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AUREL STEIN - INDEX

 
 

This project was begun with the intention of compiling the results of Sir Aurel Stein's explorations in Central Asia and Northwest India related to the history of fortifications. But the more I read his multi-volume reports and memoirs the more it seemed that the project to create a unified web site should describe other results of his famous work as well, even though these have always received the most attention from scholars and the general public. However, I have left out the volumes that contain hundreds of plates of illustrations of some of the thousands of 'antiques' - relics, coins, fabrics, stuccos and the like. I have included the plates that are diagrams and plans of fortifications. Stein's most valuable material for reference purposes can be divided into several categories:
1 - the detailed information on the Han Dynasty wall - this has been the main focus of my study - and related to that his descriptions of many other fortified places, towns, watch towers, hill forts and the like.
2 - the wealth of information on the transmission of Buddhist art from India to China - most famously at Dunhuang but at many other places also - I only touch on this as it has been studied by many scholars over the past 100 years.
3 - the information on conditions, cultures, languages, ethnic groups and more that Stein described in passing during his three expeditions that crossed what is now north west Pakistan. This interesting material appears to be slighted now due perhaps to the focus of attention on his relation to the Silk Road. It describes an era now past but perhaps still of some relevance to the present. I include summaries only in passing.
4 - the wealth of information Stein provided on the cultures, conditions, languages, ethnic groups and more at the many locations he visited, excavated and/or described specifically along the Chinese Turkestan section of the Silk Road. This seems to be the principle focus of much attention now as it was when he first published it. For instance, he excavated tombs and identified the mummies as Indo-European but left them as he found them. More recently these have been brought to museums and elicited much discussion. This too I have only included in passing.
5 - the fascinating picture of Stein's personal activities, thoughts, relationships with a wide variety of individuals and ethnic groups, his survey methods, archeological methods, and organizational leadership. To a great extent this aspect has been described in two excellent biographies that rely on extensive use of his personal correspondence. But there is also much to enjoy as well as learn from reading his published reports. Perhaps some of that will be found in the summaries here.
6- The details of his survey methods and the cartographic work in preparing the many maps.
After I had read 7 of his books and two published biographies, I discovered that there are several major international projects now devoted to either the history of the Silk Road in general or specifically to Stein's archeological work related to it. Reviewing the huge quantity of material these organizations have digitized and placed on the Internet, I still believe that an easily accessible web site may be useful. For instance, all the maps - 84 in one volume and 47 in another - have been scanned and are viewable, but not with sufficient resolution, in my opinion. His major reports have all been scanned and can be seen in PDF format and even printed, but only one page at a time, a very laborious process and one that lacks context. One can check Google maps also and of course Wikipedia for background information. In addition there are quite a few tourist agencies that have placed interesting information on the Internet about the sites they offer for tours.
Stein is not consistent in his spelling of some personal names from one book to another. Also, he makes a careful point to refer to places with their local names - sometimes Chinese, often Turkic, and for some places Mongolian. In many cases these are not the names found on maps of China today or used in most texts now. In particular the entire region Stein designates as Chinese Turkestan is Xinjiang and Tun-huang is now Dunhuang. The "Caves of the Thousand Buddhas" is now Mogo Caves - and there are several other groups of caves with Buddhist images.


 
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Brief biography of Aurel Stein



 
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Brief biographical note about Lal Singh



 
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Index to photos and some descriptions of some persons - individuals and groups - with whom Stein interacted or met


 
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Ancient Khotan: Detailed Report of Archeological Explorations in Chinese Turkestan - This is the official report Stein prepared for his first expedition in 1900- 1901. It is full of detailed scholarly footnotes and the second volume, attached, contains the many photos of artifacts and diagrams Stein drew, which fill several volumes in the larger official records. The text is a combination of sections in which Stein records in detail his daily activities in chronological order and sections in which he writes general commentary and scholarly conclusions based on information including material learned much later during the expedition.


 
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These are the photographs Stein included in Ancient Khotan, the official report of the first expedition - 1900-01- from India into Chinese Turkestan. On this expedition Stein traveled from Kashgar to Khotin and spent his time around that city, going as far east as Niya and Endere, so the illustrations and more numerous in that area than are those in Serindia and Innermostasia. The photographs are mostly in volume I. Volume II contains some photographs also, but is mostly devoted to plates showing artifacts collect on the sites and diagramatic plans of some fortifications. The printing of the available copy is much less sharp in the illustrations in comparison with Serindia and Innermostasia which resulted in poor photography.


 
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Sand buried Ruins of Khotan: Personal Narrative of a Journey of Archeological and Geographic Exploration in Chinese Turkestan. In this account of his first expedition Stein leaves out much of the digressions into historical records and the detailed descriptions of individual artifacts recovered that form an important part of Ancient Khotan. But there is much more about his interactions with members of the expedition and local hired labor. And more also on his personal reactions to experiences in freezing winter and broiling summer.


