STEIN, Sir Aurel. Innermost Asia: Its Geography as a Factor in History. in The Geographical Journal. London: The Royal Geographical Society, May & June 1925, Vols LXV, 5 & 6.
8vo (245 x 155mm), 2 issues. Original printed wrappers; 21 sepia half-tone plates with illustrations, two folding; two colour-printed maps bound to fold clear; spines ends chipped, causing some loss; otherwise very good and internally clean copies; provenance: Department of Geography, University of Liverpool (inkstamps to upper wrappers).
Sir Aurel Stein's career began after studying Sanskrit, Old Persian, Indology and philology at the universities of Vienna, Leipzig and Tübingen. His first expedition was in 1909, when he led one of several expeditions to Chinese Turkestan, where one of his achievements was the discovery of a lost civilisation on the Silk Route of Chinese central Asia. Other finds included the discovery of thousands of manuscripts, textiles and paintings in the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas. After his fourth expedition in Chinese Turkestan was disrupted by the hostility of Chinese academics, Stein diverted his attention to Persia and its surrounding regions. Here he led a series of four expeditions from 1932 to 1936, covering large regions and carrying out reconnaissance surveys as opposed to time-consuming excavations. In 1938 he moved to the Middle East, where, with the help of the Royal Air Force, he undertook a series of aerial surveys of Tran-Jordan and 'Iraq. He had a lifelong interest in Alexander the Great and so led a number of archaeological tours in search of new evidence of his travels and achievements, including a number in North-western India. He was closely connected to the Royal Geographical Society, which awarded him their Founder's Medal and where he delivered this paper at a meeting of the society on 3 November 1924. This was the first lecture of a series on Asian discovery given at the society. It is illustrated with thirty-six sepia photographs taken on Stein's travels, and two colour-printed maps, one of Chinese Turkestan and one of the Lop Desert and parts of the Tarim Basin.