The arch will go on display for three days as part of a collaboration between Oxford and Harvard Universities and the Museum of the Future, Dubai. The three organisations have formed the Institute of Digital Archaeology (IDA) which uses technologies such as 3D printing and digital imaging to reconstruct historical landmarks which have been destroyed through conflict or the elements.

_87402276_palmyra Digital reconstruction of the arch on display in Trafalgar Square Image via Institute for Digital Archaeology

The 15 metre replica on display in Trafalgar Square was created from marble using a drill controlled by a computer. The process used 3D machining, which superimposed photographs on to the marble, which were then cut using the drill.

Alexy Karenowska, director of technology at the IDA, commented: “The Trafalgar Square project is a celebration of the heritage of the Middle East and an optimistic response to the ongoing destruction of cultural sites.”

In September, the arch will go on to New York, following that it will be on display in Dubai.

IDA has worked with Unesco to provide Unesco staff, museum staff, archaeologists and others who work with historical sites in the Middle East, cameras to document sites including Palmyra, before it was seized by Isis. The site has now been retaken by the Syrian government.

A database of millions of images from these sites will be available online by the end of 2016.

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