 
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Sand Buried Ruins of Khotan - photos from the book, but not all of them

 
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Chronology of the events Stein recorded during his First Expedition


 
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This is a condensed summary of Stein's descriptions of his first expedition.

 
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Table of Contents of Ruins of Desert Cathay this is the Personal narrative of Stein's second exploration in Chinese Turkestan - 1906-1908 and describes the same expedition as he does in the official report, Serindia.


 
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Ruins of Desert Cathay: Personal Narrative of Explorations in Central Asia and Westernmost China This is the Personal narrative of Stein's second exploration in Chinese Turkestan - 1906-1908 and describes the same expedition as he does in the official report, Serindia. Thus, while the events are the same the writing style is more popular and Stein dispenses with the elaborate detailed descriptions of each and every artifact he found. It does not have the 94 excellent maps, but several others instead.


 
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List of the photography illustrations in Ruins of Desert Cathay.


 
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Serindia: Detailed Report of Explorations in Central Asia and Westernmost China - A table of contents of this massive 5 volume work on his second exploration. It took many years for Stein to complete this and meanwhile he not only published his personal memoir but also completed his third expedition. He was editing Serindia while on that expedition so was able to insert in this report some information and analysis from the third expedition.


 
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Serindia - This is a more detailed summary of the contents of the text volumes of this massive report.


 
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Index of maps published in Serindia in order by the photos made from sections of the maps


 
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Index of maps published in Serindia - that is from the second expedition. Each map is too large to include in one photo and still obtain readable detail. I have photographed some maps in 2 or 3 or even 4 sections. The latitudes and longitudes for each map are shown.
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The cover page for volume V ofSerindia


 
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Listing of photographs included in Serindia


 
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Chronology of the events Stein recorded during his Second Expedition


 
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Innermostasia: Detailed Report of Explorations in Central Asia, Kansu and Eastern Iran This is a detailed summary of the contents of each chapter of Volume I of the massive report on the Third Expedition.


 
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Innermostasia: Detailed Report of Explorations in Central Asia, Kansu and Eastern Iran This is a detailed summary of the contents of each chapter of Volume II of the massive report on the Third Expedition.


 
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Innermostasia: Detailed Report of Explorations in Central Asia, Kansu and Eastern Iran This is a table of contents and brief summary of the contents related to fortifications.


 
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Listing of the maps that accompany Innermostasia. published in Volume V


 
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Index of maps published in Innermostasia Volume V - that is maps from the third expedition but incorporating also relevant information from the previous expeditions as well - again many maps have been photographed in several sections.


 
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A comparison of the maps in Serindia with those in Innermostasia - I have drawn an outline of the second set of maps and superimposed it on a map showing the first series - The result demonstrates that each map sheet in Innermostasia covers the areas that would be in four maps in Serindia but there are many blank areas not surveyed (such as in deserts).


 
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Listing of photographs included in Innermostasia.


 
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"Explorations in the Lop Desert" article by Aurel Stein in The Geographic Review Vol ix No. 1, January 1920 -This is a personal narrative about Stein's time around Lou-lan during the Third Expedition and his discovery of the ancient Chinese route from Tun-hunag to Lou-lan across the Lop salt sea. There are 13 photos.


 
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Chronology of events Stein recorded during his Third Expedition.


 
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On Ancient Central Asian Tracks: Brief Narrative of Three Expeditions in Innermost Asia and North-western China An excellent popular treatment of the activities and results of the three expeditions in which Stein shifts back and forth between events and locations from one expedition to another in order to skip topics he thinks of less interest and avoid duplication. This is especially valuable since he did not publish a personal memoir of the third expedition in book form. But he did publish an article in Geographical Review about his time at Lou-lan.


 
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On Ancient Central Asian Tracks - list of the photos from the book. The photos are not in the same chronological sequence as the book, but are mostly much better photographically -less fuzzy - than the same photos included in one or more of the official reports and memoirs.


 
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Memoir on Maps of Chinese Turkestan and Kansu from the Surveys made during Sir Aurel Stein's Explorations A Technical book but important for the reader to understand what the whole project was about. In this one Stein leaves out most of the history and commentary on cultural scene in order to focus on the geography. He summarizes this in one section and in another section discusses the survey and cartographic methods employed. The appendices have the latitude and longitude data and elevations. Each of the maps from the third expedition is described, but not those from the second expedition.


 
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The Thousand Buddhas: Ancient Buddhist paintings from the cave - temples at Tun huang on the Western Frontier of China. The title page pending our obtaining the book itself.

 

 
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Stein conducted extensive diplomatic effort to secure permision to visit the then still semiautonomus tribal areas in northwest India (now Pakistan). He used three separate routet to reach Chinese Turkestan, one of which included a short visit to Afghanistan's Wakhir Corridor. His detailed descriptions of the terrain, population, and political situation are worth reading as a reminder of how recently this area has entered into the 'modern' world.


