Somali archaeologist makes major discoveries

Somali archaeologist recorded ancient rock art at 100 sites

Published on 21 September 2011

Author(s): Africa Review/STEPHANIE HEGARTY

Type:  News

Sada Mire fled Somalia's civil war as a child, and lived as a refugee in Sweden. But now she is back in the Horn of Africa as an archaeologist, making some incredible discoveries.

Sada Mire is only 35, but she has already revealed a dozen sites that could be candidates for Unesco world heritage status.

She has a fellowship in the department of art and archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and is head of the department of antiquities in the breakaway territory of Somaliland, in the north-west region of Somalia. She is the only archaeologist working in the region.

Somalia cave threatened 2.jpg
Treated cave paintings

It's a remarkable journey for a girl who fled Mogadishu in 1991, aged 14, as Somalia descended into the chaos of civil war.

Driving her forward is the urge to uncover and preserve a cultural heritage that has been systematically looted, both in colonial times and more recently by warlords trading national heritage for guns.

Somalia Cave paintings at Dhambalin are the only example of ancient images of sheep in the region. BBC AFRICA REVIEW.jpg
Cave paintings at Dhambalin are the only example of ancient images of sheep in the region. BBC - AFRICA REVIEW

The region has proved to be rich in archaeological wonders, which Sada Mire has been logging for the last four years with a team of 50 helpers.

She has recorded ancient rock art at 100 sites, medieval Islamic towns, and pre-Islamic Christian burial sites.

More than 1,000 such sites, she estimates, are still out there waiting to be put on the archaeological map of Somaliland.

Most stunning.

Fo rmore see Somali Heritage and Archaeology

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