The unique digital 3D model of ancient Palmyra is now available online for everyone. It was created at the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IHMC RAS). This is the world's most accurate and detailed digital model of the current state of the monument, which can help in the further study of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Earlier it was handed over to the Directorate-General for Antiquities and Museums of the Syrian Arab Republic during the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum.
"Remotely, without going to the monument, you can plan any work: restoration, research, archaeological works. This is a universal scientific tool that surpasses all methods that have been used before. The collected data helps to look at the landscape differently. A detailed elevation map allows archaeologists and historians to plan further work. All received materials will be combined into the Palmyra geographic information system - a project on which we continue to work and which is being implemented thanks to the Russian Geographical Society. The geosystem will become a tool for managing the monument not only for scientists, but also simply for the curious people," said Natalya Solovyova.
The expedition led by the Deputy Director of the IHMC RAS, Natalya Solovyova, arrived in Palmyra on the 20th of September 2016 - during a short interval between the first liberation of the historical territory of Syria from terrorists and its recapture in January 2017. The members of the expedition filmed an area of 20 sq. km, taking more than 20 thousand high-resolution photographs.
The work of this scale and such precision was carried out on the territory of ancient Palmyra for the first time in the entire history of the monument’s study. In the face of the threat of the complete destruction of Palmyra, the specialists of the IHMC RAS were among the first in the world to declare the need to save the object and preserve the data about it for the future generations.
We would like to remind you that, in 2017, a team of specialists from the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences received the "Crystal Compass" for the victory in the category "Civic Participation" for the project "Palmyra in Time and Space".
Russian scientists obtained high-precision three-dimensional models of the terrain and architectural objects, created detailed orthophotos, the spatial resolution of which is much higher than that of existing satellite images. Thanks to this, the archaeologists and cultural heritage management specialists will be able to study the plan of Palmyra in detail with the ability to zoom in images with focus distance up to 3 cm.
“We are glad that such a large and important work that the digital technologies specialists of the IHMC RAS and our partners have been doing for several years has finally been completed. Palmyra is the most important cultural heritage site, and its preservation is in the interest of all mankind. The created model was refined and updated for several years due to the fact that Palmyra was repeatedly in the hands of destroyers. The work went in a number of stages - with new trips to the war zone, clarifications, additional filming. Despite all the risks and difficulties, we brought the project to the conclusion and present the created unique 3D model of Palmyra to the Syrian Arab Republic and the whole world,” noted Natalya Solovyova.
Natalya also said that a cultural forum dedicated to Palmyra is planned for November. Its participants will be leading experts in the field of history and archeology from Russia and Syria, who will deliver thematic reports. There is also a plan to open several exhibitions dedicated to the ancient city during the forum.
You can see the 3D model of Palmyra here.