3D printers strike back. While ISIS keeps destroying historical landmarks in the Middle East, a team of archaeologists, architects and researchers at the Institute of Digital Archaeology plans to undo such cultural violence erecting replicas of 2.000 years old Palmira Arch. Real scale models of the at-risk monument will rise also in Trafalgar square, London, and New York.
“We hope that the installations will be symbols of optimism, of hope, and of solidarity — powerful visual monuments to the extraordinary human strength of ordinary people in the face of adversity” says to Archipanic Alexy Karenowska, director of technology at the Institute for Digital Archaeology.
The Palmira Arch’s project is part of the Million Image Database, a broader initiative by IDA, Institute of Digital Archaeology and UNESCO that aims to map and preserve some of the most threatened monuments and sites in the Middle East and North Africa.
“The aim of the proposed installations in London and New York is to draw international attention to the global crisis surrounding the looting and destruction of cultural heritage objects and architecture and the importance of celebrating the beauty and significance of these objects to the everyday lives of modern people” adds Alexy Karenowska.
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The Palmira Arch project was announced during the IDA’s World Heritage Week 2016. Small and large recreations/models of the arch will be fabricated and displayed at high visibility sites, schools, and museums around the world.
The Million Image Database is a concentrated effort led by engineering specialists at Oxford University, other academic partners and the government of the United Arab Emirates.
In the case of the ancient Palmyra Arch there wasn’t time to assemble a full collection of 3D photos before ISIS militants took over. That’s why a team of architects and historical preservationists are working off 2D images to bring the features of the monument in safer locations.
In the meantime, thousands of low-cost, high-tech cameras will be distributed by early 2016 not only in Syria but throughout the Middle East including Yemen, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
Images from these devices will be uploaded in the Million Image Database. Beside the 3D replications, the images will be used for research, heritage appreciation, educational programs as well.