Saturday, April 02, 2016

Today's Palmyra update

PALMYRA WATCH: Syria’s Palmyra scarred forever by IS jihadists. Many temples, columns and other treasures have been destroyed by group, with even partial recovery expected to take years (Sammy Ketz, AFP). The antiquities director Maamoun Abdulkarim says that the Temple of Bel can only be partially restored and that even that could take five years.

Also, the team that is reprinting the Arch of Triumph from Palmyra plans to go to the ruins themselves to aid the reconstruction: Palmyra Triumphal Arch Comes to Life in 3-D-printed Display (Aida Akl, Voice of America).
The Triumphal Arch of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra – destroyed by Islamic State (IS) militants last October – is being resurrected, thanks to digital technology and 3-D printing. The replicated structure is going on display around the world on April 19 in a fitting tribute to the city’s recent liberation from IS control.

Reconstructing the 2000-year-old Triumphal Arch to mark UNESCO’s World Heritage Day 2016, is the UK-based Institute for Digital Archeology (IDA), a joint venture between Harvard University, Oxford University, and Dubai’s Museum of the Future. The arch will be displayed in London, New York and Dubai.

IDA teams will be first on the ground in the liberated Palmyra and hope to be part of its reconstruction. “As soon as our teams are given access to the Palmyra site, our first step will be to consult with local stakeholders to learn of their priorities,” Roger Michel, IDA’s founder and Executive Director, said in an email.

The team will then build a large-scale 3-D printing grid near the site of the reconstruction.

“This will dramatically reduce cost and allow local stakeholders to participate in the building process,” he said. “After rough-printing the reconstruction, the next step is to provide surface finishes that match the appearance and texture of the original objects or architecture.”

There's a video too, of an impressive Skynet-like device rebuilding a monument.

And lest we forget that this is not just about antiquities and ruins: Palmyra mass grave: Tortured women & children among dozens of ISIS victims unearthed by Syrian army (

And finally, some more general information about the rescue of antiquities in Syria during the war: With jihadis at the door, Syrians rush to rescue history. Undercover archaeologists and curators have been smuggling artifacts out of Islamic State territory in the hope of preserving them from looting and destruction (MAEVA BAMBUCK, AP).

Background on Palmyra is here and follow the links.