A 20-foot-tall scale re-creation of Palmyra's famous Arch of Triumph was unveiled in London's Trafalgar Square earlier this week, nearly a year after ISIS militants destroyed the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bal adjacent to the arch last summer.
A team of researchers from Oxford's Institute for Digital Archeology used photographs to create a computer model of the famous Syrian doorway -- part of an Unesco World Heritage Site. Then they input this set of digital designs into a computer-controlled water-jet stone carver and that re-created the arch's blocks out of Egyptian marble.
Weighing 12 tons, the new Roman triple arch was then assembled in London in celebration of World Heritage Week. It will then be shipped to New York and Dubai for display, and hopefully, find a new permanent home in Palmyra next year.
"My intention is to show the Islamic State that anything they can blow up we can rebuild exactly as it was before, and rebuild it again and again," said Roger Michel, the American lawyer and archeologist behind Oxford's Institute for Digital Archaeology. "We will use technology to disempower ISIS."
Last year, the Institute for Digital Archeology team campaigned to send 5,000 3D cameras to the Middle East and North Africa so that volunteers could document threatened sites as part of a crowd-sourced digital preservation.
Palmyra's Arch of Triumph recreated in Trafalgar Square [The Guardian]