Just as I emerged from application hell, Bloomberg Businessweek journalist Vernon Silver (@VTSilver) found a fantastic and potentially conclusive (or meaningless) photograph of the Gaza “Apollo” (tray-bearer). It’s nothing like the photos of trinkets, false leads and forgeries in my last post – but it may reveal whether or not this statue is a forgery.
BBC Arabic’s Shahdi Alkashif published a report and a photo report (which were republished on Arabic MSN, Ayoooh, where Silver saw it, the Palestinian Discussion Forum, etc.). This time, Jouda Ghurab said that he had found the statue ‘at a depth of three or four metres [على عمق ثلاثة إلى أربعة أمتار]’. More importantly, there was a seemingly never-before-published photograph of the statue.
The caption explained that ‘[t]he statue had [already] suffered some problems as a result of the length of its stay in the water, then some parts were exposed to [further] corrosion later [يعاني التمثال بعض المشكلات نتيجة طول فترة بقائه في المياه، ثم تعرضت بعض أجزائه للصدأ لاحقا]’. But neither Ghurab nor Alkashif seemed to explain the roughly rectangular mark on the back of the statue’s right
forearm [leg], or the gaping hole in it.
[Is the limb in the photo an arm or a leg? It doesn’t seem to have enough of a bend in it to be either forearm; and it doesn’t seem to be close enough to the body to be either upper arm; but the corrosion along its sides doesn’t seem to correspond to the corrosion on either leg…]
Now, the rough rectangle may be a mark from its production or a point for an attachment. But the hole appears to have punctured the statue bluntly – it doesn’t look like a designed hole for an intended fitting.
There appears to be less corrosion inside the hole than around it, which suggests that the hole was made after the statue was recovered from land or sea. And there is a narrow piece of bronze that appears to be very smooth(ed) and pointing into the hole. Is that the point where something struck the statue and made the hole?
But there does appear to be corrosion inside, so perhaps it is an ancient injury, or the hole was made during the statue’s recovery and it has corroded while it’s been in storage.