Ancient rock paintings in Somalia which date back to 5000 years were found in the northern part of the country (Somaliland), depicting early Somali life. The most famous of these is the Laas Gaal complex, which contains some of the earliest known rock art on the African continent and features many elaborate pastoralist sketches of animal and human figures. In other places such as the northern Dhambalin region, a depiction of a man on a horse is postulated as being one of the earliest known examples of a mounted huntsman.
Inscriptions have been found beneath many of the rock paintings, but archaeologists have so far been unable to decipher this form of ancient writing. During the Stone age, the Doian culture and the Hargeisan culture flourished here with their respective industries and factories.
The oldest evidence of burial customs in the Horn of Africa comes from cemeteries in Somalia dating back to 4th millennium BC. The stone implements from the Jalelo site in northern Somalia are said to be the most important link in evidence of the universality in palaeolithic times between the East and the West.
In antiquity, the ancestors of the Somali people were an important link in the Horn of Africa connecting the region’s commerce with the rest of the ancient world. Somali sailors and merchants were the main suppliers of frankincense, myrrh and spices, items which were considered valuable luxuries by the Ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, Mycenaeans and Babylonians.