Laas Geel, Somaliland

Laas Geel consists of about twenty rock shelters of varying size featuring polychromatic painted panels with over 300 figurines. Considered to be the oldest known rock art in the Horn of Africa, the paintings depict animals, including cows and dogs.

Somali Heritage in International Collections

Horn Heritage has traced some of the collections of art and artefacts taken from the Somali region during the colonial times. We are now for the first-time collating, digitising and displaying these objects which are spread all over the world. The remarkable objects are a testimony to the artistic, scientific and technological ingenuity of our grandfathers and grandmothers.

Somali Artifacts in Djibouti

Horn Heritage has traced some of the collections of art and artefacts taken from the Somali region during the colonial times. We are now for the first-time collating, digitising and displaying these objects which are spread all over the world. The remarkable objects are a testimony to the artistic, scientific and technological ingenuity of our grandfathers and grandmothers.

How out of Somaliland Became out of Africa

The story of our human origin started in Somaliland. Sir Haywood Walter Seton-Karr (1859-1938), a Scottish game-hunter made two visits to British Somaliland in the years 1896 and 1897 discovered Palaeolithic stone implements. Sir Seton-Karr believed he had discovered the biblical ‘Garden of Eden.’ 

Ethiopian Heritage Under Threat from Conflict

Aksum and Lalibela are two of the most important heritage sites of Africa. Not only for Christianity but also as the site of the first Hijra in Islam.

Sufi Saint Shrines, Somaliland

Aw-Barkhadle is believed to be the first capital of the Adal kingdom, a medieval Islamic state in the Horn of Africa. This sacred ancient pilgrimage centre holds the heritage of many ritual and religious traditions and the site of the mausoleum of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Kawnayn, attributed to converting local population to Islam over 800 years ago. 

Indigenous Knowledge

The indigenous technologies of the Somali speaking people include iron and pottery, traditional medicine and surgery, architecture and art. Some of the custodians of this knowledge are the most marginalised in the region. We honour their contribution to a rich heritage that is only now taking its deserved place in our society.

Naaso-Hablood, Somaliland

The sacred mountains of Naaso Hablood have cultural, spiritual and artistic value. It seems also ancient societies made use of these peaks: Horn Heritage found background scatter of stone artefacts that stretch over thousands of years, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years. A proper archaeological investigation will shed light on which periods the site was used by earlier inhabitants of its landscape and shelters. Now the shelters are home to hyenas,  foxes, wild pigs and turtles. The biodiversity of the site is critical for the antilopes (dik dik),  monkeys, and birdlife that exists here including white-backed vultures and marabou storks.

Somali Art

The material art of the Somali speaking peoples of the Horn of Africa is little knows however it is Horn Heritage’s mission to record, document and digitise both in the region and abroad. Important collections are being studied and for the first time brought to the light of day. Today Somali art and artistic traditions are under threat of disappearing due to loss of knowledge about the technologies, the materials needed and the environments that produced them. 

Buur Hakaba, Somalia

Sacred mountains are known in the Somali traditional myths. However, some myths are based on the literal wonders of mountains as the source of the most vital element for life, water. The fertility and reproduction of humans, crops and animals. Also mountains are ritual sites associated often with the coronation of a chief and in the past, deities that they were believed to embody. Buur Habaka is one of the most important sacred mountains in the Horn of Africa. 

Sacred Olive Groves

In the pre-Islamic indigenous beliefs, olive trees were considered to be deities. Some are thousands of years old and still living… One of the most revered objects in Somali culture is the wagar, which is made of olive wood. Horn Heritage has recorded native olive groves of Somaliland which are under threat from unregulated logging.

The Waaheen Fire

Hargeisa knows how to rise from the ashes: we will remake it again.