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Trafalgar Square will soon be home to a replica of an ancient Syrian arch

Written by
Kate Lloyd

In May, Islamic State militants captured the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, ransacking the area and demolishing sites they described as symbols of 'idolatry'. All the group left behind was a 2,000-year-old arch from the Temple of Bel.

Now, the arch is being recreated using 3D printing as part of a project to emphasise the importance of preserving cultural sites in war-torn countries. The copy of the monument will stand in Trafalgar Square during World Heritage Week in April. It will be joined by an identical arch in New York's Times Square.

The replica arches are the work the Institute of Digital Archaeology – a collaborative project from Harvard and Oxford Universities as well as Dubai's Museum of the Future. Alexy Karenowska from the Institute explains: 'People say, "should we be worrying about this stuff when human lives are being lost?" Of course all of this stuff takes second place to human life, but these cultural objects are very important to give a sense of place and community.'

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