Built around late second to early third century AD to commemorate Roman victories in Parthia, the historic Monumental Arch of Palmyra has been a silent sentinel to human development in Syria for nearly 2,000 years. Last year, terrorists labeled Daesh overran Palmyra and blew up the arch with dynamite.
But now, with the aid of 3D technology, the Institute of Digital Archaeology in London has unveiled a two-thirds scale model of the Monumental Arch carved from Egyptian marble.
When Palmyra was attacked, the Institute reached out through its Million Images Database, which distributes 3D cameras to volunteers for the purposes of recording important artifacts, to get photographs of important monuments in the area. The Institute used the resulting 3D photographs of the arch to construct an accurate digital 3D model of the arch. This model was used by a robotic arm to painstakingly carve the arch, which stands 5.5 meters high.
"These monuments represent the shared history of humanity and stand for a rich and complex past that unites all people," said the Institute’s Director Roger Michael in a statement. "By rebuilding these structures, we rebuild not only our own national histories, but our connections to each other, as well." The arch will travel to other cities around the world, and will be permanently installed at Palmyra next year, near where the original arch stood.
In his congratulatory message on the Institute’s website, Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and managing director of the Dubai Museum of the Future Foundation, said the reconstruction was a message to the Daesh: "What you destroy, we can create again. Our desire to live together, to work together for our humanity is a positive force that can rebuild everything you break. Ultimately, we are stronger because we build."