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Ancient secrets of Somalia’s nomadic civilization unearthed

By Irene Escudero

Nairobi, May 5 (efe-epa).- Under the desert sand and mountains of Somalia is a rich history of global trade and pre-Islamic nomadic civilizations which is being unearthed.

Fragments of history have been buried for years, but now the Archaeological Mission in Somaliland and the Ministry of Culture of this self-declared state in northern Somalia have been working to recover it for six years.

During the last expedition, which ended in late February before the pandemic had escalated, the team worked in the city of Farwesa, some 50 kilometres from the coast, a bustling commercial hub of wealthy merchants that connected to Berbera, the main seaport of the region.

“The entire town collapsed, so it cannot be seen from the surface,” Somali archaeologist Ahmed Jamac Dualeh tells Efe.

“We excavated it and we have found many artefacts, vessels, ceramics, camel bones,” he adds.

Founded in the 13th century, Farwesa was home to a community that controlled one of the main mercantile routes that connected Berbera with inland Ethiopia.

“What we have found has been a highly developed city, one of the largest in medieval Somaliland, with spectacular stone architecture,” says Alfredo González-Ruibal, director of the mission of the Institute of Heritage Sciences, of the Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).

Inside the houses, which probably belonged to merchants “many imported objects from around the world have been found; from Yemen, which was closest, to Persia, India, China and Japan,” González-Ruibal says.

Farwesa was a civilization of nomadic communities that preferred that way of life and did not invest any efforts into the creation of a large state.

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