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Monday, December 28, 2015

Palmyra Arch destroyed by Isis will be recreated in London's Trafalgar Square | Daily Mail Online

Ancient arch of Palmyra which was destroyed by Isis will be recreated in Trafalgar Square and Times Square using the world's largest 3D printer

  • Arch is the only remaining part of Temple of Bel, razed by Isis in August
  • Institute of Digital Archaeology will recreate arch in London and New York
  • Made in Shanghai, finished in Italy then built like Lego in Trafalgar Square
  • On show for a week but Mayor Boris Johnson could consider keeping it
  • See full news coverage on ISIS at 

The 2,000-year-old arch of an ancient site destroyed by Isis is to be recreated in Trafalgar Square and Times Square as a 'call to action' over the militants' destruction of antiquities.

The famous arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel in Syria, which was reduced to rubble by Isis militants in August, who murdered its curator and packed the site with explosives.

But the 15-metre arch, which many fear will soon be destroyed, is to be recreated in London and New York, using the world's largest 3D printer.

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Recreation: The famous arch from Palmyra is all that remains of the Temple of Bel in Syria, which was reduced to rubble by Isis militants in August, and is to be recreated in Trafalgar Square. Computer-generated image

After: Just a single arch remains after Islamic State filled the temple with explosives and razed it to the ground

Explosion: This appears to be the moment the ancient Temple of Bel was destroyed by ISIS late last month

Resurrection: The arch is to be recreated in Trafalgar square as a 'call to action' to raise awareness of the antiquities being destroyed by Isis in Iraq, Syria and Lybia

The project is funded by the institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA), who say it is a 'call to action', to draw attention to what is happening in Syria, Iraq, and now Lybia.

IDA executive director Roger Michel said: 'We are saying to them if you destroy something, we can rebuild it again. The symbolic value of these sites is enormous, we are restoring dignity to people,' reports The Times.

He added: 'We selected the arch as a specific tribute to the last remaining portion of the ancient site. sadly, I don' think it will be around for very long.'

Isis overran Palmyra in May, then in August murdered Khaled Asaad, 82, who worked as head of antiquities there for more than 50 years. They beheaded him and strung his body up.

Before: The 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel is in Palmyra, which UNESCO has designated a world heritage site


BBC Egyptologist Joanne Fletcher

The BBC's leading Egyptologist has urged people to return to the country as it sees visitor numbers plummet due to safety concerns.

Joanne Fletcher, who has just finished six months of filming for a new BBC2 documentary, said that you can never guarantee safety, and hopes that new discoveries will lure people back.

She said: 'I often get asked "is it safe to go to Egypt?" and I say "a weekend in Paris isn't exactly safe",' reports the Independent.

Her programme, Immortal egypt with Joane Fletcher, is a four-part series that sheds new lights on our knowledge of Ancient Egypt.

The crew were given rare and extensive access to the mortuary temple of Pharaoh of Amenhotep III, the grandfather of tutankhamen, which is currently being excavated. 

Fletcher claims that when the project is complete, it will rival the valley Of the Kings.

The programme also makes new discoveries about mummification, which it claims was being done 2,000 years before it had previously been thought to have started. 

The terrorists went on to destroy the nearby Temple of Baalshamin in the complex and then blew up the larger Temple of Bel days later at the end of August.

The whole of Palmyra, including the four cemeteries outside the walls of the ancient city, has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO since 1980.

UNESCO, the U.N. heritage agency, has called the destruction an 'intolerable crime against civilisation.'

Tourist trap: Before the destruction it was visited by around 1,500 tourists every year

Isis has also destroyed a number of other historic sites in neighbouring Iraq as it tries to erase pre-Islamic history because the group condemns the worship of idolatry.

However, the IDA - based at Oxford and Harvard universities and with an advisory board including mary beard -  is undertaking a project to capture 1million 3D images of the world's most endangered sites so they could be recreated if destroyed.

They have issued 5,000 low-cost cameras to volunteers to help with the project so the historic sites can be digitally recorded. 

The arch at Palmyra was damaged before it could be captured to the IDA are using images from archaeological surveys, aerial shots, and even some taken by tourists to create the proposed models.

These will be made using a huge 3D printer, a technology that they hope will one day be capable of recreating the entire temple.

The printer will make the model in parts, made of powderstone - a lightweight composite that will not damage the York paving slabs in the iconic Trafalgar Square.

Parts will be made in Shanghai, taken to Italy to be finished, then brought to Britain where they can be put together like a Lego set in the shadow of Nelson's column.

It will be constructed in a day and will be on show for a week, but Mayor Boris Johnson, is said to have asked about keeping the model in the square permanently. 


Destruction: The world heritage sites that have been damaged so far by ISIS across Syria and Iraq

Bosra, Syria

Embellished with citadels, ruins and a second-century Roman theatre, Bosra was once the capital of the Roman province of Arabia.

As an important stopover on the ancient caravan route to Mecca it was home to early Christian ruins and several mosques.

Although Syrian rebels recaptured the ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria in March 2015, video released by APSA (the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology) recently depicted damage to ancient stonework and Roman mosaics at the UNESCO World Heritage site.


As the battle rages on in Aleppo, the ongoing clashes have caused damage to the UNESCO-listed Old City.

The eighth-century Great Mosque of Aleppo and Aleppo Citadel are reportedly at risk.

Meanwhile elsewhere in Syria, Saint Simeon Church and the 11th-century Crac des Chevaliers have taken a battering.

Nimrud, Iraq 

A film of ISIS militants destroying Nimrud in northern Iraq was released in April 2015 with jihadists pledging to remove all signs of idolatry.

Lauded for its frescoes, Nimrud's ancient ruins and relics that dated back 3,000 years were bulldozed.The losses were confirmed by The Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

However, in 1845 British archaeologist Austen Henry Layard took six pairs of statues of lions and bulls from Nimrud which can now be found in the British Museum.

Hatra, Iraq

This circular fortified city is distinguished by its decorative architecture. Built by the successors to Alexander the Great, Hatra was capital of the first Arab Kingdom.

It withstood invasions by the Romans in AD 116 and 198 due to its high walls and towers.

Witnesses reported that the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra was razed by ISIS in March 2015.

The Director-General of Unesco, Irina Bokova, and Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), issued a joint statement of outrage immediately after the attacks.

They said: 'The destruction of Hatra marks a turning point in the appalling strategy of cultural cleansing underway in Iraq.

'This is a direct attack against the history of Islamic Arab cities, and it confirms the role of destruction of heritage in the propaganda of extremists groups.'

Khorsabad, Iraq

The partial damage to Khorsabad is another loss for archaeological circles to bear.

King Sargon II constructed the new capital in 721BC and in March 2015 his palace was reportedly looted and destroyed.

Mosul, Iraq

Mosul's cultural legacy has been ripped apart by ISIS with Mosul Museum, Mosul Library and Jonah's tomb all attacked.

Iraq's second largest museum had contained collections from Hatra and Ninevah. Most of these sculptures were destroyed.

The library had housed 18th Century manuscripts and Ottoman era books which were reportedly burned.

The holy site of Jonah's tomb inside the Mosque of the Prophet Yunus is significant in Christianity and has also been devastated by ISIS.

However, in recent months as the dust begins to settle on the ruptured foundations of the tourism sites and museums rocked by ISIS, 2,000-year-old relics looted from these ancient sites in Iraq and Syria are starting to turn up on eBay.



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