Sir Aurel Stein in Southern Persia


    SIB AUBEL STEIN described his latest and final journey of archæological reconnaissance in southern Persia before the Royal Asiatic Society and the Royal Central Asian Society on November 11. In recording his farewell to Iran, Sir Aurel mentioned that in five years he had covered close on five thousand miles on camel, horse and foot—a considerable achievement for any explorer, in view of the difficulties of climate, country and the dangers of tribal interference, but for a veteran past his eightieth year a feat of remarkable endurance. This last expedition, taking up its work where the expedition of exploration in Fars had come to an end in 1934, started from Shiraz in November 1935 and lasted until the autumn of 1936. Its itinerary included the plateau of Ardakhan, the Bakhtiari Mountains, Susa, the Saimareh River, to which four months was devoted, the little explored Pish-i-koh portion of Luristan, Kermanshah, the high mountain valleys of Persian Kurdistan, where an attempt to reach the border was unsuccessful, and the province of Urumiyeh, where in the country between Zagros and the salt Lake Urumiyeh, prehistoric remains in the form of mounds, both great and small, far exceeded in numbers any encountered in previous stages of the journey. Here burials in abundance belonging to the second millennium B.C. were found ; but difficulties of labour, of which the supply was permanently depleted during the Great War, prevented any extensive investigation. The expedition came to an end at an interesting point, when the reconnaissance was being carried out in the valleys leading down from Kermanshah to the Mesopotamian plains. Orders from Teheran, due to the possibility of difficulties with the tribes, and the incipient illness of the leader, prevented the completion of the programme as planned. Sir Aurel, however, has no ground for dissatisfaction in what had been accomplished. A notable tale of archæological discoveries of every period from prehistoric to early Mohammedan has been added to his laurels.

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    Sir Aurel Stein in Southern Persia. Nature 140, 885 (1937).

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