The monumental Arch of Palmyra in Syria was a UNESCO World Heritage Site from the 3rd century AD until it was destroyed by ISIS in October of 2015. The triumphant Roman archway was thought to have been built as part of a military victory. In April this year, the Institute for Digital Archeology installed a replica, to scale, in London’s Trafalgar Square. On September 19th, the Institute will bring the Arch of Palmyra replica to New York City, in a yet to be determined location in Manhattan.
In the announcement, the Institute lauds New York City not only for its landmark architecture, but also for being a city that “has known terrible loss — first and foremost the loss of life, but also the loss of familiar landmarks that helped inform the city’s identity.” The 20 foot replica weighs 12 tons and was created using a 3D models created from many separate photographs taken of the arch. The arch is made of Egyptian marble and was created using robots. You can see the process in the video below:
There is a clear tie between Palmyra and New York City in this instance: the motif of rebuilding. Under the initiative the Million Image Database, the Institute of Digital Archaeology is working with UNESCO to 3D model other monuments in Palmrya, in case of further destruction, and the founder and executive director Roger L. Michel Jr. told the New York Times in March:
“Every time we resurrect from the rubble one of these monuments, it undercuts the message of fear and ignorance that these people are trying to spread,” he said. “If they knock it down, we will rebuild it. If they knock it down again, we will rebuild it again.”
The Million Image Database has handed out 5000 3D cameras to volunteers who are documenting the archeological treasures of the Middle East and North Africa.
Back to New York City, one clue to the location of the Palmrya Arch when it comes in September is also in the announcement: “The arch will stand in Manhattan, surrounded by buildings adorned with classical features suggesting the common cultural roots of East and West.”
Next, read about 11 Outdoor Art Installations not to miss in NYC this month.