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Conference Papers Year : 2016

Ritual and Social Evolution: Understanding Social Complexity Through Data

Harvey Whitehouse
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Abstract

This paper introduces a new a new database of world history known as ‘Seshat’ [12, 13]. Seshat is the Egyptian deity of writing, knowledge and wisdom and her name literally translated means “she who scribes”. It could be said that Seshat was the first goddess of databases and so we have borrowed her name for our global history databank. The aim here is to show how Seshat can be used to test theories about the evolution of social complexity. First we will consider how such theories can be inspired by qualitative observation of patterns in the social world. For the purposes of illustration we will consider the theory of “modes of religiosity”. We will examine efforts to test this theory against data on real world groups, past and present. Finally we will consider how this theory can be tested in a more rigorous and systematic way using Seshat: Global History Databank.
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hal-01616304 , version 1 (13-10-2017)

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Harvey Whitehouse. Ritual and Social Evolution: Understanding Social Complexity Through Data. 2nd International Workshop on Computational History and Data-Driven Humanities (CHDDH), May 2016, Dublin, Ireland. pp.3-14, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-46224-0_1⟩. ⟨hal-01616304⟩
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