- Title: Russian scientists create 3D map of Palmyra to help future restoration
- Date: 30th December 2016
- Summary: PHOTOGRAPH OF ARCH OF TRIUMPH TAKEN IN 2010 ON SCREEN PHOTOGRAPH SHOWING ARCH OF TRIUMPH IN SEPTEMBER 2016
- Embargoed: 14th January 2017 13:41
- Keywords: Russia Syria Palmyra Palmyra reconstruction restauration 3d map
- Location: ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA AND PALMYRA, SYRIA
- City: ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA AND PALMYRA, SYRIA
- Country: Various
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA0035F2QIX3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Russian scientists at St.Petersburg Institute for History of Material Culture have put together first parts of a 3D map of Syria's 2,000-year-old Roman city of Palmyra, which in the future could be used during restoration works. Now the desert city is controlled by the Islamic State.
Palmyra was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world, according to cultural agency UNESCO, which has described it as the crossroads of several civilizations. The city changed hands several times in the course of Syria conflict and many of its ancient monuments were blown up by Islamic State.
In March 2016 the control over the city was taken by Syrian army supported by Russian air force which allowed a group of Russian scientists to visit the historic site in September and perform three-day aerial mapping of the ancient part of the city.
"All together we had three flights at different altitudes: at 120 metres for detailed filming, at 200 metres for more general view and at 320 metres for the whole space of the monument. Palmyra's area size is 13 square kilometres," said Natalia Solovyova a researcher at the institute behind the project.
According to Solovyova it will take the researches at least a year to build a 3D map using georeferencing data and pictures taken by the drone. She said the map will become an important tool for archaeologists and those who will potentially take part in restoration work.
"The model would allow the renovators to plan their work when (they will) traveling back (to the site for restoration). We can build a virtual Palmyra and we may well do it. We will reassemble everything that fell apart and will show the picture of how it used to be," she said.
Islamic State militants blew up the Arch of Triumph, a jewel in the exquisite collection of ruins in the oasis city, as well as two ancient temples - the renovated Temple of Bel and the Temple of Baalshamin.
But according to Solovyova, the damage to the city's monuments is not devastating.
"The first impression is that the heritage asset in good share from the archaeologist's point of view. But when we accessed the cultural layer in detail and had a look at all the necropolis, we detected multiple interventions into a cultural layers. There are many sports of unlawful excavations."
"It is possible to assemble the Columns of Zenobia. It is possible because all the rubble is in place in fine condition. they can be re-assembled. It may also be possible to re-assemble the Temple of Baalshamin. But in case of the Temple of Bel - it would be a complete replica," she added.
The images taken by the drone According to Russian scientists, the Temple of Bel was destroyed by a powerful blast that turned the walls into sand.
Solovyova said that scientists plan to study the damage more closely when they finish the 3D map which would allow them to virtually assemble some of the monuments.
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