historical record
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2022 ◽  
Vol 15 (1) ◽  
pp. 1-20
Santhilata Kuppili Venkata ◽  
Paul Young ◽  
Mark Bell ◽  
Alex Green

Digital transformation in government has brought an increase in the scale, variety, and complexity of records and greater levels of disorganised data. Current practices for selecting records for transfer to The National Archives (TNA) were developed to deal with paper records and are struggling to deal with this shift. This article examines the background to the problem and outlines a project that TNA undertook to research the feasibility of using commercially available artificial intelligence tools to aid selection. The project AI for Selection evaluated a range of commercial solutions varying from off-the-shelf products to cloud-hosted machine learning platforms, as well as a benchmarking tool developed in-house. Suitability of tools depended on several factors, including requirements and skills of transferring bodies as well as the tools’ usability and configurability. This article also explores questions around trust and explainability of decisions made when using AI for sensitive tasks such as selection.

PLoS ONE ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 17 (1) ◽  
pp. e0261816
James S. Bennett

Understanding the rise, spread, and fall of large-scale states in the ancient world has occupied thinkers for millennia. However, no comprehensive mechanistic model of state dynamics based on their insights has emerged, leaving it difficult to evaluate empirically or quantitatively the different explanations offered. Here I present a spatially- and temporally-resolved agent-based model incorporating several hypotheses about the behavior of large-scale (>200 thousand km2) agrarian states and steppe nomadic confederations in Afro-Eurasia between the late Bronze and the end of the Medieval era (1500 BCE to 1500 CE). The model tracks the spread of agrarian states as they expand, conquer the territory of other states or are themselves conquered, and, occasionally, collapse. To accurately retrodict the historical record, several key contingent regional technological advances in state military and agricultural efficiencies are identified. Modifying the location, scale, and timing of these contingent developments allows quantitative investigation of historically-plausible alternative trajectories of state growth, spread, and fragmentation, while demonstrating the operation and limits of the model. Under nominal assumptions, the rapid yet staggered increase of agrarian state sizes across Eurasia after 600 BCE occurs in response to intense military pressure from ‘mirror‘ steppe nomadic confederations. Nevertheless, in spite of various technological advances throughout the period, the modeled creation and spread of new agrarian states is a fundamental consequence of state collapse and internal civil wars triggered by rising ‘demographic-structural’ pressures that occur when state territorial growth is checked yet (warrior elite) population growth continues. Together the model’s underlying mechanisms substantially account for the number of states, their duration, location, spread rate, overall occupied area, and total population size for three thousand years.

2022 ◽  
Fabrizio Marra ◽  
Alberto Frepoli ◽  
Dario Gioia ◽  
Marcello Schiattarella ◽  
Andrea Tertulliani ◽  

Abstract. Rome has the world’s longest historical record of felt earthquakes, with more than 100 events during the last 2,600 years. However, no destructive earthquake has been reported in the sources and all of the greatest damage suffered in the past has been attributed to far-field events. While this fact suggests that a moderate seismotectonic regime characterizes the Rome area, no study has provided a comprehensive explanation for the lack of strong earthquakes in the region. Through the analysis of the focal mechanism and the morphostructural setting of the epicentral area of a "typical" moderate earthquake (ML = 3.3) that recently occurred in the northern urban area of Rome, we demonstrate that this event reactivated a buried segment of an ancient fault generated under both a different and a stronger tectonic regime than that which is presently active. We also show that the evident structural control over the drainage network in this area reflects an extreme degree of fragmentation of a set of buried faults generated under two competing stress fields throughout the Pleistocene. Small faults and a present-day weaker tectonic regime with respect to that acting during the Pleistocene explain the lack of strong seismicity and imply that a large earthquake could not reasonably occur.

2022 ◽  
Amr Abdo

This book is an attempt to find a way through an archaeological labyrinth of fragmentary evidence. Taking into account the last two centuries of systematic research into the topography of the ancient city while integrating the latest discoveries, the volume aims to catalogue the archaeological sites of Alexandria, from the records of the French Expedition (1798-99) to the present day, and to infer the urban layout and cityscape at the time of its foundation (4th century BC), and then through the successive changes which took place up to the Arab conquest in the 7th century AD. To this end, a holistic approach to topographic reconstruction is adopted, where material culture is studied in conjunction with the historical record. The results are displayed in AutoCAD maps and over 340 illustrations.

2021 ◽  
Vol 30 (3) ◽  
pp. 465-498
Jongkuk NAM

This article aims to critically review de Mussis’s report of the events at Caffa. De Mussi says in his account that Tartars catapulted their dead compatriots infected by the plague into the besieged city of Caffa in order to contaminate the Genoese defending the city and that some Genoese galleys fleeing from the city transported the disease to Western Europe. Some historians interpret his report of Tartars catapulting plague-infected bodies as an act of biological warfare, and others do not trust his account as a reliable historical record, while some works rely on his account, even though they do not interpret it as evidence of biological warfare. This article tries to determine whether his account is true or not, and explain historical contexts in which it was made. De Mussi was not an eye-witness of the war between the Tartars and the Genoese in the years of 1343 to 1437 in Caffa, contrary to some historians’ arguments that he was present there during the war. In addition, he understands and explains the disease from a religious perspective as does most of his contemporary Christians, believing that the disease was God's punishment for the sins of human beings. His account of the Tartars catapulting their compatriot’s bodies may derive from his fear and hostility against the Tartars, thinking that they were devils from hell and pagans to be annihilated. For de Mussi, the Genoese may have been greedy merchants who were providing Muslims with slaves and enforcing their military forces. Therefore, he thought that the Tartars and the Genoese were sinners that spread the disease, and that God punished their arrogance. His pathological knowledge of the disease was not accurate and very limited. His medical explanation was based on humoral theory and Miasma theory that Christians and Muslims in the Mediterranean World shared. De Mussi's account that Caffa was a principal starting point for the disease to spread to Western Europe is not sufficiently supported by other contemporary documents. Byzantine chronicles and Villani's chronicle consider not Caffa but Tana as a starting point. In conclusion, most of his account of the disease are not true. However, we can not say that he did not intentionally lie, and we may draw a conclusion that his explanation was made under scientific limits and religious prejudice or intolerance of the medieval Christian world.

