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Unearthing Gaza's history

Baraa Al-Sousi, a 19-year-old from Gaza, has been independently working on collecting artefacts that span seven different civilisational eras in Palestine. Throughout his life, Baraa has re-located from one area in Palestine to another and has taken an interest in collecting artefacts from around the Gaza Strip since the age of 12.

Baraa has now developed his hobby of collecting artefacts, historical postage stamps and old pieces of pottery that many of his fellow Gazans have found by chance. Upon hearing of a new discovery, Baraa attempts to purchase these artefacts and adds them to his personal collection.

In an effort to confirm and prove that Palestinian identity is very much something that is deep-rooted in this country, Baraa continues to expand his collection of Palestinian stamps dating from 1927 to 1948, old tax documents and transaction certificates dating back to the government of Palestine in 1943 and 1944, as well as a range of coins dating back to 1920s through to the 1940s. He has also collected many documents dating back to the Anglo-Palestine Bank as well as a silver souvenir from the Bank of Palestine.

Al-Sousi's collection includes a wide range of historical pieces today including 4,000 pieces from the modern era, which date back 70 years as well as 600 pieces that date back to ancient times and are between 1,500-3,000 years old.

His coin collection dates back to the Roman, Byzantine, Greek and Ptolemaic eras in Palestine and there are approximately 600 coins found in Gaza's archaeological areas in the north of the Strip, Nuseirat and Rafah. Al-Sousi has also managed to collect various instruments that were used in the Roman era including tailoring instruments, hunting tools and even bronze and silver spoons.

He has glass from the Greek era which were used to house medicines in addition to pieces of Byzantine pottery. There are also pieces of lead that were used to mark Roman graves.

Al-Sousi's collection also includes around 3,000 postage stamps from many countries including Bahrain, China, Egypt, India, Oman, Qatar, Spain, the UK and the US. He also has a collection of bank notes and currencies dated between 1910 and 1990.

The teen hopes to open his own museum to showcase his findings because as he points out, there is only one place in Gaza that houses such historical and archaeological findings and this location is known as the Pasha Palace, one of the remnants of the city's time under Mamluk rule.

Images by MEMO photographer Mohammed Asad.

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