Book

The Measure of Civilization: How Social Development Decides the Fate of Nations

Abstract

In the last thirty years, there have been fierce debates over how civilizations develop and why the West became so powerful. The Measure of Civilization presents a brand-new way of investigating these questions and provides new tools for assessing the long-term growth of societies. Using a groundbreaking numerical index of social development that compares societies in different times and places, award-winning author Ian Morris sets forth a sweeping examination of Eastern and Western development across 15,000 years since the end of the last ice age. He offers surprising conclusions about when and why the West came to dominate the world and fresh perspectives for thinking about the twenty-first century. Adapting the United Nations' approach for measuring human development, Morris's index breaks social development into four traits--energy capture per capita, organization, information technology, and war-making capacity--and he uses archaeological, historical, and current government data to quantify patterns. Morris reveals that for 90 percent of the time since the last ice age, the world's most advanced region has been at the western end of Eurasia, but contrary to what many historians once believed, there were roughly 1,200 years--from about 550 to 1750 CE--when an East Asian region was more advanced. Only in the late eighteenth century CE, when northwest Europeans tapped into the energy trapped in fossil fuels, did the West leap ahead. Resolving some of the biggest debates in global history, The Measure of Civilization puts forth innovative tools for determining past, present, and future economic and social trends.
... Such puzzles include the relative size, structure and flows between settlements in the same polity, the nature of socioeconomic networks in cities, the spatial organization of settlements, and the nature of change and adaptation in these systems, including processes of economic growth (Economic growth is here understood to be simply an increase, from one period to the next, in a society's material output). What is most important to capture through such comparisons, in our view, is how different societies deal with general problems affecting them all, including energy and resource extraction, and the organization of their socioeconomic networks over space and time (Bettencourt, 2013;Morris, 2013;Ortman et al., 2014). ...
... For simplicity then, we ask below what we can be inferred from fairly sparse data records, where only a few variables (one, two,...) are available for each site. This approach also allows us to connect to well-known traditions in history, demography and geography (Fujita, 1990;Bairoch, 1991;Zipf, 2012;Morris, 2013;Ober, 2016), before we attempt to take longer steps toward the end of the paper. ...
... Many studies in economic history have also shed light on the circumstances that led to sustained economic growth after the industrial revolution, calling our attention to macroeconomic factors such as the availability of energy on a large scale, political and economic institutions, and the advent of modern science (Morris, 2013). The study of socieconomic development in the past has also highlighted the role of urbanization (Algaze, 2008;Cowgill, 2015;Ober, 2016;Harper, 2017;Manning, 2018) as have historical experiences of urbanization without growth (Jedwab and Vollrath, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Comparative studies of cities throughout history are one of the greatest sources of insight into the nature of change in human societies. This paper discusses strategies to anchor these comparisons on well-defined, quantitative and empirical characteristics of cities, derived from theory and observable in the archeological and historical records. We show how quantitative comparisons based on a few simple variables across settlements allow us to analyze how different places and peoples dealt with general problems of any society. These include demographic change, the organization of built spaces, the intensity and size of socioeconomic networks and the processes underlying technological change and economic growth. Because the historical record contains a much more varied and more independent set of experiences than contemporary urbanization, it has a unique power for illuminating present puzzles of human development and testing emergent urban theory.
... In the past 20 years, quantitative approaches to ancient societies have revealed a massive acceleration of economic growth in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Broadberry 2018;Maddison 2007;Morris 2013). Although per capita income increased slowly, from $400 per year in early farming societies to $2,000 in early modern Britain (expressed in 1990 international or Geary-Khamis dollars), it has exploded in the past two centuries, reaching $40,000 in North America, Western Europe, and Eastern Asia. ...
... Recent work in historical economics and quantitative history confirms this conclusion and demonstrates that some societies -Classical Greece, Roman Italy, Song China, Medieval Italyexperienced some period of growth (Allen 2001;Maddison 2007;Morris 2013;Ober 2015). Here, I review the evidence concerning the growth of purchasing power, GDP per capita, urbanization, and health. ...
... English purchasing power at that time has probably been underestimated, partly because it is difficult to compare luxury goods (furniture, sweets, etc.) across countries and across time. However, it is likely that luxury goods played an important but hidden role in increasing the living standards of the English (De Vries 1994;Hersh & Voth 2009;Morris 2013). For example, Hersch and Voth (2009) estimated in a recent paper that the introduction of sugar and tea transformed the English diet in the eighteenth century and increased the welfare of the English by 15%, a gain much larger than those associated with the introduction of the Internet (2%-3%) or mobile phones (0.46%-0.9%). ...
Article
Baumard proposes that life history slowing in populations over time is the principal driver of innovation rates. We show that this is only true of micro-innovation rates, which reflect cognitive and economic specialization as an adaptation to high population density, and not macro-innovation rates, which relate more to a population's level of general intelligence.
... In the past 20 years, quantitative approaches to ancient societies have revealed a massive acceleration of economic growth in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Broadberry 2018;Maddison 2007;Morris 2013). Although per capita income increased slowly, from $400 per year in early farming societies to $2,000 in early modern Britain (expressed in 1990 international or Geary-Khamis dollars), it has exploded in the past two centuries, reaching $40,000 in North America, Western Europe, and Eastern Asia. ...
... Recent work in historical economics and quantitative history confirms this conclusion and demonstrates that some societies -Classical Greece, Roman Italy, Song China, Medieval Italyexperienced some period of growth (Allen 2001;Maddison 2007;Morris 2013;Ober 2015). Here, I review the evidence concerning the growth of purchasing power, GDP per capita, urbanization, and health. ...
... English purchasing power at that time has probably been underestimated, partly because it is difficult to compare luxury goods (furniture, sweets, etc.) across countries and across time. However, it is likely that luxury goods played an important but hidden role in increasing the living standards of the English (De Vries 1994;Hersh & Voth 2009;Morris 2013). For example, Hersch and Voth (2009) estimated in a recent paper that the introduction of sugar and tea transformed the English diet in the eighteenth century and increased the welfare of the English by 15%, a gain much larger than those associated with the introduction of the Internet (2%-3%) or mobile phones (0.46%-0.9%). ...
Article
Baumard's perspective asserts that “opportunity is the mother of innovation,” in contrast to the adage ascribing this role to necessity. Drawing on behavioral ecology and cognition, we propose that both extremes – affluence and scarcity – can drive innovation. We suggest that the types of innovations at these two extremes differ and that both rely on mechanisms operating on different time scales.
... Societies past and present differ in their level of social development [1][2][3]. More developed societies may or may not provide improved biological well-being, greater prosperity, or more liberty and equality for most of their members [4,5]. ...
... More developed societies may or may not provide improved biological well-being, greater prosperity, or more liberty and equality for most of their members [4,5]. But they do consistently command more resources, and excel in their "abilities to master their physical and intellectual environments and get things done in the world" [1]. Social development is correlated with social scale, social complexity, and intensity of economic production. ...
... As a rule, scale, complexity, and intensity tend to increase together over time and to diffuse in space from more to less developed regions. These long-term, large-scale trends result from multiple causes, including population pressure, capital accumulation, intellectual and practical innovation and diffusion, growth in the extent of the market and the division of labor, and competition between social groups [1,3,[6][7][8][9]. The collapse of complex societies has attracted both popular and scholarly fascination [10][11][12]. ...
Article
Full-text available
“Barbarism” is perhaps best understood as a recurring syndrome among peripheral societies in response to the threats and opportunities presented by more developed neighbors. This article develops a mathematical model of barbarigenesis —the formation of “barbarian” societies adjacent to more complex societies—and its consequences, and applies the model to the case of Europe in the first millennium CE. A starting point is a game (developed by Hirshleifer) in which two players allocate their resources either to producing wealth or to fighting over wealth. The paradoxical result is that a richer and potentially more powerful player may lose out to a poorer player, because the opportunity cost of fighting is greater for the former. In a more elaborate spatial model with many players, the outcome is a wealth-power mismatch : central regions have comparatively more wealth than power, peripheral regions have comparatively more power than wealth. In a model of historical dynamics, a wealth-power mismatch generates a long-lasting decline in social complexity, sweeping from more to less developed regions, until wealth and power come to be more closely aligned. This article reviews how well this model fits the historical record of late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages in Europe both quantitatively and qualitatively. The article also considers some of the history left out of the model, and why the model doesn’t apply to the modern world.
... However, given time constraints this important topic was not analyzed in depth. Next, the teacher asked the students to analyze Figure 5a [40]. This is a trend from the last 16,000 years. ...
