Help us understand the past to create a better future: Support the Seshat Databank

Peter Turchin


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Seshat world map

Dear friends, lovers of history, and those who care about the world we live in:

Join us in supporting Seshat: Global History Databank, an international project that seeks to understand how human societies evolve. The Seshat Databank brings together the most current and comprehensive body of knowledge about human history in one place. Our goal is to systematically collect what is currently known about the social and political organization of human societies and how civilizations have evolved over time. You can learn more about this project on the Seshat webpage.

Why should you support Seshat? Those of us who live in wealthy and democratic countries tend to take the continuing functioning of our societies for granted. Yes, our wonderful complex societies have delivered unprecedented well-being to large numbers of their citizens (long and healthy lives, freedom from violence, and ability to pursue meaningful careers and fascinating hobbies). Yet they are much more fragile than is commonly realized. They are based on social cooperation, and cooperation can unravel rapidly, with catastrophic results for all. A central goal of the Seshat project is to test scientific theories about how human capacity to cooperate in huge societies evolved, and why such cooperation periodically unravels. Such an understanding will be sorely needed as we negotiate way forward through our current Age of Discord. By supporting Seshat you will help to make positive futures more possible.

The roots of the Seshat project go back to 2010, and over the past years we’ve done an incredible amount of work to make this Databank a reality. We have proven the Seshat concept: the best method to collect large amounts of high quality historical and archaeological data. The first articles based on these data have been submitted to, and several already have been accepted in top scientific journals.

In the process of building the Databank we trained a crew of highly intelligent, knowledgeable, and dedicated research assistants. They are the primary engine that drives data collection for Seshat. But if we can’t continue to support them, we lose them; we would allow all that concentrated talent and energy to dissipate. Your contribution will help us continue employing these bright and hard-working women and men.

Thank you for joining us and contributing to a greater understanding of what makes human societies work!


The Evolution Institute, home of the Seshat Project, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your donation is tax deductible.

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al loomis

knowledge is always welcome, but action is even more useful. i believe establishing democracy is vital to survival of society, there is a little practical demonstration, and the principle of using public power to act in defense against greed and arrogance and aggression seems clear enough to be going on with.
so my admiration for academic investigation of social evolution is real, but sharply limited.


I think you would do better (and I would support) a data set that is open access.

J. Daniel

“This site currently showcases a small sample of the data that we have collected to date – all of which will be made publicly available in due course.” –


I thought the site admistrator (that’s Turchin) is the only one who can delete. I’m here because I’d like to discuss the concepts in “Ages of Discord” and try to understand how and why the US appears to be going to hell in a handbasket. However, most posts seem to be from right wingers trying to spread and rationalize their pet dislikes. (Maybe this constitutes “elite infighting”?)

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