STEIN, Mark Aurel

STEIN, Mark Aurel. Budapest 26.11.1862 — Kabul 26.10.1943. Sir. Hungarian Explorer, Indologist, and Archaeologist living in India (from 1888). British citizen (1904). Born to aged parents (mother 45, father more), M. Nathan Stein and Anna Hirschler. The father was a merchant, uncle Ignaz Hirschler, archaeologist, physician and politician. School in Budapest and Dresden, studied in 1879-84 Sanskrit, Greek and Iranian at Vienna (F. Müller), briefly at Leipzig and from 1881 at Tübingen (Roth, Geldner, Erwin Rhode). Ph.D. 1883 Tübingen (under Roth). In 1884-87 further studies of archaeology and languages at Oxford and London (British Museum). In 1885 in Hungary in one year’s military service, was then made PD of Budapest University, but apparently never taught there. After the death of his parents (mother 1887, father 1889) accepted post in India and never returned to Hungary, although he kept contact with his relatives. In 1888-99 Principal of the Oriental College and Registrar of the Punjab University in Lahore. During his free time started fieldwork in Kashmir and North-West Frontier. In 1898 archaeological survey of Buner. From 1899 Principal of Calcutta Madrasa, but left for exploration in 1900. In 1901-02 Inspector General of Education in North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan, in 1902-04 in England, from 1904 Archaeological Surveyor of the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan. In 1910-29 in A.S.I. C.I.E. 1910, K.C.I.E. 1912, F.B.A. 1921. Hon. dr. of Oxford, Cambridge and St.Andrews.

Stein began his career as Sanskrit scholar, but after early work on Sanskrit philology and manuscripts he concentrated on archaeological exploration.He explored Central Asia in four great expeditions, every time on different route. In the first in 1900-01 he visited Niya and Khotan. The second time 1906-08 included Khotan, Miran, Dunhuang and Nanshan, the third 1913-16 Lopnor, Dzungaria, Turfan, Pamir and Samarkand. In the fourth time in 1930 he explored mainly the Taklamakan desert. Between these travels he lived in Kashmir and made local explorations. In 1926 archaeological survey of Swat, during 1927-39 many explorations in Baluchistan and Iran: 1927-28 in Waziristan, Baluchistan and Makran, 1930-33 through Makran to Kerman and from Minab to Bushire, 1933 in Fars, 1934 in Bakhtiari, Luristan and Western Iran, 1938-39 surveyed the Roman limes in Iraq. In 1943 the last expedition to Baluchistan and Afghanistan, where he at last, after many years of attempts, was permitted to arrive, but caught cold in Kabul and died in seven days of pulmonary inflammation.

Stein lived in India, only occasionally visiting Europe and England. Often he spent long periods living in a tent in the altitude of 3500 m above Srinagar, writing his books and reports of explorations. He was a bachelor, without fixed domicile. During the travels his companions were mostly Indians. He was much interested in tracing the route of Alexander, but also those of Chinese Buddhist pilgrims. He was a pioneer of archaeological air photography and studied the remains of the Harappa culture. From his Central Asian expeditions and especially from Dunhuang he brought great numbers of Buddhist manuscripts and works of art. These expeditions he accounted both in scholarly expositions and popular travel books. A noted geographer.

Publications: Diss. Untersuchungen über die zendische Nominalflexion. Manuscript, Tübingen 1883.

– “Zoroastrian Deities on Indo-Scythian Coins”, IA 17, 1888, 89-98.

Ancient Geography of Kaśmīr. 1892; Memoir on Maps illustrating the Ancient Geography of Kaśmīr. 11+223 p. JASB 68, Extra No. 2. Calcutta 1899; “Notes on the Monetary System of Ancient Kaśmīr”, NC 3:19, 1899, 125-174.

Kalhana’s Rājataraṅginī, a Chronicle of the Kings of Kashmir. Edition. Bombay 1892; Translation. 1-2. Westminster 1900.

Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Raghunatha Temple Library. 49+423 p. Bombay 1894.

Preliminary Report on a Journey of archaeological and topographical Exploration in Chinese Turkestan. 77 p. 17 pl. L. 1901.

Sand-buried ruins of Khotan. Personal Narrative of a Journey of Archaeological and Geographical Exploration in Chinese Turkestan. 40+503 p. L. 1903; Ancient Khotan. Detailed Report of Archaeological explorations in Chinese Turkestan. 1-2. 24+621 p. 153 pl. Oxford 1907.

– “Excavations at Sahri-Bahlōl”, ASIAR 1911-12, 95-119.

