This article presents an overview of the history of archaeological work in Somaliland and Somalia from the late nineteenth century to the present, situating that work within its ever-changing social and political contexts. It also assesses the current challenges and opportunities that archaeological practice faces in both regions. Despite numerous obstacles—including political instability, a fragmented academic community, and deficiencies in the publication and dissemination of findings in multiple research languages—the article contends that the extensive data from previous and current archaeological studies, if assembled and properly utilized, can shed light on a range of key questions in the prehistory and history of the Horn of Africa. Finally, the article notes the growing threats to the archaeological and historical heritage in the region, and suggests how institutions, academics and the Somali community can join efforts to protect and preserve the remains of one of the most impressive African heritages.

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