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Ancient Ruins in Ainabo - Central Somaliland
By Musa Hersi

Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, has always been remote but its inaccessibility is all the greater today after nearly two decades of warfare and anarchy. While chaos continues in the south, the northern part of the former "Somali Democratic Republic" has achieved remarkable peace and stability in recent years, established its own borders and declared its independence and statehood as the Somaliland Republic - a distinct entity from the failed state in the south. Musa Hersi, a Somali émigré living in the UK, recently had the opportunity to travel in the Somaliland Republic. He came across extensive and apparently very ancient stone ruins in the central area around Ain (marked with a cross on our map), including a number of small pyramidal structures. He reports here exclusively for

I wish to make clear to the reader at the outset that I am neither an archaeologist, nor a writer about archaic civilisations. I am no authority on any particular science. I believe I can best describe myself as an enthusiast of and a keen reader about past human civilisations. I would therefore hope that any drawbacks detected in the lingo and concepts used in this article will be seen in that light. The same goes if my hypothesis about the existence of previously unexplored evidence in Somaliland is seen by some as, perhaps, farfetched. Whether my claims can be proved or otherwise can wait until further investigations are made

On a private visit to Somaliland in the summer of 2005, I happened to be in a remote region called Ain for a week. During that period, I came across stone mounds and ruins, clustered along a stretch of land about 15 km long and 5 wide. As the reason for my visit was local community development, I was not able to do much work in recording what I saw there. However, I was able to reconnoitre the landscape and some of the structures involved. The following is a tentative attempt to present a picture of what I saw there, and it will be divided into three subheadings; a look at the general synopsis of the three distinct ruins; the myths and beliefs of the local people surrounding these ruins; and the challenges and difficulties threatening the future existence of these sites, which may be of immense scientific importance to the country and to the wider world.

General synopsis of the site


The site, which I am referring to, is located near Ainabo in eastern Somaliland. The area extends about 15km long and 5km wide. It comprises of three distinct sites starting from Badwein in the east, Halibixisay in the middle and Cayaarsalaqle in the west. The distance between the east and west points is about 15 km apart, with the site in the middle a bit closer to the western point. The area is of a predominantly gypsum rock type, and the water table is not much below the surface, with many rock wells hollowed out by water in the past aeons. The soil is a bit oily, of greyish white colour and very saline, to the extent that nomads come from distant places to transport sacks of this salty mixture (Dheged) to supplement mineral needs of their animals. As a result of these, the terrain and its soil possesses a baked-cake quality with the elements having very little effect in terms of wearing and erosion. Consequently, these sites remained preserved throughout the ages, although many of them are very fragile and crumbling. The structures comprise of mounds of piled up rocks, others built in a more structured way and tapering upwards (although flat at the top) like mini pyramids, caves and ruins of rock buildings.

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