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Celebrating Female Scientists: Sada Mire

We're celebrating Women's History Month by highlighting female scientists! Each Wednesday of the month on the blog, we'll feature a new female scientist that is changing our world as we know it (also featured on our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter every Thursday of the month). Our first highlighted female scientist is Sada Mire; learn about her work and accomplishments below!

Sada Mire is a Swedish-Somali archaeologist, art historian, and presenter who currently serves as an assistant professor at the faculty of archaeology at Leiden University. She is a public intellectual and heritage activist who argued that cultural heritage is a basic human need in her 2014 TEDxEuston talk. Sada is claimed to be the first and only active Somali woman archaeologist in Somaliland, a de facto state in Northern Somalia.

Sada was born in Hargesia, Somaliland, in 1977 before relocating to Mogadishu with her family. In 1991, after a traumatic experience, she fled Somalia with her mother and siblings during the Somalia Civil War. Sada and her identical twin, Sohur, emigrated to Sweden and received asylum there. They later moved to the United Kingdom to study. Sada studied Scandinavian pre-history and archaeozoology at Lund University in Sweden before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in the History of Art/Archaeology of Africa and Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London in 2005. She subsequently earned a Master of Arts in African Archaeology in 2006 and her PhD in Archaeology in 2009 at University College London.

Sada has conducted field research in Somaliland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Egypt. Sada has also worked for the United Nations Development Program and participated on the editorial boards, including African Archaeological Review. Motivated to learn the history of her homeland, Somaliland, which was once a colonial country in Africa, she took up a fellowship under the department of art and archaeology at the SOAS in London. She launched an ambitious program of archeological explorations under this fellowship in 2007.

Leading a team of 50 helpers, Sada discovered prehistoric rock art in Somaliland at almost 100 sites; at least 10 of these are likely to receive World Heritage status. The Dhambalin site contains rock art in sandstone shelters, which are inferred to be about 5,000 years old, of horned cattle, sheep, and goats, as well as giraffes which no longer exist in Somaliland. The Horn Heritage partially funds her work for Somali Heritage.

Interested in learning more about Sada Mire? Visit! Come back next Wednesday for a blog where you can learn about another female scientist that is changing our world as we know it.


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