New doc reveals how Gaza fishermen found — and lost — ancient treasure

Abu Ahmed, one of those who discovered the coins on the seabed just off the coast of Blakhiya, Gaza, tells the filmmakers he sold 10 of the Alexander decadrachms to local dealers. (YouTube)
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Updated 14 February 2020

New doc reveals how Gaza fishermen found — and lost — ancient treasure

AMMAN: In the spring of 2017, a group of fishermen in Gaza discovered treasure that could change their lives: A hoard of ancient Greek coins — over 2,000 years old — which included dozens of silver decadrachm coins from the time of Alexander the Great. Only 12 such coins had been officially recorded previously, and each is worth thousands of dollars (some, depending on their condition, are worth over $100,000).

A new documentary from the BBC — “Treasure Hunters,” available on YouTube — tells the story of the hoard’s discovery and what happened next. Abu Ahmed, one of those who discovered the coins on the seabed just off the coast of Blakhiya, Gaza, tells the filmmakers he sold 10 of the Alexander decadrachms to local dealers. He received a total of $150. “What can I say? I was happy,” he says.

“(The coins) are in the hands of people who don’t know what they are, why they are here, and what they represent for our country,” says Gaza-based archaeologist Fadel Alatol, to whom the fishermen brought a bag of coins to ask if he knew what they were. “It’s very painful.”

Before long, the coins were no longer in the possession of the fishermen. Most likely, they had been smuggled out of Gaza by the local dealers and sold on around the world. Officially, the find should have been declared to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Gaza, but the fishermen say they had no choice but to sell them. “Why should we be considered thieves?” one asks. “Our work, thank God, is honest. We are poor people. We want to live and eat and spend on our children.”




A new documentary from the BBC — “Treasure Hunters,” available on YouTube — tells the story of the hoard’s discovery and what happened next. (YouTube)

Months later, a number of Alexander decadrachm coins began to show up for sale at auction houses around the world. One sold for $130,000. No proof of origin (beyond, say, “Private Canadian collector”) was given for any of them (which is not illegal, but is “very unusual for extremely rare coins”) and many experts suspect they came from the Gaza hoard. But there is no way of proving it. Someone, somewhere, is making a lot of money from the find. But it isn’t the fishermen. And it isn’t Gaza.

“This was our only chance to get rich,” says Abu Ahmed. “But God didn’t approve it. We’ve woken up now.”


Why now is the perfect time to try a skin resurfacing treatment

Updated 1 min 23 sec ago

Why now is the perfect time to try a skin resurfacing treatment

DUBAI: For many women, the global pandemic provides the chance to introduce some of the stronger ingredients and treatments to one’s skincare routine. Think retinoids, concentrated acids, chemical peels, fractional lasers and the array of skin resurfacing treatments on the market.

The reason for this is, with many practicing social-distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus, no one — except for your family — is around to see your dermis peel off in raw patches while you avoid the sun’s harsh UV rays as you stay indoors and allow your treated skin to recover. 

Those who wish to effectively press the reset button on their dermis during self-isolation can consider a laser treatment. Laser-resurfacing procedures have gained popularity over the past couple of years for their ability to non-surgically smooth fine lines and wrinkles, as well as eradicate imperfections such as post-acne scars and sun damage by emitting light to target water molecules within the collagen layer of the skin. 

“Lasers work to vaporize skin cells thereby removing layers of damaged skin,” said Rebecca Treston, a certified skin expert, who recently launched her “Skinfluencer” protocol menu at the Nakheel Mall branch of Dubai London Clinic, which includes non-invasive skin resurfacing treatments in the form of lasers and chemical peels. 

“In the past two decades, the technology has developed at an exponential rate so this latest generation offers a safe and precise ablation to treat damaged skin,” she said.

Indeed, while undeniably fierce and heavy on downtime, the latest generation of ablative lasers are safe and with minimal risks. Relatively painless — numbing cream is rarely required — some laser treatments, including the one at the Dubai London Clinic, use a cooling technology to prevent feelings of discomfort during the 25-minute procedure.

“I prefer lasers to a chemical peel as they can be more accurately controlled,” Treston said. “Lasers are most commonly used in a fractional beam, which allows the healthy skin surrounding the treatment site to speed up the healing process, leading to less skin trauma and a much quicker recovery.”

Post-treatment, skin is noticeably smoother, tighter and radiant without any swelling or bruising, although some may experience slight redness afterwards and skin may start to flake and peel off in the days after the procedure.

If done regularly — dermatologists recommend at least three sessions a year — treatments can reduce visible signs of ageing and turn back the clock on the dermis.

Skincare experts also suggest avoiding makeup for at least a week after treatment and wearing sunscreen religiously, especially now that lockdowns have begun to ease across the region. Treated skin is more sensitive to the sun, so it is important to apply a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher before leaving the house. 

Skincare experts even suggest wearing sunscreen inside the house, especially if you are near windows and sunlight — and which may prevent future wrinkles from forming in the future.