Discover the world records that define our history and jump headfirst into the past using scientific data that reveals accurate and insightful answers to life’s biggest questions.
What was history's biggest empire? Or the tallest building of the ancient world? What was the plumbing like in medieval Byzantium? The average wage in the Mughal Empire? Where did scientific writing first emerge? What was the bloodiest ever ritual human sacrifice? We are used to thinking about history in terms of stories. Yet we understand our own world through data: cast arrays of statistics that reveal the workings of our societies. In Figuring Out the Past, radical historians Peter Turchin and Dan Hoyer dive into the numbers that reveal the true shape of the past, drawing on their own Seshat project, a staggeringly ambitious attempt to log every data point that can be gathered for every society that has ever existed. This book does more than tell the story of humanity: it shows you the big picture, by the numbers.
About the Author
Peter Turchin is an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Connecticut, and group leader of Social Complexity and Collapse at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna. He is the founder of Seshat: Global History Databank. Daniel Hoyer is a historical social-scientist and project manager of Seshat: Global History Databank. His current work uses quantitative and theory-driven methods to identify trends in global history.