Palmira Arch Replica in Trafalgar square, London - Courtesy of IDA Institute for Digital Achaeology.

Palmira Arch replica in Trafalgar square, London – Courtesy of IDA, Institute for Digital Achaeology.

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.

Palmira Arch Replica in Trafalgar square, London - Courtesy of IDA Institute for Digital Achaeology.

Palmira Arch replica in Trafalgar square, London – Courtesy of IDA Institute for Digital Achaeology.

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.

Palmira Arch Replica in Trafalgar square, London - Courtesy of IDA Institute for Digital Achaeology.

Palmira Arch replica in Trafalgar square, London – Courtesy of IDA Institute for Digital Achaeology.

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.

Courtesy of Institute for Digital Archaeology.

Courtesy of Institute for Digital Archaeology.

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.

Palmira archaeological site befor ISIS struck - Phot by Quim Bahí, Flickr CC 2495033007.

Palmira archaeological site befor ISIS struck – Phot by Quim Bahí, Flickr CC.


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Frame from CNN news on ISIS destroying Palmira archaeological site. Watch the video-

Frame from CNN news on ISIS destroying Palmira archaeological site. Watch the video.

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.

Courtesy of Institute for Digital Archaeology.

Courtesy of Institute for Digital Archaeology.

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.

Courtesy of Institute for Digital Archaeology.

Courtesy of Institute for Digital Archaeology.

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.

Palmira archaeological site befor ISIS struck - Photo by Rafael Medina, Flickr CC 3290187602.

Palmira archaeological site befor ISIS struck – Photo by Rafael Medina, Flickr CC.

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.

Palmira Bael Temple was blown up by ISIS - Photo by Djordje Tomic, Flickr CC 64087119@N00.

Palmira Bael Temple was blown up by ISIS – Photo by Djordje Tomic, Flickr CC.

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.

Palmira Arch -Photo by Quantestorie, Flickr CC. 3184712871

Palmira Arch -Photo by Quantestorie, Flickr CC.