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Should we 3D print a new Palmyra? – The Conversation UK

by • March 30, 2016 • No Comments

The destruction at the ancient city of Palmyra symbolises the suffering of the Syrian individuals at the hands of the terrorist group known as Islamic State (IS). Palmyra was a sizeablely Roman city located at a abandon oasis on a significant crossroad, and “one of the most significant cultural centres of the ancient world”. Its astonishing preservation highlighted an intermingling of cultures which in these times, as and so, came to stand for the tolerance and multiculturalism which pre-conflict Syria was renowned for -– tolerance which IS seeks to abolish.
Early in the conflict, the area was heavily fortified. Roads and embankments were dug through the necropolises and the Roman walls, and the historic citadel defences were upgraded. Yet the terrorists busy and desecrated the city of May 2015, systematically destroying monuments such as the Temple of Baalshamin, the Temple of Bel, sactually tower tombs, a sizeable Lion goddess statue and two Islamic shrines. They ransacked the museum, tortured and executing the former site director Khaled al-Asaad in search of treasure to sell. According to satellite imagery analysis the site was heavily looted throughout it all.
Now the city has been recaptured, the initially injure assessments are underway, and Syrian – and international – attention is alreadyturning to restoration. This work can be excellently
by the Syrians who risked their lives to transport the contents of the Palmyra museum to safety. The last truck pulled out as IS arrived, with bullets whizzing past.
Manar Monumental Arch, destroyed by IS in 2015.Judith McKenzie/Manar al-Athar April 13 2010
Even as they were displaced, Syrians have worked to store a detailed memory of the city alive. Syrian artists turn it intod artworks depicting the destruction. In a Jordanian camp, refugees turn it intod miniature models of the city and other cultural sites, actually measuring out the number and position of Palmyra’s columns of photographs.
The international community is in addition playing its part. Groups like UNOSAT, the UN’s satellite imagery analysts have utilized satellite imagery to monitor the injure. On the ground, Syrian-founded NGOs like APSA have linked with universities to assess the site. Groups such as NewPalmyra and Palmyra 3D Model are via the latest innovation to turn it into open-access 3D desktop models of photographs.
Others have gone actually additional. The Million Image Database Project at the Oxford Institute for Digital Archaeology distributed cameras to volunteers across the Middle East to collect 3D photos of sites. As well as creating 3D models, they can return it into full-scale artefacts, sites, and architectural showcases via their own cement-based 3D printing techniques. This can begin with a recreation of the arch of Palmyra’s Temple of Bel, due to be announced in London in April 2016.
Preserving the memory.UNHCR/Christopher Herwig
Ethics of restoration
As well as being utilized for research, education and enjoyment, this innovation may return it into (and maybe ultimately restore) what IS has destroyed. 3D printing can be done in any colour of shapeable material, and can be as obvious – or as unobtrusive – as desired. The group is in addition exploring via desktop-guided tools to rapidly carve their models into stone.
It wouldn’t be the initially time such sizeable-scale restoration has been undertaken. Historic central Warsaw, for example, was destroyed during World War II, and was almost completely reconstructed and is now a World Heritage site. Reconstruction is costly, but can be established additional rapidly and cheaply via new digital techniques, revealing the world which Syria values its cultural heritage.
But most argue which 3D printing fails to capture the auand soticity of the original structures, amounting to little additional than the Disneyfication of heritage. They in addition point out which the fighting is yet ongoing: 370,000 Syrians are dead, millions are displaced, and maybe 50%-70% of the nearby town has been destroyed. Given the pressing humanitarian requires, stabilisation alone should be the priority for now.
Temple of Baalshamin, destroyed by IS in August 2015.Judith McKenzie/Manar al-Athar. April 13 2010
Rebuilding in addition fails to redress the loss cautilized by the extensive looting of the site, focvia just on the dramatically destroyed monuments. Perhaps most significantly, its worth asking whether returning Palmyra precisely to its pre-conflict say denies a leading chapter of its history? There requires to be a wide-ranging discussion on the priorities for the immediate next and the nature of any next reconstruction.
As has happened after previous conflicts, there may require to be a memorial as a testimony to those beheaded in the arena, or tied to columns which were detonated, or to the former site director executed in attempting to preserve this site which was so significant to him. These stories, and most additional, are a part of Palmyra’s, and Syria’s, history.
One thing is clear: while Palmyra may hold excellent significance to the world, the final decision should belong to those who have lived alongside it, cared for it, managed it, fought for it, and preserveed it for generations: the Syrian individuals.


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