Laas Gaal

Laas Geel - Laas Ga'al - Rockshelters of Las Geel - Las Geel Rock Drawings

Useful Information

Rock paintings, Laas Gaal, Somalia. Public Domain.
Location: Outside Hargeisa.
(9.780911, 44.443642)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: n/a
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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NOV-2002 archaeological survey by a French team of researchers discovers the Laas Geel cave paintings.


Laas Gaal or Laas Geel is a complex of ten granite caves or rock shelters decorated with Neolithic cave paintings. Between 20,000 and 18,000 years old, these are the earliest known cave paintings of domesticated African aurochs (Bos primigenius africanus) in the Horn of Africa. The rock art depicts wild animals and decorated cattle (cows and bulls). It is in an excellent state of preservation.

The cave is located in Somaliland, which is a de facto state in the Horn of Africa, considered internationally to be part of Somalia. Somaliland has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic. During the Stone Age, the Doian and Hargeisan cultures lived in this area here. The rock art was known to the area's inhabitants for centuries, but its scientific discovery was as recent as 2002 when an archaeological survey by a French team of researchers discovered the paintings and published the find. They returned in November 2003 to undertake a detailed study of the paintings.