... (a) is adapted from[39]. (b) is adapted from[40]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Education is critical for improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 concentration, but collaboration between countries is also critical. It is a global problem in which we cannot isolate ourselves. Our students must learn to collaborate in seeking solutions together with others from other countries. Thus, the research question of this study is whether interactive cross-border science classes with energy experiments are feasible and can increase awareness of energy efficiency among middle school students. We designed and tested an interactive cross-border class between Chilean and Peruvian eighth-grade classes. The classes were synchronously connected and all students did experiments and answered open-ended questions on an online platform. Some of the questions were designed to check conceptual understanding whereas others asked for suggestions of how to develop their economies while keeping CO₂ air concentration at acceptable levels. In real time, the teacher reviewed the students’ written answers and the concept maps that were automatically generated based on their responses. Students peer-reviewed their classmates’ suggestions. This is part of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) education project on energy efficiency using APEC databases. We found high levels of student engagement, where students discussed not only the cross-cutting nature of energy, but also its relation to socioeconomic development and CO₂ emissions, and the need to work together to improve energy efficiency. In conclusion, interactive cross-border science classes are a feasible educational alternative, with potential as a scalable public policy strategy for improving awareness of energy efficiency among the population.
... The case has also been made that the agricultural and industrial revolutions constituted transformative change on a higher level than that of other periods (Bocquet-Appel 2011 ;Pomeranz 2021;McCloskey 2004). Both of these revolutions constituted extreme and unprecedented changes to human life: a transition from people living as hunter-gatherers to large, settled civilizations; and a transition to mechanized manufacturing and factories, leading to unprecedented population growth and rising quality of life (Morris 2013;Clark 2007). The industrial revolution in particular coincided with clear trajectory changes in metrics of human well-being including measures of physical health, economic well-being, energy capture and technological empowerment. ...
... GDP can be interpretted as a suitable long-term measure of human progress for obvious reasons, andMorris (2013) suggests that war making capacity is another suitable measure of long-term human progress. ...
Article
The terms ‘human-level artificial intelligence’ and ‘artificial general intelligence’ are widely used to refer to the possibility of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) with potentially extreme impacts on society. These terms are poorly defined and do not necessarily indicate what is most important with respect to future societal impacts. We suggest that the term ‘transformative AI’ is a helpful alternative, reflecting the possibility that advanced AI systems could have very large impacts on society without reaching human-level cognitive abilities. To be most useful, however, more analysis of what it means for AI to be ‘transformative’ is needed. In this paper, we propose three different levels on which AI might be said to be transformative, associated with different levels of societal change. We suggest that these distinctions would improve conversations between policy makers and decision makers concerning the mid- to long-term impacts of advances in AI. Further, we feel this would have a positive effect on strategic foresight efforts involving advanced AI, which we expect to illuminate paths to alternative futures. We conclude with a discussion of the benefits of our new framework and by highlighting directions for future work in this area.
... Another study that pertains to effectiveness and efficiency and that uses historical data from WEIRD and non-WEIRD societies is a study by Morris (2013). It suggests that, since 14 kya, human culture has shown an upward trend in per capita energy capture, where this encompasses the full range of energy (food, fuel, raw materials) extracted from the environment. ...
... Finally, the examples that Vaesen and Houkes provide from the literature are somewhat limited. Vaesen and Houkes are correct that Morris (2013) conflates multiple cultural lineages and uses coarse-grained data subject to substantial error. But several other studies that track increases in effectiveness or efficiency within specific cultural lineages also exist: Nia et al. (2015) showed that violins gradually improved in acoustic conductance over several centuries, Miu et al. (2018) showed how solutions to math problems improved within a programming community via successive bouts of copying and innovating, and several studies have traced the evolution of increasingly energy-efficient bicycle designs (Lake and Venti 2009;Minetti, Pinkerton, and Zamparo 2001;Van Nierop, Blankendaal, and Overbeeke 1997). ...
Article
Full-text available
It has been claimed that a unique feature of human culture is that it accumulates beneficial modifications over time. On the basis of a couple of methodological considerations, we here argue that, perhaps surprisingly, there is insufficient evidence for a proper test of this claim. And we indicate what further research would be needed to firmly establish the cumulativeness of human culture. © 2021 by The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. All rights reserved.
... However, given time constraints this important topic was not analyzed in depth. Next, the teacher asked the students to analyze Figure 5 (a) [39]. This is a trend from the last 16,000 years. ...
... They analyzed the source of this peak and its relation with the peak in energy consumed per capita. [39]. (b) is adapted from [40]. ...
Preprint
Early education is critical for improving energy efficiency. The purpose of this study is to explore the feasibility of Interactive Cross-Border Classes to increase awareness of energy efficiency among middle school students. We designed and tested an Interactive Cross-Border class between Chilean and Peruvian 8th-grade classes. The classes were synchronously connected and all students answered open-ended questions on an online platform. Some of the questions were designed to check conceptual understanding while others asked for suggestions of how to develop their economies while keeping CO₂ air concentration at acceptable levels. In real-time, the teacher reviewed the students’ written answers and the concept maps that were automatically generated based on their responses. Students peer-reviewed their classmates’ suggestions. This is part of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) STEM Education project on Energy Efficiency using APEC databases. We found high levels of student engagement, where students discussed not only the cross-cutting nature of energy, but also its relation to socioeconomic development and CO₂ emissions, and the need to work together to improve energy efficiency. In conclusion, Interactive Cross-Border classes are a feasible educational alternative, with potential as a scalable public policy strategy for improving awareness of energy efficiency among the population.
... Another study that pertains to effectiveness and efficiency and that uses historical data from WEIRD and non-WEIRD societies is a study by Morris (2013). It suggests that, since 14 kya, human culture has shown an upward trend in per capita energy capture, where this encompasses the full range of en-ergy (food, fuel, raw materials) extracted from the environment. ...
... Finally, the examples that Vaesen and Houkes provide from the literature are somewhat limited. Vaesen and Houkes are correct that Morris (2013) conflates multiple cultural lineages and uses coarse-grained data subject to substantial error. But several other studies that track increases in effectiveness or efficiency within specific cultural lineages also exist: Nia et al. (2015) showed that violins gradually improved in acoustic conductance over several centuries, Miu et al. (2018) showed how solutions to math problems improved within a programming community via successive bouts of copying and innovating, and several studies have traced the evolution of increasingly energy-efficient bicycle designs (Lake and Venti 2009;Minetti, Pinkerton, and Zamparo 2001;Van Nierop, Blankendaal, and Overbeeke 1997). ...
... More recent statistical analyses of the historical distributions of large-scale societies [46] show that in addition to support for the predictions of the steppe-warfare hypothesis, there is also support for the idea that regions in which agriculture has been practised for longer have tended to be home to larger scale societies for longer [47,48]. This again is consistent with the idea that the development of effective socio-political institutions is a cumulative process, i.e. these regions have had more time to find solutions that work and develop the kinds of institutions that enable societies to function on a larger scale. ...
Article
Full-text available
Human societies are structured by what we refer to as ‘institutions’, which are socially created and culturally inherited proscriptions on behaviour that define roles and set expectations about social interactions. The study of institutions in several social science fields has provided many important insights that have not been fully appreciated in the evolutionary human sciences. However, such research has often lacked a shared understanding of general processes of change that shape institutional diversity across space and time. We argue that evolutionary theory can provide a useful framework for synthesizing information from different disciplines to address issues such as how and why institutions change over time, how institutional rules co-evolve with other culturally inherited traits, and the role that ecological factors might play in shaping institutional diversity. We argue that we can gain important insights by applying cultural evolutionary thinking to the study of institutions, but that we also need to expand and adapt our approaches to better handle the ways that institutions work, and how they might change over time. In this paper, we illustrate our approach by describing macro-scale empirical comparative analyses that demonstrate how evolutionary theory can be used to generate and test hypotheses about the processes that have shaped some of the major patterns we see in institutional diversity over time and across the world today. We then go on to discuss how we might usefully develop micro-scale models of institutional change by adapting concepts from game theory and agent-based modelling. We end by considering current challenges and areas for future research, and the potential implications for other areas of study and real-world applications. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Foundations of cultural evolution’.
... Quantitative history studies may provide the answer by evaluating levels of economic development and material affluence at different times and in different places in history (Morris, 2013). A variety of proxies (e.g., size of houses, number of hearths per house, extent of craftsmanship, traces of pollution, and many more) provide a convenient index of prosperity and show a remarkable pattern of development. ...
... The Roman Republic was characterized by growth (Carswell 2017). This growth stopped during the imperial era when the state became despotic (Morris 2013, Stark 2014). In the time after the fall of the empire, the Roman Empire was divided into several weak, non-despotic kingdoms dominated by Germanic tribes. ...
