Dr. mw. S. (Sada) Mire

foto Dr. mw. S. (Sada) Mire vergrootglas

Dr. Sada Mire (1977) is a lecturer at Leiden University. She specialises in archaeological and anthropological theory and practice and cultural heritage studies, with a focus on pre-Christian and pre-Islamic cultures in the Horn of Africa. Dr. Mire has led several archaeological expeditions in Somaliland. She and her team discovered prehistoric rock at nearly hundred sites. On various occassions, Dr. Mire has expressed the hope her discoveries will promote a sense of pride in Somali cultural heritage and, in a broader sense, highlight the importance of attaining and maintaining knowledge of the past for individuals and regions alike.

Dr. Mire fled from Somalia at the age of fourteen, seeking asylum in Sweden. She later moved to the UK to finish her studies and started working on her doctorate. She has since returned to the Horn of Africa as an archaeologist and researcher and took up a position in the Somaliland Department for Tourism and Archeology before moving to Leiden University.


Personal Data

Name and surname

Sada Mire 

Year of birth


Place of birth

Mogadishu, Somalia




History of art, archeology and archeaozoology (bachelor), University of Lund, Sweden and the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom, graduated 2005

African Archeaology (master), University College London, United Kingdom, graduated 2006

Archeaology (doctorate), University College London, United Kingdom, degree obtained in 2009



  • Director of Antiquities, Somaliland Department of Tourism and Archeaology from 2007 to 2012. During this time Dr. Mire conducted field research in Somaliland and the wider region
  • Executive director, Horn Heritage Organisation
  • Lecturer, various UK universities, including University College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • University lecturer, Universiteit Leiden

Selected additional functions

  • member of the editorial board of the African Archeological Review


Selected achievements

  • Dr. Mire led a team of 50 helpers and discovered almost 100 sites with prehistoric rock art in Somaliland in northern Somalia. Over ten of these sites were identified as candidates to receive World Heritage status. It was the most comprehensive study of archeological sites in Somaliland undertaken thus far.
  • Gave an acclaimed TEDtalk in 2014 titled "Cultural heritage: a basic human need".


Selected references and statements

  • "Preserving Knowledge, not Objects: A Somali Perspective for Heritage Management and Archaeological Research" (article, 2007)
  • "The Knowledge-Centred Approach to the Somali Cultural Emergency and heritage development assistance in Somaliland" (article, 2011)
  • "Mapping the Archaeology of Somaliland: Religion, Art, Script, Time, Urbanism, Trade and Empire" (article, 2015)

Dr. Mire is keen to engage with the broader public as well as the scientific community. An experienced public speaker, Dr. Mire has worked regularly with international broadcast and print media.