Seshat: Global History Databank

aims to build the most current and comprehensive body of knowledge about human history in one place. Our Databank systematically collects what is currently known about social and political organization of human societies and how civilizations have evolved over time. See our website for a full overview of the project. This Equinox-2020 website displays a subset of Seshat data that will be used in upcoming papers, allowing our collaborators and other domain experts to browse the data and provide suggestions for further improvement. If you notice any errors in the data or have any useful information on variables that have been left uncoded, please let us know by filling out our feedback form. You can also download this data as a spreadsheet.

About Our Data

The data displayed in this Equinox-2020 Dataset follows the sampling scheme of the overall Seshat Dataset. In order to make Seshat data collection manageable, we have prioritized coding a representative sample of polities from around the world and throughout human history. We selected 30 natural geographic areas (NGAs) across the globe for our initial worldwide sample, stratified by world region and history of social complexity: the World Sample 30. Our sample was designed to include as much variation among sampled societies as possible, and to ensure representation of different parts of the world. Since then, we have started to add new areas to our databank, filling in gaps left by our initial sampling: see Beyond the World Sample 30.

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World Sample 30
World Region Late appearance of complex polities Intermediate appearance of complex polities Early appearance of complex polities
  • Africa
  • Ghanaian Coast
  • Niger Inland Delta
  • Upper Egypt
  • Europe
  • Iceland
  • Paris Basin
  • Latium
  • Central Eurasia
  • Lena River Valley
  • Orkhon Valley
  • Sogdiana
  • Southwest Asia
  • Yemeni Coastal Plain
  • Konya Plain
  • Susiana
  • South Asia
  • Garo Hills
  • Deccan
  • Kachi Plain
  • Southeast Asia
  • Kapuasi Basin
  • Central Java
  • Cambodian Basin
  • East Asia
  • Southern China Hills
  • Kansai
  • Middle Yellow River Valley
  • North America
  • Finger Lakes
  • Cahokia
  • Valley of Oaxaca
  • South America
  • Lowland Andes
  • North Colombia
  • Cuzco
  • Oceania-Australia
  • Oro PNG
  • Chuuk Islands
  • Big Island Hawaii