This week I got an opportunity to see a replica of the Arch of Triumph from the city of Palmyra. Perhaps, like most people around the world, I had never heard of the city of Palmyra or it’s ruins. But it wasn’t until ISIL started to destroy these ancient sites that the world was made aware of them. In 2015, ISIL destroyed the original arch which had stood for over 1,800 years. The destruction of ancient sites is nothing new, but with modern technology it is possible to restore some of these lost artifacts and buildings.
As part of World Heritage week a scaled down version of the Arch of Triumph was reconstructed by the Institute of Digital Archaeology. They used digital scanning technology and a robotic arm to carve out marble and replicate the arch. It was impressive to see the arch in person. It would be nice to see the arch in Trafalgar for many weeks, but unfortunately it was only on display for four days. The arch will be sent to New York’s Time Square to be displayed there in September before it goes to Dubai and finally settling somewhere near the original structure.
The Arch of Triumph and People
While I observed the arch in Trafalgar Square I could not help but wonder how many tourist knew why the arch was there or what it represented. Trafalgar Square is a great place to have events and display many things, but with so many tourist, I wonder if the message might get lost.
Is it important to care about ancient sites and artifacts? I personally believe so. If these ancient places are wiped from the map of the world then how will future people know their history, origins or corroborate that such places existed in the first place? What do you think about ancient sites and structures? Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments section below.
Update 29 April 2016 Arch of Triumph vs Arch of Bel
I wanted add some clarification about the arch on display in London. I have read several articles and have seen some videos which claim that the arch on display is the “main entrance arch” of the Temple of Bel. From what I have read, ISIL destroyed the temple in search of treasure. However, after destroying the temple they did not find anything. Originally the Institute of Digital Archaeology was going to replicate the main entrance to the Temple of Bel, but for some reason they changed their mind and decided to go with the near-by Arch of Triumph also called the Monumental Arch. If you look at images of both arches, you will see how different they are.