Ruins of Desert Cathay. Personal Narrative of Explorations in Central Asia and Westernmost China. 1-2. L. 1912; Serindia. 1-5. 38+546 p. ??? pl. L. 1921; The Thousand Buddhas. Ancient Buddhist paintings from the cave-temples of Tun-Huang on the western frontier of China. L. 1921.

Memoir on Maps of Chinese Turkistan and Kansu. 1-2. Dehra Dun 1923.

– Innermost Asia. Detailed Report of explorations in Central Asia, Kan-Su, and Eastern Iran. 1-4. 29+1159 p. ??? pl. Oxford 1928; On Ancient Central Asian Tracks. 24+342 p. L. 1933.

– “Zum Feldzug Alexanders des Grossen an die Nordwestgrenze Indiens”, Festschrift zur 700-Jahrfeier der Kreuzschule Dresden 1926, 61-71; “Alexander’s Campaign in the Indian North-West Frontier”, The Geographical Journal 70, 1927, 417-439 & 515-540 (repr. in the Supplement to the IA 58, 1929); “The site of Alexander’s passage of the Hydaspes and the battle with Porus”, The Geogr. Journal 80, 1932, 31-46; “On ancient Tracks past the Pāmirs”, The Himalayan Journal 4, 1932, 1-26; “Alexander’s passage on the Jhelum”, IA 61, 1932, 183-185; “On Alexander’s Route into Gedrosia. An archaeological tour in Las Bela”, The Geogr. Journal 102, 1943, 193-227.

On Alexander’s Track to the Indus. Personal Narrative of Explorations on the North-West Frontier of India. 16+182 p. London 1929.

An Archaeological Tour in Waziristan and Baluchistan. 12+97 p. 21 pl. M.A.S.I. 37. Calcutta 1929; An Archaeological Tour in Upper Swāt and Adjacent Hill Tracts. 3+115 p. 8 pl. M.A.S.I. 42. Calcutta 1930; An Archaeological Tour in Gedrosia. 211 p. 13 pl. M.A.S.I. 43. Calcutta 1930.

A Catalogue of Paintings recovered from Tun Huang. 52+328 p. L. 1931.

“The Indo-Iranian Borderlands: Their Prehistory in the Light of Geography and of Recent Explorations”, JRAnthrInst 63, 1934, 179-202; “An archaeological tour in ancient Persis”, Iraq 3, 1936, 111-225, pl. 8-30.

Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Iran, carried out and recorded with the Support of Harvard University and the British Museum. 20+267 p. 88 photos, 34 pl. 2 maps London 1937.

With F. H. Andrews: Old Routes in Western Iran. 28+432 p. L. 1940.

Articles in ASIAR, IA, JRAS, JASB, JRGS, TP, etc.; contributions in Hungarian listed in Puskás 1991, 63ff.

Sources: *F.H. Andrews, AL N.S. 18, 1944, 65-??; *P.V. Bapat, ABORI 24, 1943, 285f.; Bethlenfalvy 1980, 23-27; Buckland, Dictionary; *N.P. Chakravarti, JGIS 11, 1944; Hopkirk, Foreign Devils on the Silk Road. L. 1980; M. Fata, “Unbekannte Quellen zu Studium und Promotion von Marc Aurel Stein in Tübingen (1881-1884)”, AOHu 57, 2004, 225-230; *J. Harmatta, “The Expeditions of Sir Aurel Stein in Central Asia”, AAHu 45, 2005, 119-124; *K. Karttunen, Literature of Travel and Explor. 3, 2003, 1141-1143; K. Mason, D.N.B. 1941–50, 831-833; *K. Nag, JASB 3:10, 1944, 205f.; C.E.A.W. Oldham, JRAS 1944, 81-8? & * Proc. of British Academy 29, 1944; K.E. Ryavec, “The Present-day Value of Maps Illustrating the Archaeological Surveys of Sir A.S. in Xinjiang and Gansu”, JRAS 3rd S. 3, 1993, 233-243; Sengupta 1996, 199-207; J.C. Ting, British Contibution to Chinese Studies. 233-243; *Wikipedia with photo, another in Sardesai.

*István Erdélyi et al., Sir Aurel Stein Bibliography, 1885[-]1943. Bloomington, Ind. 1999; J. Mirsky, Sir Aurel Stein. Archaeological Explorer. 585 p. Chicago & L. 1977 (cf. J.F. Hansman, JRAS 1979, 80-82); S.N. Pandita, Aurel Stein in Kashmir. N.D. 2004 (with photos); Annabel Walker, Aurel Stein. Pioneer of the Silk Road. London 1995 (with photos).

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