The Million Image Database Project is an initiative launched by the Institute for Digital Archeology (IDA) which is a collaboration between the University of Oxford, Harvard University and Dubai’s Museum of the Future. Their goal is to protect at least some vestige of the cultural heritage in war zones from terrorists by 3D printing historically significant sites and artifacts after collecting millions of their images.
In September, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a series of images showing that the Daesh Takfiri terrorists had blown up the Temple of Bel in Syria’s historical city of Palmyra in the central Homs province.
All that remains of the 2,000-year-old ancient monument is the temple’s 15-meter-high entrance.
Using images collected in the Million Image Database Project and thousands of two-dimensional photographs, the IDA is to create a 3D model of the arch and then 3D print and assemble it in New York City’s Times Square and London’s Trafalgar Square, as an act of defiance against the Takfiri terrorists and a show of solidarity with Syria.
“It is really a political statement, a call to action, to draw attention to what is happening in Syria and Iraq and now Libya,” said executive director of the IDA ,Roger Michel, adding, “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.”
The life size replicas are to be erected as part a centerpiece for the World Heritage Week in April, The Guardian reported on Monday.
The IDA’s director of technology, Alexy Karenowska, noted that the replicas would help highlight the international significance of cultural heritage.
“The idea is to underline that cultural heritage is something that’s shared between people. It’s about people’s roots and it’s important to recognize also that this is something that as humans we do all understand on some deep level,” Karenowska said.
Bel’s demolition is but one of Daesh’s main acts of destruction of historical and archeological sites in Syria and Iraq.