Data set reference and name

Name: Seshat: Global History Databank

Metadata URI:


Maintainer: The Dacura team at Trinity College Dublin

Data set description

Description: Seshat is a set of historical and social science times series data describing human societies from approximately 10,000BC to the present day. The data has b@een collected for testing theories about sociocultural evolution and historical dynamics (Cliodynamics). Each time series consists of approximately 1500 variables (properties of human societies) sampled at approximately 100 year intervals (depending on the richness of the historical record for a given place and time). Ultimately, the Seshat project would like to include all kinds of theoretically relevant data in it. However, given limited resources, it is impossible to collect every possible variable time series. Instead, the strategy is to rely on the 'Big Question approach' that selects sets of variables relevant to specific social science big questions that are coded first. As research projects studying new big questions are funded, new sets of variables are added.

Usefulness: The Seshat Global History Databank is a useful resource for interlinking historical datasets from different sources. Users profiting from Seshat are domain experts, open data developers, SMEs and researchers in data science and digital humanities.

Similar data: DBPedia provides similar datasets

Re-use and integration:

Standards and metadata

Metadata description is done in Linked Data using DataID, a metadata description vocabulary based on DCAT. DMP reports are automatically generated and maintained up to date using this metadata.

Data sharing

License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

ODRL license description:

Openness: Seshat is currently private, but will be open after an 18-month embargo.

Software necessary: Seshat needs no additional software to be used. It will provide complementary visualisations and tools


Archiving and preservation

Preservation: Seshat is being preserved on an archive server.

Growth: Seshat is being continually updated.


Size: 950000 triples