Five-thousand-year-old rock art is tucked into an outcropping 40 miles northeast of Hargeisa, the capital of this breakaway region of Somalia. But its ambiguous political status has made protecting the site especially challenging.
Hidden in the Somali desert, beneath stunning, ancient rock cave paintings, the thin trail of a snake traces a winding line across the dust. A few strands of once-protective barbed wire are pushed to the side; goat tracks abound.
Somaliland’s most prized archaeological treasures – which locals fearfully called “the place of the devils” for centuries – could not be more remote.
Exposed to the elements, the colors have changed since caretaker Musa Abdi Jama first saw them at a distance in 1969. Back then, everyone in the local villages thought the place was haunted. No one visited.