... Earlier efforts to quantify levels of technological complexity in eastern and western ends of Eurasia (Morris 2010(Morris , 2013 have been criticized for being unduly subjective (Pomeranz 2011), especially when it comes to measuring rates of innovation in military technology, and are obviously limited in spatial coverage. Here we propose an alternative methodology for quantifying technological adoptions and expand the geographic scope from just the two broad regions considered by Morris to 30 "Natural Geographic Areas" across all ten major world regions, using Seshat: Global History Databank, a major resource for studying patterns of sociocultural evolution in world history (see Methods below). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The causes and consequences of technological evolution in world history have been much debated. Of particular importance in many of the theoretical and empirical studies on this topic is innovation in military technologies, details of which are comparatively well preserved in the archaeology and historical record and which are often seen as drivers of broad socio-cultural processes. Here we analyze data on the evolution of key military technologies in a stratified sample of the world’s political systems from the Neolithic to the industrial revolution using Seshat: Global History Databank. Empirically testing a series of previously speculative theories reveals that world population size (as proxy for the potential numbers of innovators), the connectivity between areas of innovation and adoption, and major past innovations such as iron metallurgy and horse riding, all serve as strong predictors of change in military technology. We discuss how the approach showcased here could be extended not only to explain more of the causes and consequences of military innovation but of technological change more generally, with important ramifications for our understanding of the drivers of world history and of the evolution of social complexity.
... De las cuales casi la mitad, 13 son de los últimos 5 años, por tanto una selección muy actualizada y críticamente informada, eso sí, en clave estrictamente monolingüe (íntegramente en inglés), siendo Clive Gamble el autor más citado. Pienso que, a veces, miradas amplias y potentes desde fuera de la arqueología especializada pero con agudo sentido crítico y relacional con el presente -como las del británico Ian Morris (2013Morris ( , 2014Morris ( , 2016 o el israelí Youval Noah Harari (2015) con su betseller mundial Sapiens -, ofrecen ideas, reflexiones o perspectivas que ayudan a (re)considerar problemas de la Prehistoria como la emergencia de lo que realmente nos hace humanos, los orígenes de la conflictividad y la violencia, el surgimiento de la desigualdad social o la aparición de los primeros grandes asentamientos (ciudades y otras aglomeraciones). Quizás estoy pidiendo una excesiva heterodoxia que rebasa de forma insensata los confortables límites disciplinares. ...
... These criteria are clearly met by the large settlements in the northern Fertile Crescent. This social centrality has also resulted in urban sites being used as a proxy for social complexity [44]. Urban decline or abandonment is central to narratives of civilizational collapse [45], including those of the 4.2kya event in our study region [46]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The rise and fall of ancient societies have been attributed to rapid climate change events. One of the most discussed of these is the 4.2kya event, a period of increased aridity and cooling posited as the cause of societal changes across the globe, including the collapse of the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia. Studies seeking to correlate social and climatic changes around the 4.2kya event have tended to focus either on highly localized analyses of specific sites or surveys or more synthetic overviews at pan-continental scales, and temporally on the event and its aftermath. Here we take an empirical approach at a large spatial scale to investigate trends in population and settlement organization across the entirety of Northern Fertile Crescent (Northern Mesopotamia and the Northern Levant) from 6,000 to 3,000 cal BP. We use Summed Probability Distributions of radiocarbon dates and data from eighteen archaeological surveys as proxies for population, and a dataset of all settlements over ten hectares in size as a proxy for the degree of urbanization. The goal is to examine the spatial and temporal impact of the 4.2kya event and to contextualize it within longer term patterns of settlement. We find that negative trends are visible during the event horizon in all three proxies. However, these occur against a long-term trend of increased population and urbanization supported through unsustainable overshoot and the exploitation of a drier zone with increased risk of crop failure. We argue that the 4.2kya event occurred during a period of unprecedented urban and rural growth which may have been unsustainable even without an exogenous climate forcing.
... To this latter question, there are many answers both temporally and spatially. A subfield called Big History begins its historical narrative with the Big Bang (Christian, 2019), thus nesting human history within both cosmic and Earth history, while other research traces the deep history of institutions and technologies to suggest that patterns set in the deep past may have made the Anthropocene inevitable (Morris, 2014). Alternatively, historians point to the early modern period-by which they mean ∼1450-1800 CE-when the energies and environmental "luck" of Western imperialists led to globalization and the shift in values that ultimately produced the Anthropocene (Parthasarathi, 2011;Pomeranz, 2000). ...
Article
Full-text available
The term Anthropocene initially emerged from the Earth System science community in the early 2000s, denoting a concept that the Holocene Epoch has terminated as a consequence of human activities. First associated with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, it was then more closely linked with the Great Acceleration in industrialization and globalization from the 1950s that fundamentally modified physical, chemical, and biological signals in geological archives. Since 2009, the Anthropocene has been evaluated by the Anthropocene Working Group, tasked with examining it for potential inclusion in the Geological Time Scale. Such inclusion requires a precisely defined chronostratigraphic and geochronological unit with a globally synchronous base and inception, with the mid-twentieth century being geologically optimal. This reflects an Earth System state in which human activities have become predominant drivers of modifications to the stratigraphic record, making it clearly distinct from the Holocene. However, more recently, the term Anthropocene has also become used for different conceptual interpretations in diverse scholarly fields, including the environmental and social sciences and humanities. These are often flexibly interpreted, commonly without reference to the geological record, and diachronous in time; they often extend much further back in time than the mid-twentieth century. These broader conceptualizations encompass wide ranges and levels of human impacts and interactions with the environment. Here, we clarify what the Anthropocene is in geological terms and compare the proposed geological (chronostratigraphic) definition with some of these broader interpretations and applications of the term “Anthropocene,” showing both their overlaps and differences.
... Importantly, changes in trustworthiness displays did not predict future changes in GDP per capita either in the National Portraits Gallery sample (F(41,1) = 0.76, p > 0.250) or in the Web Gallery of Art dataset (X(1) = 2.02, p = 0.155), which suggests that changes in GDP per capita may have preceded changes in trustworthiness displays in this dataset. This conclusion is consistent with other works emphasizing the importance of economic growth and psychological changes in history [44][45][46] . ...
Article
Full-text available
Social trust is linked to a host of positive societal outcomes, including improved economic performance, lower crime rates and more inclusive institutions. Yet, the origins of trust remain elusive, partly because social trust is difficult to document in time. Building on recent advances in social cognition, we design an algorithm to automatically generate trustworthiness evaluations for the facial action units (smile, eye brows, etc.) of European portraits in large historical databases. Our results show that trustworthiness in portraits increased over the period 1500-2000 paralleling the decline of interpersonal violence and the rise of democratic values observed in Western Europe. Further analyses suggest that this rise of trustworthiness displays is associated with increased living standards.
... Although this does not reflect the more nuanced approaches to urban definitions developed in recent years (see e.g. Cowgill 2004;Creekmore & Fisher 2014;Gaydarska 2016), empirical research in the Near East (Lawrence et al. 2016) and globally (Morris 2013) demonstrates that site size can be taken as a proxy for social complexity. Throughout our period of study, the vast majority of sites are rural agricultural settlements under 5 ha in size (Wilkinson 2003). ...
Article
Investigating how different forms of inequality arose and were sustained through time is key to understanding the emergence of complex social systems. Due to its long-term perspective, archaeology has much to contribute to this discussion. However, comparing inequality in different societies through time, especially in prehistory, is difficult because comparable metrics of value are not available. Here we use a recently developed technique which assumes a correlation between household size and household wealth to investigate inequality in the ancient Near East. If this assumption is correct, our results show that inequality increased from the Neolithic to the Iron Age, and we link this increase to changing forms of social and political organization. We see a step change in levels of inequality around the time of the emergence of urban sites at the beginning of the Bronze Age. However, urban and rural sites were similarly unequal, suggesting that outside the elite, the inhabitants of each encompassed a similar range of wealth levels. The situation changes during the Iron Age, when inequality in urban environments increases and rural sites become more equal.
... For example, social development -irrespective of time -has been defined as "communities' abilities to get things done in the world." 65 The social development of a country or empire can be determined by its technological, organisational, and cultural accomplishments, and the level of success is often determined by the person sitting at the helm. 66 Alexander amassed the largest empire in the Ancient World and remained the model of all good generals and great conquerors for centuries to come, while Lee, regarded as a "lion among leaders and inspiration to Asians" transformed Singapore from a colonial backwater into a bustling metropolis within a generation. ...
Research
Through an analysis of the lives of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) and Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015), this thesis examines the building blocks and characteristics which mould and define exceptional leaders. By investigating components such as upbringing, education, teamwork and diplomacy, and characteristics such as ambition, determination, kindness and ferocity, this thesis will aim to support the hypothesis that exceptionally great leaders are developed and moulded with a specific set of ingredients – which transcend time and space.
