Replica of Palmyra's to Be Unveiled in London by Boris Johnson

Arch in Palmyra
The Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, Syria, on August 5, 2010. A replica of the Arch will be unveiled in London's Trafalgar Square next month. It will then be sent to Syria, where the original monument was destroyed in October 2015. Sandra Auger/ Reuters Pictures

A replica of Syria's 2,000-year-old Arch of Triumph located in the ancient city of Palmyra will be unveiled by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson in Trafalgar Square next month as part of World Heritage Week.

It will then be sent to Syria in September 2016, where Islamic State destroyed the original monument in October 2015. Islamic State have demolished plenty of cultural artefacts and historically significant monuments across Iraq and Syria, including Christian shrines in numerous acts of violent barbarism.

Carved from blocks of Egyptian marble using computer-controlled machinery in Italy, the 6m (20ft) tall, £200,000 model of the Arch weighs just under 12 tonnes. Experts from Oxford and Harvard universities and the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) used 3D images stored in the IDA's Million Image Database at Harvard. The finished result will arrive in London in seven different sections that fit together to make the Arch.

Director of the IDA, Roger Michel, insists that the Database allows them to accurately replicate Palmyra's Arch, which is a cultural symbol more than anything else:

"People say what would happen if ISIS come back and blow it up again and the answer is if we have rebuilt it once we can do it again, and the second time it would cost a lot less . . ." Michel tells The Times. "In the West we have a fetish about originality but other cultures are much more concerned about symbolism."