Antiquities and Archaeology
Gaza Apollo will not go to Louvre
Whereabouts of bronze discovered near coast are unknown
By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 21 March 2014
Officials at the Louvre have denied press reports claiming that a bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo, discovered off the Gaza coast last August, will be restored and exhibited at the Paris museum. A fisherman from the Gaza Strip, Joudat Ghrab, says he found the sculpture in shallow waters near the Egyptian-Gaza border, and carried it home on a donkey cart.
According to the BBC, Ghrab asked a relative, a commander in Hamas (the militant Islamist organisation), to help him hide the sculpture. Local reports also state that the statue surfaced on eBay priced at $500,000 and that Hamas representatives subsequently seized the work. The statue’s current whereabouts are unknown. The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Gaza, which is run by Hamas, declined to comment.
A Louvre spokeswoman says the museum has built up relationships with archaeologists and conservators in the Middle East over the past two centuries, and that it has always been “in contact with different institutional partners in the region”. But she stressed that the Louvre has not asked to borrow the work. “If we wish to proceed, we will file a request with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” she says.
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