... Measuring material output and wealth presents its own challenges (Morris, 2013;Ortman and Davis, 2019;Stark et al., 2016). The strongest material proxy for household wealth is the size of residences, and there is now a robust literature that uses this proxy to measure wealth distributions in the deep past (Kohler et al., 2017(Kohler et al., , 2018Smith et al., 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
A general explanatory framework for the social processes underpinning urbanisation should account for empirical regularities that are shared among contemporary urban systems and ancient settlement systems known throughout archaeology and history. The identification of such shared properties has been facilitated by research traditions in each field that define cities and settlements as areas that capture networks of social interaction embedded in space. Using Settlement Scaling Theory (SST) – a set of hypotheses and mathematical relationships that together generate predictions for how measurable quantitative attributes of settlements are related to their population size – we show that aggregate properties of ancient settlement systems and contemporary metropolitan systems scale up in similar ways across time, geography and culture. Settlement scaling theory thus provides a unified framework for understanding and predicting these regularities across time and space, and for identifying putative processes common to all human settlements.
... Here we explore a variety of factors that previous scholarship suggests may have played a role in the evolution of military technologies by systematically quantifying the effects of those factors for thousands of years of world history. Earlier efforts to quantify levels of technological complexity in eastern and western ends of Eurasia [11,12] have been criticized for being unduly subjective [13], especially when it comes to measuring rates of innovation in military technology, and are obviously limited in spatial coverage. Here we propose an alternative methodology for quantifying technological evolution and expand the geographic scope from just these two broad regions to 35 "Natural Geographic Areas" across all ten major world regions, using Seshat: Global History Databank, a major resource for studying patterns of sociocultural evolution in world history (see Materials and Methods below). ...
Article
Full-text available
What have been the causes and consequences of technological evolution in world history? In particular, what propels innovation and diffusion of military technologies, details of which are comparatively well preserved and which are often seen as drivers of broad socio-cultural processes? Here we analyze the evolution of key military technologies in a sample of pre-industrial societies world-wide covering almost 10,000 years of history using Seshat : Global History Databank . We empirically test previously speculative theories that proposed world population size, connectivity between geographical areas of innovation and adoption, and critical enabling technological advances, such as iron metallurgy and horse riding, as central drivers of military technological evolution. We find that all of these factors are strong predictors of change in military technology, whereas state-level factors such as polity population, territorial size, or governance sophistication play no major role. We discuss how our approach can be extended to explore technological change more generally, and how our results carry important ramifications for understanding major drivers of evolution of social complexity.
... This way of life is also remarkably stable and sustainable, exhibiting slow rates of social, environmental, and technological change in comparison with more settled and denser societies (Perreault 2012;Powell, Shennan, and Thomas 2009). Given these general observations, it is striking that over the past 10,000 years most human communities have transitioned to a type of social organization characterized by spatial agglomeration and the growth of regional urban systems (De Vries 2006;Fletcher 1995;Glaeser 2011;Jacobs 1969;Morris 2013;Ucko, Tringham, and Dimbleby 1972;Wrigley 2016). ...
... This way of life is also remarkably stable and sustainable, exhibiting slow rates of social, environmental, and technological change in comparison with more settled and denser societies (Powell, Shennan, and Thomas 2009;Perreault 2012). Given these general observations, it is striking that over the past ten thousand years, following the stabilization of the climate in the Holocene, most human communities have transitioned to a type of social organization characterized by spatial agglomeration and the growth of regional urban systems (Glaeser 2011;Jacobs 1969;Wrigley 2016;De Vries 1984;Morris 2013;Ucko, Tringham, and Dimbleby 1972;Fletcher 1995). ...
Article
One of the most commonly-observed properties of human settlements, both past and present, is the tendency for larger settlements to display higher population densities. Work in urban science and archaeology suggests this densification pattern reflects an emergent spatial equilibrium where individuals balance movement costs with social interaction benefits, leading to increases in aggregate productivity and social interdependence. In this context, it is perhaps not surprising that the more temporary camps created by mobile hunters and gatherers exhibit a tendency to become less dense with their population size. Here we examine why this difference occurs and consider conditions under which hunter-gatherer groups may transition to sedentism and densification. We investigate the relationship between population and area in mobile hunter-gatherer camps using a dataset, representing a large cross-cultural sample, derived from the ethnographic literature. We present a model based on the interplay between social interactions and scalar stress for the relationship between camp area and group size that describes the observed patterns among mobile hunter-gatherers. The model highlights the tradeoffs between the costs and benefits of proximity and interaction that are common to all human aggregations and specifies the constraints that must be overcome for economies of scale and cooperation to emerge.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
U svrhu unapređenja igračke kvalitete mladih košarkaša s ciljem dobijanja što veće situacijske efikasnosti, u treningu je pored osnovnog kondicijskog treninga, neophodno primjenuti i obezbjediti što više situacijske igre (igre na dva koša), jer se tom trenažnom metodom izgrađuju i usavršavaju specifični situacijski elementi košarkaške igre. Cilj ovog istraživanja je da se utvrde efekti primjene trenažnog modela situacionog treninga, na situaciono-motorički prostor mladih košarkaša juniorskog uzrasta.
Article
Full-text available
Understanding why large, complex human societies have emerged and persisted more readily in certain regions of the world than others is an issue of long-standing debate. Here, we systematically test different hypotheses involving the social and ecological factors that may ultimately promote or inhibit the formation of large, complex human societies. We employ spatially explicit statistical analyses using data on the geographical and temporal distribution of the largest human groups over a 3000-year period of history. The results support the predictions of two complementary hypotheses, indicating that large-scale societies developed more commonly in regions where (i) agriculture has been practiced for longer (thus providing more time for the norms and institutions that facilitate large-scale organisation to emerge), and (ii) warfare was more intense (as proxied by distance from the Eurasian steppe), thus creating a stronger selection pressure for societies to scale up. We found no support for the influential idea that large-scale societies were more common in those regions naturally endowed with a higher potential for productive agriculture. Our study highlights how modern cultural evolutionary theory can be used to organise and synthesise alternative hypotheses and shed light on the ways ecological and social processes have interacted to shape the complex social world we live in today.
Article
Full-text available
The laws and regulations in human history can be revealed by computational models. From 221 before Christ (BC) to 1912 Anno Domini (AD), the unification pattern has dominated the main part of Chinese history for 2132 years. Before the emergence of the first unified empire, the Qin Empire in 221 BC, there existed the Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 BC to 221 BC). This long dynasty has two stages, and here we focus on the first stage. This Spring–Autumn stage was from 770 BC (with 148 states) to 476 BC (with 32 states). The whole country (China) is modelled as a multi‐agent system, which contains multiple local states. They behave autonomously under certain action rules (wars and conflicts), which forms the main reason for the annexations and disappearance of most states. Key factors (power, loyalty, bellicosity and alliance) have been considered in our model settings, and simulation outcomes will be monitored and collected. Eventually, an optimal solution is obtained, which well unveils the internal mechanism and statistical features of real big history. Furthermore, counterfactuals are used to explore the non‐linear effects of the key factors, which deepens the authors’ understanding of civilisation evolutions in human history.
Article
I am grateful to have received so many stimulating commentaries from interested colleagues regarding the psychological origins of the Industrial Revolution and the role of evolutionary theory in understanding historical phenomena. Commentators criticized, extended, and explored the implications of the perspective I presented, and I wholeheartedly agree with many commentaries that more work is needed. In this response, I thus focus on what is needed to further test the psychological origins of the Industrial Revolution. Specifically, I argue, in agreement with many commentators, that we need: (1) better data about standards of living, psychological preferences, and innovation rates (sect. R1); (2) better models to understand the role of resources (and not just mortality) in driving cultural evolution and the multiple aspects of the behavioral constellation of affluence (sect. R2); and (3) better predictions and better statistical instruments to disentangle the possible mechanisms behind the rise of innovativeness (genetic selection, rational choice, and phenotypic plasticity) (sect. R3).
Chapter
This chapter focuses on the regions of central and eastern Anatolia. A review of the coastal areas of the West and across the Taurus into the borderland of Turkey with Syria and Iraq will complete the picture. The cultural history of Anatolia in the late 2nd millennium is dominated by the Hittite Empire. None of the states that emerged in central Anatolia during the Iron Age (IA) reached the social complexity, the territorial dimensions, and the political power of the Hittite empire. Chronological and regional research in eastern Anatolia is unevenly distributed. Excavations have been mainly concentrated along the river valleys. The expansion of the Median and the Achaemenid Empires brought an end to the balanced relations of the IA. The incorporation of Anatolia into this transcontinental state caused changes in the political structure, but was not followed by any notable transformation of the material culture.
