The staff of the project “Turfanforschung” edits central Iranian and old Turkic texts from the Turfanian text corpus (Turfansammlung). The texts of the “Turfansammlung” originated from the Central Asian oases along the silk road and date from the 7th to the 14th century CE. In the year 1902, the former Prussian Academy of Sciences received a considerable amount of texts from an expedition to East Turkestan, that was carried out during the first years of the 20th century, for preservation and editing.
The project currently deals with the Turkic and Iranian parts of the Berlin corpus of Turfanian texts (Berliner Turfansammlung; approximately 13.000 fragments). The project aims to prepare a critical text. It also produces a compiled text, a translation, and a commentary. Both text groups represent only a small part of a larger and more complex textual corpus which preserves more than 20 languages and scripts. The Turfanian text corpus is a striking testimonial of the silk road functioning as intermediary and a meeting place for the cultures of China, India, and the Middle East. The project also incorporates results of related text collections from Central Asia (e.g. the Otani-Collection in Kyoto).
The project maintains an intensive cooperation with experts of numerous foreign collections. In 1997, the project began an extensive and terminated campaign of digitisation. Thus, the documents are also available online.