Seshat’s Alessio Palmisano featured in news doc “Isis and the Missing Treasures.”

As the war in Syria continues, Isis reaps profits from the illegal sale of antiquities looted from Syria and Iraq. Syrian and Iraqi antiquities are now on sale in London, the second largest antiquities market in the world. In Channel 4’s Dispatches news documentary “Isis and the Missing Treasures”, journalist Simon Cox assembles a team […]

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“Once upon a time”: when did works of fiction appear around the world? Interrogating Seshat to make global historical comparisons.

Stories have seemingly always inspired people — examples such as the epic of Gilgamesh, 13th century Icelandic sagas, or Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey show us their apparently ubiquitous character. To what extent is storytelling a core part of the human experience? “If we begin to look at the emergence of written fiction in a comparative […]

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ALIGNED receives Cliodynamics funding from the Irish Research Council

ALIGNED has received funding from the Irish Research Council to help build the Cliodynamics research network. ALIGNED received an award from the Irish Research Council’s New Foundations scheme for “Cliodynamics Research Network Ireland II”. This award will support the building of an international interdisciplinary network of researchers who are interested in Cliodynamics – the study […]

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Victor Mair explains the linguistic origins of Archaic Chinese weapon terms

Seshat expert contributor and University of Pennsylvania professor Victor Mair recently published his fifth post in a series on reconstructing Old Sinitic (Archaic Chinese) terms for weapons. The posts are available on UPenn’s Language Log linguistics blog. Mair explores various themes in the series, including the Chinese translation of the term “Excalibur” and the origin […]

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Work with us: Seshat seeks Research Assistant

Applications are sought for the position of Research Assistant working on the project Axial-Age Religions and the Z-Curve of Human Egalitarianism. The successful applicant will be supervised by Prof. Peter Turchin. The project is funded by a John Templeton Foundation grant (http://www.templeton.org/) to the Evolution Institute (http://evolution-institute.org). The project brings together an international, interdisciplinary team […]

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Shared suffering, not religious dogma, may be the real cause of suicide attacks, argues Whitehouse

Prof Harvey Whitehouse, a Seshat Founding Editor at the University of Oxford, questions the widely held belief that extreme forms of sacrifice such as martyrdom are a consequence of a virulent religious dogmatism. Citing new anthropological evidence from around the globe, Whitehouse contends in his recent article in the Pacific Standard that extreme Islamist teachings may […]

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The Anatomy of a Seshat Fact

This week I gave a talk at the workshop, organized by Chris Chase-Dunn and Hiroko Inoue at the University of California in Riverside. The talk was about the current status of Seshat: Global History Databank. As I was preparing the talk, I read an article in the Atlantic about digital archaeology, Archaeology’s Information Revolution. Among […]

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Forget memes. You should be studying cultural evolution

Internet memes abound. Those active on social media will see dozens if not hundreds of them a day. The funniest internet memes are shared widely and old memes are often dusted off and adapted to new situations to take on a life of their own. Facebook and Twitter are currently overflowing with Donald Trump memes. Trump memes are […]

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The end of her-story: close-knit fraternal networks as an evolutionary response to powerful archaic women

Author: Edward Turner In Ultrasociety (2015) Peter Turchin memorably uses the label alpha male states to describe the first polities in history. This is, he says, because of their structural inequality with a “god-king” dominating cowering subjects; true, perhaps, but these societies weren’t literally dominated by men. Queens, priestesses and princesses held together the key […]

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A codebook view of history: reflections on working with Seshat

Author: Eva Brandl I am a graduate student in social anthropology at the University of Oxford and have been involved with Seshat: Global History Databank as a research assistant since the summer of 2015. Assistants conduct literature reviews, working with university collections and external databases such as the Human Relations Area Files compendium of ethnographic […]

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