Article
Over recent decades, many archaeologists have eschewed evolutionary theories, and in doing so they have turned away from the identification of long‐term trends that are of great relevance to present‐day matters of concern. In particular, there is clear evidence for an overall long‐term increase in the amount of human‐made material and associated human‐thing entanglements, an increase tied up with environmental impact and global inequalities. The directionality of these long‐term changes is clear and yet evolutionary theory largely shuns notions of overall directional change. This paradox and its implications are the subject of this article, with the suggestion made that, for human evolution at least, notions of directionality and path dependence need to be embraced, with concomitant changes in human evolutionary theory, and with implications for responses to environmental change. Adding to earlier accounts of entanglement, emphases are placed on the self‐amplifying processes that lead to change and on irreversibility in the place of teleology. Le paradoxe du long terme : évolution humaine et imbrication Résumé Depuis quelques dizaines d'années, de nombreux archéologues ont tenté d’échapper aux théories de l’évolution et, ce faisant, se sont détournés de l'identification des tendances de longue durée, pourtant très importantes pour les questions qui nous préoccupent aujourd'hui. Les données pointent clairement, en particulier, vers une augmentation globale sur le long terme de la quantité de matière produite par les humains et de son corollaire, l'ensemble des imbrications avec les non‐humains. Cette augmentation est indissociable des impacts environnementaux et des inégalités planétaires. La direction de ces changements au long cours est claire, mais la théorie de l’évolution évite en général les notions de changement dirigé global. Ce paradoxe et ses implications sont le sujet de cet article qui suggère que, dans le cas tout au moins de l’évolution humaine, il importe d'adopter les notions de directionnalité et de « dépendance de sentier » (path dependence), en modifiant la théorie de l’évolution humaine et en identifiant les implications pour les réponses aux changements de l'environnement. Venant s'ajouter aux descriptions plus anciennes de cette imbrication, l'auteur met l'accent sur les processus auto‐amplificateurs qui entraînent le changement, et sur l'irréversibilité en lieu et place de la téléologie.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we reflect on four important issues for the relationship between archaeology and society in the post-COVID-19 era: resources, social commitment, our digital presence in communities, and normative legal frameworks. We propose a shared program, having long advocated a participatory archaeology which analyses past and more sustainable civilizations, and reflects on the lack of sustainability in today’s world.
Article
Older origins of measles virus Animal domestication by humans is thought to have given many pathogens an opportunity to invade a new host, and measles is one example of this. However, there is controversy about when measles emerged in humans, because the historical descriptions of measles are relatively recent (late ninth century CE). The controversy has persisted in part because ancient RNA is thought to be a poor target for molecular clock techniques. Düx et al. have overcome the ancient RNA challenge by sequencing a measles virus genome obtained from a museum specimen of the lungs of child who died in 1912 (see the Perspective by Ho and Duchêne). The authors used these and other more recent sequencing data in a Bayesian molecular clock–modeling technique, which showed that measles virus diverged from rinderpest virus in the sixth century BCE, indicating an early origin for measles possibly associated with the beginnings of urbanization. Science , this issue p. 1367 ; see also p. 1310
Article
Full-text available
A defining feature of the contemporary world is economic growth, and the most frequently cited cause is technological change, especially with respect to energy capture and information processing. This framing masks the potential for economic growth in nonindustrial societies, but there is growing evidence for episodes where the material conditions of life did improve in the preindustrial past. Here, we explore a potential mechanism behind these improvements. We use settlement scaling theory to distinguish agglomeration-driven from technology-driven growth, and then we apply this framework to archaeological evidence from the Pre-Hispanic Northern Rio Grande Pueblos of New Mexico, USA. Results suggest that agglomeration-driven or “Smithian” growth was the dominant factor behind improvements in the material conditions of life over time in this society. We also summarize evidence that this growth took place in the context of a stable regional population, declining levels of inequality, and increasingly inclusive social institutions.
Article
Full-text available
This article introduces the Seshat: Global History Databank, its potential, and its methodology. Seshat is a databank containing vast amounts of quantitative data buttressed by qualitative nuance for a large sample of historical and archaeological polities. The sample is global in scope and covers the period from the Neolithic Revolution to the Industrial Revolution. Seshat allows scholars to capture dynamic processes and to test theories about the co-evolution (or not) of social scale and complexity, agriculture, warfare, religion, and any number of such Big Questions. Seshat is rapidly becoming a massive resource for innovative cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary research. Seshat is part of a growing trend to use comparative historical data on a large scale and contributes as such to a growing consilience between the humanities and social sciences. Seshat is underpinned by a robust and transparent workflow to ensure the ever growing dataset is of high quality.
Article
Our present era of high‐energy modernity will likely end over the course of the 21st century, as fossil hydrocarbons wane and new energy technologies fail to compensate. Long‐term trends of urbanization will reverse and a migration back to the countryside to regions of high biocapacity will ensue during the coming decades of energy descent. Food will become a central and organizing concern for de‐industrializing populations, and key concepts and general methods to secure food supplies using less mechanization and with few outside inputs are presented. Given that high social complexity is institutionalized, with system identities locked‐in, we should not expect a planned response to declining net energy. Instead, the so‐called Great Simplification will unfold through a series of crises that force reorganization and alter belief systems. Resilience science suggests a role for promoting system transformability along more benign paths and into social forms that are more frugal.
Article
Full-text available
A central question in behavioral and social sciences is understanding to what extent cultural traits are inherited from previous generations, transmitted from adjacent populations or produced in response to changes in socioeconomic and ecological conditions. As quantitative diachronic databases recording the evolution of cultural artifacts over many generations are becoming more common, there is a need for appropriate data-driven methods to approach this question. Here we present a new Bayesian method to infer the dynamics of cultural traits in a diachronic dataset. Our method called Evoked-Transmitted Cultural model (ETC) relies on fitting a latent-state model where a cultural trait is a latent variable which guides the production of the cultural artifacts observed in the database. The dynamics of this cultural trait may depend on the value of the cultural traits present in previous generations and in adjacent populations ( transmitted culture ) and/or on ecological factors ( evoked culture ). We show how ETC models can be fitted to quantitative diachronic or synchronic datasets, using the Expectation-Maximization algorithm, enabling estimating the relative contribution of vertical transmission, horizontal transmission and evoked component in shaping cultural traits. The method also allows to reconstruct the dynamics of cultural traits in different regions. We tested the performance of the method on synthetic data for two variants of the method (for binary or continuous traits). We found that both variants allow reliable estimates of parameters guiding cultural evolution, and that they outperform purely phylogenetic tools that ignore horizontal transmission and ecological factors. Overall, our method opens new possibilities to reconstruct how culture is shaped from quantitative data, with possible application in cultural history, cultural anthropology, archaeology, historical linguistics and behavioral ecology.
Chapter
Complex artifactual systems are realizations of the CAES archetype model. The design or improvement of these systems is based on using the CAES model for guidance in acquiring understanding of the actual system. We elaborate on the SDE process introduced in the last chapter, showing how to use the CAES model to analyze the to-be-designed system in the abstract. We then show how using the analytic and synthetic techniques covered in Chaps. 6 and 8 are used to refine and elaborate the design in terms of specific subsystems. This chapter ends with an example of a very important CAES for human society, a module that produces food in a sustainable process.
Article
Full-text available
Since the late nineteenth century, cultural historians have noted that the importance of love increased during the Medieval and Early Modern European period (a phenomenon that was once referred to as the emergence of ‘courtly love’). However, more recent works have shown a similar increase in Chinese, Arabic, Persian, Indian and Japanese cultures. Why such a convergent evolution in very different cultures? Using qualitative and quantitative approaches, we leverage literary history and build a database of ancient literary fiction for 19 geographical areas and 77 historical periods covering 3,800 years, from the Middle Bronze Age to the Early Modern period. We first confirm that romantic elements have increased in Eurasian literary fiction over the past millennium, and that similar increases also occurred earlier, in Ancient Greece, Rome and Classical India. We then explore the ecological determinants of this increase. Consistent with hypotheses from cultural history and behavioural ecology, we show that a higher level of economic development is strongly associated with a greater incidence of love in narrative fiction (our proxy for the importance of love in a culture). To further test the causal role of economic development, we used a difference-in-difference method that exploits exogenous regional variations in economic development resulting from the adoption of the heavy plough in medieval Europe. Finally, we used probabilistic generative models to reconstruct the latent evolution of love and to assess the respective role of cultural diffusion and economic development.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Chinese cities have a history of at least five thousand years, and the city of Chang'an in the Tang Dynasty is a milestone. The planning and design of Chang'an City represented the most advanced level in the world at that time and laid the foundation for the design of China's capital city. With the global outbreak of the new crown virus COVID-19, it is even more necessary to enter the "post-epidemic era" for urban epidemic prevention and governance measures. In the history of the Tang Dynasty, there were 49 plague outbreaks, but they still created prosperous situations such as the "Excellent Governance during the Zhenguan Times" and " Flourishment Age of Kaiyuan Era". This article analyzes and explores the urban epidemic prevention and governance system of Tang Chang'an City from six aspects, including the site selection,water supply and drainage system, medical isolation facilities, Li-Fang walled ward management system, landscaping, and mainstream medical ideological guidance, and summarizes previous experience. Provide reference for follow-up modern urban epidemic prevention and management.
