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Gaza seeks global help to unravel mystery of Apollo statue discovered by a handful of fishermen
Palestinian fisherman Jawdat Ghrab, who said he scooped 2,500-year old bronze statue of the Greek God Apollo from the seabed last August, drags a fishing boat on the beach of the Deir Al-Balah district, in the central Gaza Strip, on February 12, 2014. The life-size statue, which recently surfaced in Gaza, has prompted the territory's Hamas rulers to seek international archaeological help to unravel the mystery behind it. AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB.
GAZA CITY (AFP).- A life-size bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo, which recently surfaced in Gaza, has prompted the territory's Hamas rulers to seek international archaeological help to unravel the mystery behind it.

According to Gaza's antiquities authority, the rare statue, which weighs 450 kilograms(1,000 pounds) and is 1.7 metres (5.8 feet) tall, could be worth as much as 250 million euros ($340 million.)

And now the Hamas government is seeking expertise, notably from France, to uncover the mystery of this 2,500-year-old naked sculpture which was reportedly discovered by a handful of fishermen in August.

"We have started an investigation into the background of the statue and its origins," deputy prime minister Ziad al-Zaza told AFP.

"At the end of the investigation, the statue will be returned to the ministry of tourism and antiquities which will initiate contact, through the government, with interested international parties, especially in France which is particularly interested in such matters," he added.

Mohammed Khalla, deputy minister for tourism and antiquities, said the find could open up channels of diplomatic communication for Hamas, which has been isolated since it took over the Gaza Strip in 2007.

"The statue might be loaned out to a well-known French or British museum, which could lead to contacts between Gaza's government and other governments overseas," he told AFP.

Since Hamas forcibly took over the Gaza Strip, ousting forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, it has been almost completely boycotted by the international community, including by France.

At the moment, as the investigation proceeds, the statue is being held at the interior ministry, Zaza said.

"We are looking into all aspects of where it came from, that's to say whether it was discovered in the sea or brought here from somewhere else," he said, acknowledging the possibility it could have been smuggled in.

"We want to know the truth before getting in touch with the relevant (archaeological) authorities here and overseas," he said.



© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse





Today's News

February 13, 2014

Sotheby's London Contemporary Art Evening Auction totals £88m / $144.6m

"Baselitz and his generation. From the Duerckheim Collection" on view at the British Museum

'Giants' of Dutch Golden Age to be united for first time by three museums in Amsterdam

Centre Pompidou opens completely new retrospective of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson

Duchess of Cambridge, Grayson Perry, Liz Hurley at National Portrait Gallery fund raising gala

Exhibition of drawings by Jacopo Carucci "Pontormo" opens at Fundacion Mapfre in Madrid

A wealth of objects, including the world's first crown and scepters, travel to U.S. for first time

Gaza seeks global help to unravel mystery of Apollo statue discovered by a handful of fishermen

France-based Artprice says China top buyer as world art sales hit new record of $12.05 billion

Friends, Lovers and other Constellations: Eric Fischl opens exhibition at Albertina

Shaping Framing History: Eli Wilner & Company receives some extraordinary design requests

Exhibition of new paintings by renowned American artist George Condo opens at Simon Lee Gallery

Immersive installation that combines light, sound and movement opens at Barbican

Satyr from Althorp Castle, country home of the Spencer family, surfaces at Bonhams

Transition and Transition: Josip Vaništa, Oleg Kulik, Blue Noses exhibit at The Ludwig Museum

Israel Museum collection expands with major acquisitions in 2013

Salvatore Federico's exuberant minimalist two-color compositions on view at Nancy Margolis Gallery

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Sensational silver at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions' Sale of Fine Silver & Objects of Vertu

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