subdomainarchive Rock Art Sites of Somaliland Intro

Rock Art Sites of Somaliland

Virtual Tour

Experience an immersive, self-guided tour of the site through linked panoramic images, maps, and narration


View all photos, 3D point clouds, panoramas, videos, and other content through a searchable thumbnail gallery

Google Earth

Interact with 3D models of the site and geo-located media in the Google Earth interface (Google Earth plugin required)

Site Information

Browse all textual information for the site, supplemented with multimedia images

Interactive Map

Navigate through different areas of the site via basemaps and associated geo-referenced data

A Brief Introduction

The complex cave and rock shelters of Laas Geel, Dhagah Kureh, and Dhagah Nabi Galay lie just 30-45 minutes outside of Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, a self-declared republic and autonomous region of Somalia. Exhibiting outstanding Neolithic rock art, the sites’ cave paintings are considered to be some of the best preserved rock paintings in all of Africa, and are essential to the Horn of Africa’s historical and heritage legacy. These rock art sites are endangered from a number of factors, both natural and human caused.

The sites of Laas Geel and Dhagah Kureh depict paintings that are of the same style of that of the rock art sites Dhambalin, Haadh, and Jilib Rihin, discoved and studied by Sada Mire of the Horn Heritage Organization and the University of East Anglia. The site of Karin Hagane, studied by Steven Brandt, also conforms to this tradition and style. These sites inform us about the earliest pastoralists in the Horn of Africa and the food producing societies 5000 years ago. Furthermore, the first and only site in Somali territory that depicts paintings of sheep is the Dhambalin rock art site. It also shows painting of humans in hunting and herding scenes with dogs, antelopes, giraffes, and turtles. The rock art sites of Somaliland show that between the third and second millennia BC, the herding of humpless cows and sheep and goats, as well as the hunting of antelopes, giraffes, and other wild animals, was the basis for economic subsistence, suggesting a much greener environment than what the region offers today.

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