Preprint
Full-text available
Chinese cities have a history of at least five thousand years, and the city of Chang'an in the Tang Dynasty is a milestone. The planning and design of Chang'an City represented the most advanced level in the world at that time and laid the foundation for the design of China's capital city. With the global outbreak of the new crown virus COVID-19, it is even more necessary to enter the "post-epidemic era" for urban epidemic prevention and governance measures. In the history of the Tang Dynasty, there were 49 plague outbreaks, but they still created prosperous situations such as the "Excellent Governance during the Zhenguan Times" and " Flourishment Age of Kaiyuan Era". This article analyzes and explores the urban epidemic prevention and governance system of Tang Chang’an City from six aspects, including the site selection,water supply and drainage system, medical isolation facilities, Li-Fang walled ward management system, landscaping, and mainstream medical ideological guidance, and summarizes previous experience. Provide reference for follow-up modern urban epidemic prevention and management. (PDF) EasyChair Preprint Discussion on Urban Epidemic Prevention and Control in Chang 'an City in Tang Dynasty. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/356373965_EasyChair_Preprint_Discussion_on_Urban_Epidemic_Prevention_and_Control_in_Chang_'an_City_in_Tang_Dynasty [accessed Nov 19 2021].
Article
This article explores the role of states and industrial policy in shaping the historical coevolution of energy and international order. I explore how states, by narrowly self-interested pecuniary goals, the desire for geopolitical advantage, and concerns about the political ramifications of domestic economic structure, use industrial policy to encourage the development of energy-intensive transportation and agricultural systems. Over time, increasingly energy-intensive systems allowed an increasingly complex international order to develop, one characterized by significant differentiation and specialization organized over a geographically expansive area. This contemporary complex order is dependent on fossil fuels. I argue that states retain geopolitical and domestic political incentives to use green industrial policy to develop the technologies needed to transition away from this fossil fuel dependence, but industrial policy today faces greater challenges than it did in the past.
Article
This book explores the deep roots of modern democracy, focusing on geography and long-term patterns of global diffusion. Its geographic argument centers on access to the sea, afforded by natural harbors which enhance the mobility of people, goods, capital, and ideas. The extraordinary connectivity of harbor regions thereby affected economic development, the structure of the military, statebuilding, and openness to the world – and, through these pathways, the development of representative democracy. The authors' second argument focuses on the global diffusion of representative democracy. Beginning around 1500, Europeans started to populate distant places abroad. Where Europeans were numerous they established some form of representative democracy, often with restrictions limiting suffrage to those of European heritage. Where they were in the minority, Europeans were more reticent about popular rule and often actively resisted democratization. Where Europeans were entirely absent, the concept of representative democracy was unfamiliar and its practice undeveloped.
Article
In this paper we reflect on four important issues for the relationship between archaeology and society in the post-COVID-19 era: resources, social commitment, our digital presence in communities, and normative legal frameworks. We propose a shared program, having long advocated a participatory archaeology which analyses past and more sustainable civilizations, and reflects on the lack of sustainability in today’s world
Article
Full-text available
We propose a dedicated research effort on the determinants of settlement persistence in the ancient world, with the potential to significantly advance the scientific understanding of urban sustainability today. Settlements (cities, towns, villages) are locations with two key attributes: They frame human interactions and activities in space, and they are where people dwell or live. Sustainability, in this case, focuses on the capacity of structures and functions of a settlement system (geography, demography, institutions) to provide for continuity of safe habitation. The 7,000-y-old experience of urbanism, as revealed by archaeology and history, includes many instances of settlements and settlement systems enduring, adapting to, or generating environmental, institutional, and technological changes. The field of urban sustainability lacks a firm scientific foundation for understanding the long durée, relying instead on narratives of collapse informed by limited case studies. We argue for the development of a new interdisciplinary research effort to establish scientific understanding of settlement and settlement system persistence. Such an effort would build upon the many fields that study human settlements to develop new theories and databases from the extensive documentation of ancient and premodern urban systems. A scientific foundation will generate novel insights to advance the field of urban sustainability.
Thesis
This thesis argues that there is a genre of film concerned with the travels of disenfranchised women in 21st century Chinese cinema. An identifiable set of film narratives have largely emerged in China’s neoliberal moment since the 1980s; and especially after the 2000s when China has been more engaged with the processes of globalisation, modernisation, urbanisation (Rofel 2007; Ong and Zhang 2008). Such a socio-economic procedure has stimulated massive population flows, spatial transition and development-induced displacement, uprooting and destabilising identity and sense of belonging (Wagner et al. 2014; Chen and Yang 2013). These subjects are often dislocated physically and socially from the dreams of the nouveau-riche and older cosmopolitan subjectivities that surround them. Heroines in such a cinema are either the village/suburban indigenous whose intra-village travels define their status of marginalisation and resistance, the rural migrants who have worked or lived in the city and choose to return, or urban middle-class women who are troubled by urban lives and set off on journeys to remote regions for self-revival. I argue that, in the cinema of dislocation, on the one hand, heroines are all displaced to various degrees by their unique circumstances; on the other hand, the status of dislocation serves as the women’s agency and empowers them, enabling them to seek for a new sense of location, belonging and identity during their travels and search for homecoming. Apart from contextual and thematic exploration, the challenges for this thesis will be to identify the other qualities that will justify defining the Cinema of Dislocation definitively as a genre of Chinese film in its own right: the network of directors, a shared aesthetic, distinctive dislocation narratives and cinematographies, and a degree of flexibility that allows the genre to develop.
Article
Full-text available
Rice, Oryza sativa L., is one of the most important cereal crops in the world, and its emergence as a domesticated subsistence plant drives much of the interest and research in archaeology in South and East Asia. The homeland of domesticated rice has been proposed as: 1 a specific area, such as India (Vavilov 1926; Ramiah & Ghose 1951), South China (Ding 1957), Southeast Asia (Spencer 1963) and the Yangtze valley in China (Yan 1982; 1989) 2 a biogeographic region, such as the so-called ‘belt region’ with a great diversity of Oryza species (Chang 1976), or 3 an ecological zone, such as coastal swamp habitats (Higham 1995).
Chapter
Full-text available
My chapter adopts a broad perspective on the subject of animal husbandry within the Greek poleis in the archaic, classical and hellenistic periods. My aim is to explore some of the fundamental questions surrounding the role of livestock, in order to construct a provisional general framework within which a more detailed examination might subsequently be attempted. In constructing this framework it is also my aim to react against a dominant stereotype of ancient Greek animal husbandry which assumes a near-universal pattern of seasonal transhumance and to substitute a more nuanced and complex interpretation of the subject.
Article
The origin of pottery is among the most important questions in Old World archaeology. The author undertakes a critical review of radiocarbon dates associated with the earliest pottery-making and eliminates a number of them where the material or its context are unreliable. Using those that survive this process of 'chronometric hygiene', he proposes that food-containers made of burnt clay originated in East Asia in the Late Glacial, c. 13 700-13 300 BP, and appeared in three separate regions, in Japan, China and far eastern Russia, at about the same time.
Chapter
The economic history of the Iron Age in the western Mediterranean is a complex tale in which encounters and entanglements between diverse indigenous peoples and foreign agents from several expanding states of the eastern and central Mediterranean played a recurrent and crucial role. This chapter presents a highly compressed, and inherently partial, synthesis of the current state of research on the economic history of the western Mediterranean during the Iron Age. In very general terms, the chapter deals with indigenous societies constituting three broad linguistic groupings: Iberian, Celtic, and Ligurian, as well as, three different major sources of external traders and colonists: Phoenician, Greek, Etruscan. The basic global repertoire of cereal crops and domestic animals was quite similar for both colonists and indigenous societies in the western Mediterranean, although there were significant variations in the relative importance of different elements in the diet as well as in the culinary practices used to prepare food.
Book
This companion provides an extensive account of the Roman army, exploring its role in Roman politics and society as well as the reasons for its effectiveness as a fighting force. An extensive account of the Roman army, from its beginnings to its transformation in the later Roman Empire Examines the army as a military machine - its recruitment, training, organization, tactics and weaponry Explores the relationship of the army to Roman politics, economics and society more broadly Considers the geography and climate of the lands in which the Romans fought Each chapter is written by a leading expert in a particular subfield and takes account of the latest scholarly and archaeological research in that area.
Chapter
The early Ottoman military organisation was a peculiar a malgam of Turkoman nomadic, Seljuk-Ilkhanid and Byzantine elements, but it was the nomadic tradition which predominated among the various constituent parts in the early period of the formation of the state. As in other Eurasian nomadic societies, it may well have been very difficult to distinguish between society and military among the Turkomans living in the Bithynian marches. All followers of the Ottomans capable of fighting could and did participate in raiding or in defence if need arose. The predatory raids were called akin in Turkish, and those taking part in them were akinci (later, as the Islamic character of the state strengthened, the term gazi , that is, warrior of the faith, came to be preferred). Yet, apart from the undifferentiated bands of warriors, we see from the outset a relatively small but well-organised and well-trained force which gathered around the ruler and rendered services to him in war and peace. This type of ‘military retinue’ was not an Ottoman invention. It was a universal institution which had existed in the east and the west since time immemorial. In the empires of the Inner Asian Turks and Uighurs the retinue of the kagan (ruler) was called buyruk , while the Karahanids and the Mongols knew it under the names koldaş and nökör , respectively.
