Aurel Stein was born into a Jewish family in Pest (1862 - 1943) and he studied Sanskrit and comparative linguistics at universities of Vienna, Leipzig, and Tübingen, and then continued his studies in London and Oxford. He went to India with British sponsorship, and did archaeological and geographical projects on Kashmir in addition to his university studies.

Stein made several major expeditions to Central Asia and to the territories of Ancient Persia. He travelled through the Taklamakan Desert, where found the Mogao Caves. Later, following Alexander the Great’s conquests, he found Fort Aornos. He used air-recon techniques for the first time. During his second expedition, while surveying in the Kunlun Mountains, Stein suffered frostbite and lost several toes.

After having expeditions covering more than 50,000 kilometres during his life, most of his collections of priceless cultural treasures are in the British Museum. The orientalist became a British citizen in 1904, and in recognition of his achievements he was knighted in 1912. Aurel Stein stayed in touch with Hungary and his friends for the whole time; his library was a gift from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, in which he was an outer member.