Visualizing values mismatch in the European Union

In my July 1 post, Brexit as Destructive Creation, I argued that one significant cause for the European dysfunction was the choice made by the European elites to expand the union too fast too far. Why do I think this was a mistake? As I have said on numerous occasions (in this blog and in […]

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Cultural diversity database D-PLACE officially launches

Researchers interested in cultural evolution often highlight the importance of taking cultural diversity seriously. Human cultural systems are quite diverse, they note, but much research suffers from a chronic form of tunnel vision. Without a comprehensive map of cultural diversity, researchers are likely to make false inferences from relatively homogenous sampling pools. We can’t see […]

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The evolving union of Europe: lessons from deep history

The outcome of the EU membership referendum in the UK is yet another example of a disintegrative trend in Europe that has spread over the last 5-10 years, argues Prof Peter Turchin in a recent blog post. What’s next? Turchin’s answer is quite radical, but will be familiar to anyone who has observed the technique […]

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Network science can be used to illuminate the laws of history

Austrian Academy of Science computational historian and Seshat contributor Johannes Preiser-Kapeller was recently interviewed by Technology Review on the use of network science in historical research. Network science can help us understand processes of very different natures that share the same network structure (the way that nodes are connected by links). Examples include the spread […]

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Garbage in? How we can improve the quality of historical data

A week ago the urban archaeologist Mike Smith wrote a scathing post about a new article in Nature.com’s journal Scientific Data. In the article, Meredith Reba and coworkers report on how they “spatialized” the dataset on urban settlements, based on previous publications by Tertius Chandler and George Modelski. As Smith writes in his blog, “The […]

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Why is political turbulence rising in America? An interview with Peter Turchin

The patterns of history can provide important clues for future political turmoil and the potential collapse of an empire. Seshat principal investigator Peter Turchin recently spoke to the IB Times about elite overproduction in the United States and what it means for the current political landscape. Elite overproduction is a phenomenon in which rapidly growing […]

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Trinity College Dublin welcomes the Seshat team: 3 days of meetings at Ireland’s oldest university

Members of the Seshat project had a busy and productive few days in Dublin, Ireland this past week. The 2nd Computational History and Digital Humanities Workshop was held on May 25 at Trinity College Dublin. The workshop was followed by a two-day meeting of members of the Seshat project. Seshat and ALIGNED research assistant Odhran […]

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Reconstructing the Past: the “Prince of the Lilies” and the “Minoan Peace”

Over the previous weekend the Seshat project ran a workshop on Cretan history and archaeology. We met in the Villa Ariadne, which the first excavator of Knossos, Sir Arthur Evans, built for himself right next to the great Minoan Palace at Knossos. Several times during the workshop the discussion among the experts and Seshat people […]

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The link between ant agriculture and early social complexity

Farming was invented independently by ancient humans at least nine times in different regions throughout the globe. The invention of farming is linked by experts to the evolution of early social complexity. Here is a visualization of the original ancient centers of agriculture production: Millions of years before the first humans began farming, ants had […]

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Seshat contributors teach Academy Award winning actor about the origins of religion

In National Geographic’s The Story of God, host Morgan Freeman travels to Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic proto-city settlement in Anatolia, Turkey to investigate whether early farming civilizations believed in God. At the Çatalhöyük site, Freeman interviews two members of the Seshat: Global History Databank team, founding editor and University of Oxford anthropologist Prof. Harvey Whitehouse and […]

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