Rebuilding Palmyra virtually: recreation of its former glory in digital space

Ahmet Denker

Abstract

This paper addresses the role of the digital tools and methods in the preservation of cultural heritage. As the destruction of Palmyra made international headlines, digital tools emerged as a key tool to fight back against the total deletion of the heritage site from memories. Palmyra in Syria had been, with its Corinthian colonnades, theatre and splendidly built temples to ancient gods, source of inspiration and imagination for Western architecture. In this paper, the aim is reviving the lost reality of Palmyra by digitally reconstructing its “ghost images” from rubbles. The paper offers a glimpse of the grandeur and beauty of the ruins of Palmyra, none of which any longer remains in its entirety. 3D models of the most significant structures of Palmyra, including Temple of Bel and Temple of Baalshamin which have been levelled as a result of conflict based vandalism, as well as the Grand Colonnaded Street and the theatre are presented as “ghost images” through reconstructed 3D models. The focus has been in maintaining the accuracy and validity of the visualised data of the relics and environment of Palmyra, as they were once extant. Following the trauma caused by the destruction of Palmyra, these reconstructions revive in our memory the splendour of the city in the Greco-Roman Period.


Keywords

virtual archaeology; UNESCO world heritage site (WHS); 3D reconstruction; digital cultural heritage

Full Text:

PDF

References

Al-Mounes, M. (2016). Assessing the damage at Palmyra. Retrieved from https://gatesofnineveh.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/assessing-the-damage-at-palmyra/

Ball, W. (2016). Rome in the East: the transformation of an empire, 2nd Ed. London & New York: Routledge.

Barański, M. (1995). The Great Colonnade of Palmyra reconsidered. ARAM Periodical, 7(1), 37–46. http://doi.org/10.2143/ARAM.7.1.2002216

Butcher, K. (2003). Roman Syria: And the Near East, Paul Getty Trust Publications.

Campbell, G. (2007). "Palmyra", The grove encyclopedia of classical art and architecture. Oxford University Press. http://doi.org/10.1093/acref/9780195300826.001.0001

Cassas, L. F. (1900). Voyage pittoresque de la Syrie, de la Phoenicie, de la Palaestine et de la Basse Aegypte. Paris: Impr. de la République. Available at http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/cassas1800bd3/0001

Collart, P. (1970). Reconstruction du Thalamos du Temple de Baalshamîn a Palmyre. Revue Archéologique, Nouvelle Série, 2, 323–327

Denker, A. (2016). Virtual Palmyra: 3D reconstruction of lost reality of “the bride of the desert”. In J. L. Lerma & M. Cabrelles (Eds.), Proceedings of Arqueológica 2.0, 8 th International Congress: Advanced 3D Documentation, modelling and reconstruction of cultural heritage objects, monuments and sites (pp. 318–320). Valencia: Editorial Politècnica de València.

Evans, R. (1995). The projective cast: architecture and its three geometries. MIT Press.

Forte, M., & Siliotti, A. (1997). Virtual archaeology: re-creating ancient worlds. London: Harry N Abrams B.V.

O’Brien, J. (2015). Palmyra: ruins that inspired the architecture of power. In BBC News, Washington, 27 July 2015. Available at http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33659376

Gawlikowski, M. (1995). Bel of Palmyra. In M. Bomer-A. Lichtenberger-R. Raja (Eds.), Religious identities in the Levant from Alexander to Muhammed (pp. 247–255). Brepols Publishers.

Logothetis, S., & Stylianidis, E. (2016). BIM open source software (OSS) for the documentation of cultural heritage. Virtual Archaeology Review, 7(15), 28–35. http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/var.2016.5864

Manferdini, A. M., Gasperoni, S., Guidi, F., & Marchesi, M. (2016). Unveiling Damnatio Memoriae. The use of 3D digital technologies for the virtual reconstruction of archaeological finds and artefacts. Virtual Archaeology Review, 7(15), 9–17. http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/var.2016.5871

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 5.88.1.

Reuters (2016). Palmyra's dynamited Temple of Bel can be restored, de-miners use robots. Available at http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2016/03/31/palmyras-dynamited-temple-of-bel-can-be-restored-de-miners-userobots/

Schlumberger, D. (1971). Les quatre tribus de Palmyre. Syria, 48: 121–133.

Schmidt-Colinet, A. (1995). Palmyra: Kulturbegegnug im Grenzbereich. Verlag Philip von Zabern.

Seyrig, H. (1950). Palmyra and the East. The Journal of Roman Studies, 40(1&2), 1–7. http://doi.org/10.2307/298497

Seyrig, H., Amy, R., & Will, E. (1975). Le Temple de Bel à Palmyre, Vol. I, II. Album, Texte et Planches, Institut Français d'Archéologie de Beyrouth, Bibliothèque Archéologique et Historique. T. 83. Paris: Librairie orientaliste Paul.

Veyne, P., (2015). Palmyra Requiem für Eine Stadt, Verlag C.H. Beck oHG, München.

Watkin, D. (2011). A History of Western Architecture. Laurence King Publishing 5th edition.

Wiegand, T. (1932). Palmyra Ergebnisse der Expeditionen von 1902 und 1917. Text-und Tafelbd. Available at http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/wiegand1932ga

Wood, R., (1753). The ruins of Palmyra, otherwise Tedmor, in the desert. Available at http://digi.ub.uniheidelberg.de/diglit/wood1753

Segal, A. (2013).Temples and Sanctuaries in the Roman East, 95-99. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Abstract Views

2043
Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


 

Cited-By (articles included in Crossref)

This journal is a Crossref Cited-by Linking member. This list shows the references that citing the article automatically, if there are. For more information about the system please visit Crossref site

1. Immersive Virtual Reality As A Resource For Unaccessible Heritage Sites
Giovanni De Gasperis, Alessio Cordisco, Francesco Cucchiara
IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering  vol: 364  first page: 012035  year: 2018  
doi: 10.1088/1757-899X/364/1/012035



Creative Commons License

This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Universitat Politècnica de València

Official journal of Spanish Society of Virtual Archaeology

e-ISSN: 1989-9947