Article
For estimating the population of classical Greece, literary sources prove to yield higher numbers than the method based on territorial size, so that the sum is probably more than 7.5 million.
Book
The main concern of this book is to determine when the gap in living standards between the East and the West emerged. Why did Europe experience industrialization and modern economic growth before China, India, or Japan? This is one of the most fundamental questions in Economic history and one that has provoked intense debate. The established view, dating back to Adam Smith, is that the gap emerged long before the industrial revolution.
Book
Recent advances in cognitive psychology, socio-linguistics, and socio-anthropology are revolutionizing our understanding of literacy. However, this research has made only minimal inroads among classicists. In turn, historians of literacy continue to rely on outdated work by classicists (mostly from the 1960s and 1970s) and have little access to the current reexamination of the ancient evidence. This timely volume seeks to formulate interesting new ways of conceiving the entire concept of literacy in the ancient world, as text-oriented events embedded in particular socio-cultural contexts. This book rethinks from the ground up how students of classical antiquity might best approach the question of literacy in the past, and how that investigation might materially intersect with changes in the way that literacy is now viewed in other disciplines. The result provides new ways of thinking about specific elements of "literacy" in antiquity, such as the nature of personal libraries, or what it means to be a bookseller in antiquity; new constructionist questions, such as what constitutes reading communities and how they fashion themselves; new takes on the public sphere, such as how literacy intersects with commercialism, or with the use of public spaces, or with the construction of civic identity; new essentialist questions, such as what do "book" and "reading" signify in antiquity, why literate cultures develop, or why literate cultures matter.
Chapter
In comparison to other regions in the world, there have been only limited studies on the archaeology of early urbanization in China, partly due to the lack of adequate information available for such studies. Issues on urbanism in China are also intertwined with questions concerning state formation, which have been controversial. Previous research has been focused primarily on the Shang Dynasty, particularly in its centers at Zhengzhou and Anyang in Henan. Several models have been proposed by these scholars to help to characterize the political contexts of early urbanism in China. These include models of city-states, segmentary states, territorial states, and village states (for a detailed discussion see Liu and Chen 2003). There is no consensus among scholars, however, regarding the nature of urbanization in China, and these two Shang cities, which have been the focus of discussion, may in fact not represent the earliest cities, but relatively mature stages of urban development. What we need to study are the processes during which the first urban centers emerged in China. Copyright
Article
In the foregoing article, W. Scheidel builds on earlier work, most notably that of R. P. Duncan-Jones in JRA 9, to offer a model for the predicted effects of the Antonine plague and to argue that the model fits the evidence from Roman Egypt reasonably well within the limits of the quantity and quality of the latter. In his second footnote, he encourages critical response, suggesting that it “may either corroborate or undermine my interpretation.” The following pages are intended as a contribution to that discussion, but with lesser ambitions than either corroborating or undermining the model as a whole. They offer some of both, in fact, but more in the direction of undermining it. There are three reasons for not claiming too much at this point and not offering any general conclusion (as I do not). The first is that I do not have any fixed views on the degree to which the plague was the prime mover behind the changes visible in late 2nd- and 3rd-c. Egypt. In the absence of any concerted attempt to formulate and test other hypotheses about the engines of social and economic change, it is hard to say if the degree of fit of evidence to model is impressive or not. The most obvious counter-candidate is the increased municipalization of Egypt during just this period, especially from A.D. 200 onward. It would be useful to generate a model of economic change from this force and see if it is equally capable of accounting for the evidence.
Article
An insightful view on how to use the power of complexity theory to manage projects more successfully. Current management practices require adherence to rigid, global responses unsuitable for addressing the changing needs of most projects. Complexity Theory and Project Management shifts this paradigm to create opportunities for expanding the decision-making process in ways that promote flexibility-and increase effectiveness. It informs readers on the managerial challenges of juggling project requirements, and offers them a clear roadmap on how to revise perspectives and reassess priorities to excel despite having an unpredictable workflow. Complexity Theory and Project Management provides remedies through the use of teaching notes, power point slides, a solutions manual, and a toolbox of answers to common project management problems to illustrate how the deployment of complexity theory can make a project more successful. One of the first books covering the subject of complexity theory for project management, this useful guide. Explains the relationship of complexity theory to virtual project management. Supplies techniques, tips, and suggestions for building effective and successful teams in the virtual environment. Presents current information about best practices and relevant proactive tools. Makes a strong case for including complexity theory in PMI's PMBOK Guide. Complexity Theory and Project Management gives a firsthand view on the future of complexity theory as a driving force in the management field, and allows project managers to get a head start in applying its principles immediately to produce more favorable outcomes.
Article
Demography has long been an essential ingredient of economic history. Students of the “ancient economy”, by contrast, have been late to give demography its due weight, and attempts to illustrate the potential relevance of population issues have been rare.1 This case-study of Roman Egypt aims to interpret empirical evidence of economic change with reference to demographic factors. I will argue that in the late 2nd c. A.D. a severe mortality crisis triggered price and wage shocks, and that during the following century the resultant population loss contributed to a decrease in the return on land and to a rise in the real wages of workers. I must stress at the outset that my model is deductive in so far as it predicts specific developments based on the internal logic of economic and demographic relationships as illustrated or corroborated by comparative evidence from other periods, and also in that it seeks to situate and explain disparate samples of empirical data within a preconceived unifying interpretative framework. In this it is my goal to provide the most economical and internally consistent explanation for the largest possible amount of the available data. No explanatory model can ever be “complete” or even “correct” to the extent that it would accommodate every single artifact of historical information, eliminate the need for complementary explanations, or fully disentangle the complexity of historical events; rather, it needs to be judged in terms of whether it exceeds (actual or potential) comparably comprehensive alternative models in its capacity to interpret and explain the evidence in a logically coherent and historically plausible fashion.
Article
This article reunites a substantial group of iron tools that were discovered during the excavation of the Roman Villa of P. Fannius Synistor in Boscoreale, Italy, in the early 20th century. The tools were subsequently sold and exported in two widely spaced shipments to the United States. They ended up in museums in Chicago (the Field Museum) and Ann Arbor (the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology), which are not far apart geographically. It seems likely that Francis Kelsey himself was instrumental in the acquisition of the artifacts now in the Kelsey Museum. The tools are important for their precise terminus ante quem, their remarkable preservation (esp. for iron artifacts), and the information they reveal about the practical side of life at a villa that is better known in the United States for the elaborately decorated frescoes on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The corpus, which offers valuable information on agriculture and woodworking at the villa, includes typical, widely seen iron tool types, as well as a few pieces that are quite unusual.
Article
The reconstruction of changes of precipitation from dendro-dates in western Europe during the Roman Principate (Schmidt and Gruhle 2003a) indicates that a very humid climate (mostly maritime conditions) dominated the first half of the period (until about AD 200). In the second half the climate seems to have changed dramatically, as according to new results it might have become increasingly dry between AD 250 and AD 420/30 (mostly continental conditions). The following evidence supports this suggested change from extremely humid to extremely dry: 1. the existence of numerous archaeological timbers in the first half of the Roman period, 2. extremely few archaeological timbers between AD 300 and AD 400, 3. a renewed increase of wooden finds with the beginning of the Merovingian period (6th/7th century). 4. The distribution of oak from river gravels (Danube and Main) demonstrates a nearly identical development (phases of floods and droughts). 5. The missing river oaks in the dry period of the 4th/5th century is congruent with reports on decreasing flood tendencies in Italy and the end of trade between China and Europe, caused by a lack of rain. The comparison between the reconstructed changes of precipitation in western Europe and the frequency of archaeological and geological timbers suggests an almost identical picture: from the beginning of the second half of the Roman Principate until the beginning of the Migration period the climate was much drier than in the centuries before and after.
Article
Many historical processes exhibit recurrent patterns of change. Century-long periods of population expansion come before long periods of stagnation and decline; the dynamics of prices mirror population oscillations; and states go through strong expansionist phases followed by periods of state failure, endemic sociopolitical instability, and territorial loss. Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov explore the dynamics and causal connections between such demographic, economic, and political variables in agrarian societies and offer detailed explanations for these long-term oscillations--what the authors call secular cycles. Secular Cycleselaborates and expands upon the demographic-structural theory first advanced by Jack Goldstone, which provides an explanation of long-term oscillations. This book tests that theory's specific and quantitative predictions by tracing the dynamics of population numbers, prices and real wages, elite numbers and incomes, state finances, and sociopolitical instability. Turchin and Nefedov study societies in England, France, and Russia during the medieval and early modern periods, and look back at the Roman Republic and Empire. Incorporating theoretical and quantitative history, the authors examine a specific model of historical change and, more generally, investigate the utility of the dynamical systems approach in historical applications. An indispensable and groundbreaking resource for a wide variety of social scientists,Secular Cycleswill interest practitioners of economic history, historical sociology, complexity studies, and demography.
