Originally Published on the 29th April
Sadly I did not get to see the £100,000 reconstruction of Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph erected in Trafalgar Square this week, it certainly looks impressive however the other ideas behind the company that created it are less so…
After Palmyra was recaptured by Syrian forces in March, Maamoun Abdulkarim, the director of the Syrian antiquities department, said the government planned to employ the same 3D technique used by IDA (The company behind the reconstruction) to return the city its earlier splendour.
I recently had to do a essay about this whole idea of if its ethical to reconstruct historic sites to their former glory or does it simply morphs the current history of what has happened, thereby maybe making it unethical and actually gives the site a false story.
I have no problems with this arch being a “Temporary” Installation and maybe even moved back to Palmyra when the country is stable again and used in a visitor centre on the site. However what I am against here is the idea that IDA wants to actually reconstruct on top of what has been destroyed. I personally see this as a assault on this sites current history as you are simply changing its appearance and covering up this awful time that we live in. If we are ever going to learn from our mistakes we cant keep sugar coating or covering up the mistakes of our past, something which has happened far to much over the last couple of years.
ISIS is part of that history on that site, so why are we trying to hide it? Its surly an unethical way of hiding the truth.
But then again it is up to the Syrian people to decide what’s best to do. Lets just hope UNESCO Will pay more attention next time to the preservation and protection of these sites located in conflict zones.
The replica Arch is to remain exhibited in London for three days before heading to a number of other cities including New York and Dubai. Under current plans it is then to be transferred to Palmyra to be exposed next to its ruined original. GA