary biologist, are both are members of the Cultural Evolution Society, which aims to “catalyze the study of cultural change from a modern evolutionary perspective, both inside and outside the Ivory Tower.” Wilson […]

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What Can Seshat Databank Do for Historians?

From the presentation by Peter Turchin, the Founding Editor and Overall Coordinator of Seshat Databank, at the annual American Historical Association meeting in Denver, CO; January 2017. Writing in 1999 in Perspectives on History Robert Darnton, who was the President of American Historical Association at the time, expressed the following opinion: After a century of […]

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