Article
From humans to hermit crabs to deep water plankton, all living things compete for locally limiting resources. This universal truth unites three bodies of thought--economics, evolution, and history--that have developed largely in mutual isolation. Here, Geerat Vermeij undertakes a groundbreaking and provocative exploration of the facts and theories of biology, economics, and geology to show how processes common to all economic systems--competition, cooperation, adaptation, and feedback--govern evolution as surely as they do the human economy, and how historical patterns in both human and nonhuman evolution follow from this principle.Using a wealth of examples of evolutionary innovations, Vermeij argues that evolution and economics are one. Powerful consumers and producers exercise disproportionate controls on the characteristics, activities, and distribution of all life forms. Competition-driven demand by consumers, when coupled with supply-side conditions permitting economic growth, leads to adaptation and escalation among organisms. Although disruptions in production halt or reverse these processes temporarily, they amplify escalation in the long run to produce trends in all economic systems toward greater power, higher production rates, and a wider reach for economic systems and their strongest members.
Article
What was the population of imperial Rome? City blocks in Pompeii and Ostia are sufficiently well explored that a fair estimate of population density can now be arrived at. That peoples the city of ancient Rome with roughly 450,000 inhabitants, within the known population and density range of pre-industrial and modern urban centres.
Article
This chapter focuses on the mortuary practices and the study of prehistoric social systems. The study of mortuary practices reflects social phenomena. To evaluate the usefulness of mortuary data for social modeling, two criteria are important. These are the range of social information that can be derived from mortuary remains, and the reliability of burial data as indicators of social phenomena. One of the basic problems in the study of prehistoric societies has been the development of scales on which archaeological societies can be placed for comparative purposes. The scales most frequently used are derived from ethnology. These scales aspire to an ordinal level of measurement, in that a societal typology is developed, in which, kinds of societies are ranked according to increasing degrees of structural complexity and increasing numbers of mechanisms for organizing populations. The use of evolutionary typologies as analogues for archaeological societies has dominated mortuary studies. The chapter presents the examples that illustrate the types of conclusions usually derived when evolutionary typologies are employed. The ethnologists who have developed evolutionary typologies have largely conceptualized social variables as dichotomous, and have utilized such dichotomies as the basis for abstracting societal types.
Article
This chapter discusses the evolutionary theory and archaeology. Variously attributed to the influence of Boasian anthropology, dissatisfaction with the supposed Marxist connotations of evolution or empirical failure to accommodate an expanding and increasingly complex archaeological record, evolution ceased to play a significant explanatory role in the first half of this century. To a limited extent, it is necessary to engage in a certain amount of historical analysis to understand the genesis of concepts and usages. There can be no profitable discussion of evolutionary theory in archaeology unless there is initial agreement on precisely what evolution means. Evolutionary theory uses a simple set of universal processes or laws to account for particular entities or sequences of entities in such a fashion that it is possible to show why the form in question occurs when and where it does. The recognition that there were two evolutionary frameworks extant in the mid-19th century has direct implications for the structure and applicability of cultural evolution.
Article
Vere Gordon Childe's academic career has recently attracted a considerable amount of attention, which has been characterized by Tringham as the "let-us-know-Childe-better movement." These publications have failed to address adequately the broader cultural traditions within which Childe and other archaeologists had to operate, specifically social, political, and economic assumptions. In this paper I focus on these broader issues, particularly contemporary politics and Marxism, and examine the extent to which Childe was influenced by American anthropology and anthropologists. Utilizing unpublished letters which have never been analyzed in any depth, I demonstrate that Childe's association with anthropology in the United States was both long and significant.
Article
The Cape Gelidonya shipwreck lies at the western side of the mouth of the Antalya Bay in southern Turkey. The current between these islands, especially when a calm allows water backed up in the Eastern Mediterranean by the summer's prevailing northwest wind to flow back westward, is as strong as any in the Mediterranean. Around 1200 bc, a vessel of unknown size seems to have ripped open its bottom on a pinnacle of rock on the northeast side of the third island from land. As it sank, artifacts were strewn from the opening in its hull until it settled around fifty meters away. Almost invisible, its metal cargo was nevertheless seen by Bodrum sponge diver Kemal Aras in 1954. In 1958, he described it to American photojournalist Peter Throckmorton, who was living on Captain Kemal's sponge-diving boat while both were writing about the sponge divers of Turkey and cataloging the ancient shipwrecks they showed him.
Longterm trends are examined for the population mass that occupied the central highlands of Palestine during the Iron Age. After 1200 B. C. the landscape of this sparsely populated "frontier" changed as newcomers established hilltop villages, cultivated intermontane valleys, and terraced the slopes. Spatial patterning within villages and certain toponyms were influenced by patrilineal kinship. Heads of household and their lineage mates exercised rights over inheritance and succession in landholding. Inequalities developed within "tribal" Israel long before the monarchy, probably through a process of "lineage capture;" and clientship, with its dyadic relationships between superiors and inferiors, became more common. Tensions developed within Israelite society from the interactions of kinship, clientship, and kingship. As the population grew under the monarchy, the highland frontier was effectively closed, and opportunities for acquiring new land diminished. Thus, many unmarried males had to look elsewhere for patrons and positions. From the ranks of these noble "youths" came recruits for the military, the government, and the priesthood.
Article
This book provides an introduction to the role of diversity in complex adaptive systems. A complex system--such as an economy or a tropical ecosystem--consists of interacting adaptive entities that produce dynamic patterns and structures. Diversity plays a different role in a complex system than it does in an equilibrium system, where it often merely produces variation around the mean for performance measures. In complex adaptive systems, diversity makes fundamental contributions to system performance. Scott Page gives a concise primer on how diversity happens, how it is maintained, and how it affects complex systems. He explains how diversity underpins system level robustness, allowing for multiple responses to external shocks and internal adaptations; how it provides the seeds for large events by creating outliers that fuel tipping points; and how it drives novelty and innovation. Page looks at the different kinds of diversity--variations within and across types, and distinct community compositions and interaction structures--and covers the evolution of diversity within complex systems and the factors that determine the amount of maintained diversity within a system. Provides a concise and accessible introduction. Shows how diversity underpins robustness and fuels tipping points. Covers all types of diversity. The essential primer on diversity in complex adaptive systems.
Chapter
This chapter probes the potential of archaeological data for a reconstruction of the demography of ancient Rome. Unfortunately demographic structure is hard to document archaeologically: to calculate ages of death from adult skeletons is a highly imprecise art. On the other hand, skeletons often tell us much about health and disease. Roman census data exist, but their interpretation is extremely controversial. Archaeological surveys suggest a pattern of dense habitation during the late Republic and early Empire. To translate such artefact densities into human densities remains a heroic endeavour, however. Not nearly so heroic, and at least as revealing, is to graph relative changes over time. In Italy, it seems, from the middle and late Republic, the population increased, to reach a peak in the 1st century BC and/or the 1st century AD, and to decline thereafter. Historically, this means that the population grew precisely in a period of rising prosperity.
Chapter
Despite the existence of recent pessimistic interpretations of the economy of late antiquity, there is now a widespread conviction that whereas concepts such as decline are ideologically charged and consequently misleading, the use of the concept of prosperity is more respectful of the empirical evidence as interpreted by impartial scholars. Chronology shows that the crisis of the slave mode of production did not lead directly to the development of the late antique colonatus. The exhaustion of the villa system should be considered as an antecedent to the process of transition to late antiquity. The active, mature phase of the transition to late antiquity is set in the third century, and involves the whole of the Roman world. Christian reflections regarding work and profits accompany the economic transition to late antiquity, attaining further completion and elaboration in the process.
Chapter
Roman society of the early empire presents a confusing and ambiguous image that we cannot easily situate in unidirectional accounts of European economic history. Clearly, public monuments in marble or other precious stone, military security, the urban food supply, roads, aqueducts and gladiatorial games testify to public consumption on a grand scale. On the other hand, the signs of poverty, misery, and destitution are no less obvious. Many inhabitants of the Roman empire only eked out a meager living, their skeletons grim testimonies to malnutrition and disease. Growth occurred because the wealth of the elite may have been a sign of effective exploitation of the poor. Roman National Income was indeed larger than that of any preindustrial European state. One of the requirements for an economy is to provide enough subsistence for its population to survive. The economic and social achievements of pre-industrial societies can be measured if standard of living of the masses exceeds bare subsistence levels.