The SESHAT Databank Project: the 2014 Report

Peter Turchin
Cliodynamics June 1, 2014 Journal Link


There is a huge corpus of collectively-possessed knowledge about past societies held by academic historians and archaeologists. Unfortunately, it is almost entirely in a form that is inaccessible to scientific analysis—stored in historians’ brains or scattered over isolated notes and publications. This knowledge has enormous potential for testing hypotheses that explain various aspects of cultural evolution and cliodynamics, but it has been largely untapped. The goal of the SESHAT: Global History Databank is to build a historical/archaeological database that will enable our research group and others to test such hypotheses and build overarching theories. For example, what were the processes responsible for the rise of large-scale societies in human history? This is just one example of the many questions we will address with the database.
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