How out of Somaliland became out of Africa

The Story of Our Human Origin

Sir Haywood Walter Seton-Karr (1859-1938), a Scottish game-hunter made two visits to British Somaliland in the years 1896 and 1897 who discovered Palaeolithic stone implements. Sir Seton-Karr believed he had discovered the biblical ‘Garden of Eden.’ He brought thousands of them to London, and through discussions with the archaeologist John Evans concluded that these stone axes could be the ‘missing link’ between what had been discovered about ‘early man’ in Asia (Homo erectus) and Europe (Homo neaderthalensis).  The Somaliland stones brought the first attention to Africa as the birth place of humanity.

Dr Sada Mire, the founder of Horn Heritage organisation has a special encounter with one of the stone axes brought from Somaliland by Seton-Karr. At her first lesson in archaeology at Lund University in 2001, Sweden, Mire was handed a stone axe which carried the label ‘Somaliland’. Now after 20 years, she has spearheaded a mission to locate, collate and document the Somaliland Palaeolithic stones. We are so thrilled that Australian Museum has shared with us photographs of their own stones, which they had exchanged for Mauri art from the British Museum. Dr Stan Florek of the Australian Museum has written about these stones previously. Dr Mire conducted the first ever survey of the area that Seton-Karr called ‘the Palaeolithic City’, between Aw-Barkhadle, a site Dr Mire worked on for many years, and Jalelo where she found the most recent material we have exhibited here.

The “Garden of Eden” in Jaleelo, Somaliland


Stone Axes Gathered by Seton-Karr

The newly located 5000 year old rock art and Pottery


The Paleolithic city of Jaleelo

Moqorka: 5000 year old rock art site at Jaleelo, Somaliland

Moustapha Osman, a local business man and Horn Heritage’s Dr Sada Mire located Moqorka in May 2021 while exploring the rocks in this area. The style of painting is follows the traditional style known from other sites in the region such as Dhagah Kure. The unique element about this site is the discovery of Neolithic pottery which is missing in sites such as Laas Geel.

The Blind Potter

Mama Fakhir of Sheikh Mubarak, Hargeisa, Somaliland, demonstrates current day pottery making, skills that have been passed down for centuries, if not millennia. Mama Fakhir became blind many years ago, but still continues to train new generations of potters.