The First Expedition -
- May 1900 - July 1901
The The First Expedition
Ancient Khotan The official report of the First
Sand-Buried Ruins of Khotan: Personal Narrative
of a Journey - Stein's popular-style memoir of the expedition
Stein had to lobby his superiors in the Indian Government for permission and
funding to undertake this exploration outside his official duties.
The results were so spectacular that he was able to continue and conduct the
subsequent, more extensive explorations.
Stein departed Kashmir on 31 May 1900. For this first
trip he took the most direct route north via Hunza and Gilgit.
On 1 June he crossed the 11,000 foot high Tragbal Pass in deep snow.
On 8 June he moved toward the Indus River, which makes a huge bend through
On 15-19 June he reached Hunza
On 24 June he crossed the Batur glacier.
On 28-29 June he crossed the Kilik Pass into Sarikol at 15,800 feet.
On 7 July he reached Tashkurgan, capital of the Sarikol area in far western
China on the Afghanistan border
On 10 July departed Tashkurgan
He took a detour to try to climb the Muztagh-Ata at 24,321, but had to stop at
29 July - he reached
Kashgar the seat of the British Representative of the
Government of India
He remained in Kashgar all of August orgaizing his expedition and hireing men
On 4 September he went on a short ride to see Khan-ui ruin area and Mauri-tam
Stupa north of Kashgar
On 11 September he started for Khotan via a desert route through Kizil.
On 17 September he reached Yarkand.
On 28 September Stein reached Karghalik.
On 2 October he departed Karghalik, beginning the actual archeological
On 4 October he stopped at Guma oasis.
On 6 October he was enroute to Maji
On 7 October he reached Maji
On 10 October he was at Pi'alma
On 13 October he reached Khotan.
On 15 October he systematically explored Yotkan, the ancient capital now in
From 17 October to 11 November he tried to find the headwaters of the
Yurungkash branch of the Khotan river in the K'un lun mountains
far south of Khotan, but was blocked by gorges.
On 25-29 November he again explored Yotkan - the ancient capital adjacent to
On 7 December Stein started out for Dandan-Uiliq via Tawakkel, following the
Khotan River into the desert.
On 11 December he was at At-bashi
On 12 December he went into the desert to Dandan
On 18 December he reached Dandan in below zero weather.
On 3 January 1901 he moved to a local ruin called
On 6 January he dismissed most Tawakkel laborers and left Dandan to the Keriya
On 13 January he reached Keriya town in order to hire
more laborers and get supplies.
On 18 January he set out for Niya and arrived on 22
On 23 January he moved to Iman Ji'far Sadiq shrine and hired more workers.
On 28 January he began excavations at Niya ruin.
On 3 February he found more ruins
On 11 February he concluded work with clearing House Nix
On 12 February he found yet more ruins
By 13 February he completed work at Niya and returned to the shrine of Iman
On 15 February he again started east through desert to look for Endere
On 17 February he followed the Yartunguz River through desert
On 21 February he found the large stupa at Endere - he
found important artifacts at Endere.
On 26 February he started the return to Niya
On 28 February he completed a 300 mile circle at Yartunguz - Stein going one
way and Ram Singh the other way,
with a remarkable plane table survey closure error of 3/4 mile in longitude and
1 mile in latitude
On 3-4 March he moved back from Niya to Keriya - 80 miles in 2 days
On 5 March he started the 6-day move down the Keriya River toward
On 12 March he was at Tonguz-baste
On 17 March he completed excavation at Karadong
On 18 March he was searching for P'i-mo
From 18 March to 19 April the spring sand storms hit with great force.
On 25 March he was still searching in the desert for P'i-mo and found a fort at
On 28 March he turned south to Gulakhoma oasis
On 30 March he was back at Keriya
On 2 April he left for Khotan
On 5 April he was at Lop Bazar
On 6 April he was at Yurun-kash
On 8-9 April he surveyed Ak-sipil
On 10 April he left Ak-sipil to find another place named
On 11 April he started excavation at this Rawak that had an imposing (well
preserved) stupa and much more including Han Dynasty coins
On 18 April he completed work at Rawak, where he made sensational discoveries,
and returned to Khotan on 19 April.
On 28 April he departed Khotan for Yarkand and Kashgar.
On 12 May he reached Kashgar.
On 29 May he departed Kashgar over the Pamirs into Russia - 10 days to Osh and
then by rail through Samarkand - Afrasiab
across the Caspian to Baku - rail through Ukraine and Poland.
On 2 July 1901 he reached London with his many cases of artifacts in perfect