A brief look at the prehistoric rock art of Laas Geel, Somaliland (East Africa).

Despite already being known to the local inhabitants of the area for centuries, the art was ‘discovered’ by a team of French archaeologists carrying out an archaeological survey in northern Somalia in 2002, thus only recently gaining international recognition. 

Laas Geel is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the Horn of Africa, and contains some of the earliest known cave paintings in the region. These paintings are estimated to date to between 9,000-3,000 BCE, and are incredibly preserved considering this.

The artworks, painted in the distinctive Ethiopian-Arabian style, depict predominantly wild animals, decorated cows, and herders, the latter believed to have been the creators of the paintings. Note the herd of cows shown in the first photo, the ceremonial cow shown in the seventh, and the herder shown aside the cow in the final photograph. 

Photos taken by joepyrek.

Recommended reading: Grenier L., P. Antoniotti, G. Hamon, and D. Happe. “Laas Geel (Somaliland): 5000 year-old paintings captured in 3D.” International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Volume XL-5/W2 (2013): 283-288.

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