This is another addendum to our initial post on the so-called “Apollo of Gaza” stemming from the Arabic press coverage and photos which were brought to my attention yesterday. While there were issues with different names being involved (via Google Translate), what was most interesting was the photo of the “Apollo” laying on a mattress which did NOT have the erstwhile ever-present Smurf blanket beneath it. As Sam Hardy has pointed out much more clearly than I did, the new photo clearly indicates a change of location for the statue (When was the “Apollo” of Gaza taken into “custody”?).
What needs to be done, I think, is to try and fit this photo into our timeline from the other day. The photo dates (at the latest) from October 4th, which coincides with the period we suggested was when the Louvre and other such institutions were likely consulted. This makes sense, I think, and allows us to possibly further create the following scenario:
We know the bulk of the photos out there seem to come from a major photo session on September 19th. The initial photos released from that day were of the laying-down-on-the-smurf-blanket variety, but later photos (especially the ones from Reuters and/or the) also include photos of the statue standing up. I’d suggest that they were standing up the statue because on September 19th they were moving it to another location. The photos from that session were the ones which which shown to Khoudary and/or Bauzou, the latter of whom seems to have been enlisted to write a report of some sort for purposes of getting the Louvre or other institutions interested. It seems likely that someone mentioned that the smurf-blanket-photos were probably inappropriate if they wanted to impress Louvre-types and so some new photos were taken in early October. Coincidentally, the smurf photos were used to advertise the item on eBay, perhaps to gauge interest and/or get people talking. The text of the ad and the haste in which the item was taken down might suggest there was no real intent of selling it, but was just ‘getting the word’ out that the rumoured statue actually did exist. At about the same time, a La Repubblica reporter was approached to write a news backgrounder; perhaps significantly, it was published on the internet in both Italian and English (which is, as far as I can remember, unheard of for something of archaeological interest), in order to gain the widest possible audience. Also noteworthy is that the La Repubblica coverage is the first to include the Fisherman’s Tale, which is certainly more compelling from a creating interest point of view than what seems to have appeared in the Arabic press sources. Sadly, the initial Fisherman’s Tale didn’t quite make sense, and so a new and improved version was revealed by another unconventional avenue in Business Week in late January. That’s when the major press organizations sat up and took notice.
… let’s say that’s our working hypothesis at this point.
UPDATE (an hour or two later): An Arabic language forum post includes the ‘new’ picture with a date of September 26th, which seems to add to the credibility of our scenario above …