2021 ◽  
Justin Tweet ◽  
Holley Flora ◽  
Summer Weeks ◽  
Eathan McIntyre ◽  
Vincent Santucci

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument (PARA) in northwestern Arizona has significant paleontological resources, which are recognized in the establishing presidential proclamation. Because of the challenges of working in this remote area, there has been little documentation of these resources over the years. PARA also has an unusual management situation which complicates resource management. The majority of PARA is administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM; this land is described here as PARA-BLM), while about 20% of the monument is administered by the National Park Service (NPS; this land is described here as PARA-NPS) in conjunction with Lake Mead National Recreation Area (LAKE). Parcels of state and private land are scattered throughout the monument. Reports of fossils within what is now PARA go back to at least 1914. Geologic and paleontologic reports have been sporadic over the past century. Much of what was known of the paleontology before the 2020 field inventory was documented by geologists focused on nearby Grand Canyon National Park (GRCA) and LAKE, or by students working on graduate projects; in either case, paleontology was a secondary topic of interest. The historical record of fossil discoveries in PARA is dominated by Edwin McKee, who reported fossils from localities in PARA-NPS and PARA-BLM as part of larger regional projects published from the 1930s to the 1980s. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has mapped the geology of PARA in a series of publications since the early 1980s. Unpublished reports by researchers from regional institutions have documented paleontological resources in Quaternary caves and rock shelters. From September to December 2020, a field inventory was conducted to better understand the scope and distribution of paleontological resources at PARA. Thirty-eight localities distributed across the monument and throughout its numerous geologic units were documented extensively, including more than 420 GPS points and 1,300 photos, and a small number of fossil specimens were collected and catalogued under 38 numbers. In addition, interviews were conducted with staff to document the status of paleontology at PARA, and potential directions for future management, research, protection, and interpretation. In geologic terms, PARA is located on the boundary of the Colorado Plateau and the Basin and Range provinces. Before the uplift of the Colorado Plateau near the end of the Cretaceous 66 million years ago, this area was much lower in elevation and subject to flooding by shallow continental seas. This led to prolonged episodes of marine deposition as well as complex stratigraphic intervals of alternating terrestrial and marine strata. Most of the rock formations that are exposed in the monument belong to the Paleozoic part of the Grand Canyon section, deposited between approximately 510 and 270 million years ago in mostly shallow marine settings. These rocks have abundant fossils of marine invertebrates such as sponges, corals, bryozoans, brachiopods, bivalves, gastropods, crinoids, and echinoids. The Cambrian–Devonian portion of the Grand Canyon Paleozoic section is represented in only a few areas of PARA. The bulk of the Paleozoic rocks at PARA are Mississippian to Permian in age, approximately 360 to 270 million years old, and belong to the Redwall Limestone through the Kaibab Formation. While the Grand Canyon section has only small remnants of younger Mesozoic rocks, several Mesozoic formations are exposed within PARA, mostly ranging in age from the Early Triassic to the Early Jurassic (approximately 252 to 175 million years ago), as well as some middle Cretaceous rocks deposited approximately 100 million years ago. Mesozoic fossils in PARA include marine fossils in the Moenkopi Formation and petrified wood and invertebrate trace fossils in the Chinle Formation and undivided Moenave and Kayenta Formations.

2021 ◽  
pp. 13-34
William L. d'Ambruoso

This chapter gives a primer on liberal-democratic torture. A brief summary of the historical record shows that liberal democracies have repeatedly engaged in “stealth” coercive interrogation, which the chapter argues usually qualifies as torture by the UN Convention against Torture’s standard definition. What can explain the pattern of recurrence that emerges? Previous work is a useful starting point but leaves important questions unanswered. Lack of monitoring can invite norm violations, but torture is not always hidden. Racism and anger make states and individuals more likely to torture, but they do not tell us why torture often occurs in conjunction with demands for intelligence. Realist and rational choice arguments help to explain the frequent connection between torture and intelligence needs, but they fail to address critical lurking puzzles: Why do people believe torture works? And how do torturers justify these norm-breaking deeds to themselves and others?

2021 ◽  
pp. 91-94
Martin Wight

Wight drafted this note in a further effort to elucidate key points about his analysis of the three main traditions of thinking about international relations in Western societies since the sixteenth century (Realism, Rationalism, and Revolutionism). First, he acknowledged that there have been causative factors other than ideas, such as pursuing power and status, meeting security requirements, and serving economic interests. The historical record suggests, however, that the philosophical views of influential decision-makers in the face of perceived necessity have coloured their policies and actions. Second, the argument that new technologies such as nuclear weapons and space rockets have made traditional themes of political philosophy obsolete is a ‘dehumanizing’ proposition; it overlooks the fact that human beings have devised these new capabilities and applied them to the pursuit of human priorities. Third, there may be a ‘preselected’ relevance of the three traditions: Kantian ideals may be most suited to private and personal affairs; Grotian philosophical principles may be most useful in the domestic politics of constitutional states; and Machiavellian approaches may be required in international politics.

Eos ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 102 ◽  
McKenzie Prillaman

Photographs and field observations yield a more complete historical record of the ebbs and flows of the so-called Blood Falls on Taylor Glacier.

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