 
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Sir Aurel Stein's voluminous reports on his three expeditions to Chinese Turkestan and Kansu include numerous maps. Serindia and Innermostasia each have a separate volume - actually a box containing large map sheets. Desert Cathay and Ancient Khotan have pull-out maps in the back of the book. In a separate report Stein described his surveying and the cartography of the maps for Innermostasia. Here is a listing of the folders in which we have listed the maps and photographs made of them.


 
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Stein produced a special map of the Han Dynasty wall section north of Tun-hung for Serindia. Another map is of Chinese Turkestan and part of Kansu from Aurel Stein's book The Ruins of Desert Cathay on his second expedition, which he published to augment Serindia. Another map is from the area around Khotan from his book Ancient Khotanabout his first expedition. And there is an excellent map fromSand-buried ruins of Khotan. Hopefully these maps will enhance the reader's ability to place the relationships between the various places mentioned in the books.


 
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Index of photos published in one or more of Stein's books that have been included in this web site as samples.


 
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Descriptive list of the Han Wall and Towers described by Stein. This includes links to the maps that show the locations of the wall and towers.


 
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This is a summary of Volume II, Chapter XX, "History and Records of Tun Huang" line of Serindia. In this chapter Sir Aurel summarizes the results of his research on the ground of the Han Dynasty wall - Tun-huang section - during his second expedition and adds comments and his conclusions based on reference also to written Chinese records and translations of some of the documents he found at locations on the wall and towers. He found more towers and wall sections far east of Tun-huang during the third expedition but didn't change his conclusions.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Lou-lan during his second and third expeditions.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Khara-khoto during his third expeditions


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Miran during his second and third expeditions


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Niya during his first, second and third expeditions.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Kashgar - and other resources.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Khotan - and other resources.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Keriya - and other resources.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Rawak - and other resources.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Endere -and other resources.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Domoko -and other resources.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Dandan -and other resources.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Charchan -and other resources.


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Mazar Tagh - and other resources.


 
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Maps of Stein's explorations around Turfan and along the T'ien-shan - and other resources


 
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Summary of Stein's explorations at Tun-huang (Dunhuang) - and other resources


 
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Stein's grave is in Kabul, where he died during his first visit to the city.


 
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A listing of plans and illustrations Stein made of various other fortifications.


 
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Biography of Aurel Stein by Annabel Walker - my summary of interesting items


 
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Biography of Aurel Stein by Susan Whitfield - my summary of interesting items


 
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History of the Discovery and Exploration of Chinese Turkestanby Jack Dabbs
This very interesting book contains a comprehensive summary of the activities of visitors to Chinese Turkestan - that is Sin-kiang - (mostly Europeans but also some Chinese and Japanese) from ancient times to the 1960's. The author has provided detailed footnotes, an excellent bibliography and index. He includes four maps each with the routes of various travelers clearly marked. But Stein's and Hedin's routes are not included. Thus the author places Aurel Stein's three explorations into a larger context. It also explains why Stein emphasizes so frequently that he is exploring virgin territory.


 
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The Great Wall: China against the World, 1000 BC - 2000 AD by Julia Lovell
In narrating about and analysis of the Chinese construction of their several walls the author provides at least a summary of Chinese history especially related to their relations with their neighbors north and west. In the discussion of the era of extensive wall building during the early Han Dynasty she includes an excellent summary of the discoveries and conclusions made by Aurel Stein.


 
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Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron
This is a remarkable book by an amazing and well renowned travel writer. For this he traveled alone by train, aircraft, bus, and a variety of other vehicles from Xi'an to Antioch passing through all of China west of Xi'an to the Pamir border with Kirgistan, Uzbekstan. Afghanastan, Iran and Turkey. It is a wonder he made through wars and across fortified borders in one piece. He rode on decrepit buses and trucks, stayed in vermin ridden hovels, ate in dubious local 'restaurants' and mingled with all manner of questionable individuals. He describes the explorations and results of Aurel Stein's archeological projects.


 
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Link to the home page of the Silk Road project that Professor Daniel Waugh has created at the University of Washington. This web site contains very useful texts describing many of the societies that Stein discusses and also excellent maps that are of significant help in locating just where these various peoples lived and the extent of their empires. And there are copies of many original source documents relating to the Silk Road. One fascinating text is a translation of the Kharosthi Documents that Aurel Stein found at Niya and some other ruined sites. This was prepared by T. Burrow and published by the Royal Asiatic Society in 1940.


 
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Link to description of the work of the International Dunhuang Project
Their publication, "Sir Aurel Stein, Colleagues and Collections" edited by Helen Wang, (British Museum Research Publication Number 184) has 21 interesting articles that provide valuable information about specific aspects of Dr. Stein's work.


 
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Link to the section on Aurel Stein in the National Institute of Informatics - Digital Silk Road Project - Digital Archive of Toyo Bunko Rare Books
This is a huge reference resource that includes digitized copies of Stein's major publications.

 

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