Caves in Somaliland

Somaliland has many caves, some of which are discovered and some are not.[1] Such is the quality of the paintings that at least 10 sites, scattered across semi-desert terrain, are likely to be given World Heritage status.Yet Somaliland is a country whose history is totally hidden. With wars, droughts and piracy in Somaliland, hardly anyone has researched the archaeology until now. But it's absolutely full of extraordinarily well-preserved rock art."

With rock art

Laas Geel

Laas Geel(Somali: Laas Geel), also spelled Laas Gaal, are cave formations on the rural outskirts of Hargeisa, Somaliland. They contain some of the earliest known cave paintings in the Horn of Africa. Laas Geel's rock art is estimated to date to somewhere between 9,000 and 3,000 years BC.

Dhagah Nabi Galay

One of the sites associated with Laas Geel, Dhagah Nabi Galay is unique in that it features what is considered to be the first examples of writing in East Africa. There has been minimal research conducted on this site, but it offers a wonderful opportunity to study the Neolithic Horn of Africa anterior to the introduction of Islam.

Dhagah Kureh

Dhagah Kureh translates to “the stone with the head” in the Somali language. The site is located in a beautiful and naturally green landscape with fertile farming lands nearby, and the rock shelters are made of stony outcrops with rocks resting on each other above an approximately 4 km-long granite range. The greatest number of rock art panels depicting large cows in Somaliland is found in Shelter 1 of Dhagah Kureh, making this site unique amongst the rock art sites of Somaliland.


Dhambalin ("half, vertically cut mountain") is an archaeological site in the northwestern Togdheer province of Somaliland. The sandstone rock shelter, contains rock art depicting various animals, such as horned cattle and goats, as well as giraffes, an animal no longer found in Somaliland region.[2] The site also features the earliest known pictures of sheep in Somaliland. Discovered in autumn 2007, residents of Beenyo Dhaadheer reported the rock art to the Somali archaeologist Sada Mire, Director of the Department of Archaeology within the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Somaliland.[3]

Shimuhshimuh or Haadh

Cave paintings have been found at Shimuhshimuh north of Erigavo. The painting were found by Jama Dabhaan and colleagues in 2010 but have been declared now after the photos taken were recovered. Other places at the Guban area north of Shimuhshimuh have also some of the oldest painting of dinosaurs in the Horn of Africa. The paintings of dinosaurs are the first to be found in Somaliland. Shimuhshimuh is a location close to Surad which is the highest mountain in Somaliland and Somalia.[4]

See also


  1. Alberge, Dalya (17 September 2010). "UK archaeologist finds cave paintings at 100 new African sites". The Guardian via The Guardian.
  2. Alberge, Dalya (September 17, 2010). "UK archaeologist finds cave paintings at 100 new African sites Scientist unearths 5,000-year-old rock art, including drawing of a mounted hunter, in Somaliland". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  3. Mire, Sada (December 2008). "The Discovery of Dhambalin Rock Art Site, Somaliland". African Archaeological Review. 3-4. 25 (3–4): 153–168. doi:10.1007/s10437-008-9032-2.
  4. Administrator2. "Somaliland Sun - Somaliland: Dinosaur Paintings Discovered at Shimuhshimuh Caves in Erigavo". Archived from the original on 2017-04-25. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
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