Papers of Sir Aurel Stein

Scope and Content

This small collection consists of seven certificates of membership of organisations or Honorary conferment of degrees. Thus:

  • Certificate of Honorary Membership of Die Geographische Gesellschaft in Munchen, 1909
  • Confirmation of Degree of Doctor of Science, Cambridge, 1910
  • Certificate of Honorary Membership of Royal Scottish Geographical Society, 1910
  • Certificate of Membership of Anthropologische Gesellschaft, 1911
  • Certificate for Doctor of Philosophy from University of Tubingen, 1933
  • Certificate on becoming Honorary Doctor of Law of St. Andrews University, 1939
  • Certificate of Membership of American Philosophical Society, 1939

Administrative / Biographical History

Marc Aurel Stein was born in Budapest in 1862. He first studied Sanskrit with Roth and Geldner in Tübingen and subsequently came to London in 1883 to continue his study of oriental languages. He went as Registrar to Lahore University in 1887 and became Principal of the Oriental College in 1888. He was interested in Central Asia both in its geography, archaeology and strategic position. Stein is renowned for his archaeological exploration in Eastern Central Asia (1900-01, 1906-08, 1913-16, 1930-31), India, Iran, Iraq and Jordan, and for his pioneering work on the early civilizations of the Silk Road. He is especially famous for the discovery of the hidden library of documents and Buddhist paintings at the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas (Qianfodong) at Dunhuang, Gansu province, China.
He became a British national in 1904. Stein received a number of honours throughout his career. This Collection reveals some of them. He was conferred with the Gold Medal of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1943. Stein wrote extensively about his travels and within the RAS Collections are original photographs from which the plates were taken for his many publications. Stein died in Kabul on 26 October 1943 and is buried in Kabul's British Cemetery.


The material is of similar nature and thus has been listed chronologically.

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here. The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID

Acquisition Information

The photographs belonging to Aurel Stein were donated to the Royal Asiatic Society on 13th October 1949 by Frederick Henry Andrews, artist and educator, who had accompanied Aurel Stein on many of his expeditions. It is probable that the certificates were donated at the same time.

Archivist's Note

This catalogue was produced by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in June 2017

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Related Material

The Royal Asiatic Society holds a number of Aurel Stein's publications. It also has a large collection of original prints, many of which are mounted and annotated in preparation for use as plates in publication. Details of publications and photographs can be found on our Library catalogue .