See what the news is saying about our projects
After Brazil Museum Fire, Debate Over How, or if, to Rebuild
“A flicker of hope emerged last week when an emergency mission from the U.N. cultural agency held out the possibility that some objects had survived the Sept. 2 blaze and outlined a plan to rebuild the museum and its collection by repairing damaged pieces, soliciting donations and even creating replicas of lost artifacts using 3D technology.”
Multimedia exhibition features never-before-seen photographs of historic sites
"Photography, since its invention, has chronicled people in their distinctive cultural milieu. With heavy cameras, fragile glass plates, and wet plate collodion chemistry, pioneering photographer’s like Bonfils successfully created a systematic visual record of the great archeological sites in early states of preservation."
"If these stones could talk: the Institute for Digital Archaeology deploys the latest technology to recreate monuments ravaged by war and destruction. Here the team members explain their vision."
Plaster Monuments: Architecture and the Power of Reproduction, by Mari Lending
"Models and casts helped transmit knowledge of building, design and art, says James Stevens Curl"
Dubai's 3D-printed Palmyra arch replica wins award
"Public Engagement with Research Award is sponsored by Oxford University vice-chancellor"
L'arco di Palmira in 3d arriva ad Arona
"Dopo aver toccato Londra, New York, Dubai e Firenze, il tour "Passing through, moving forward" arriva nella cittadina in provincia di Novara. Qui dal 29 aprile al 30 luglio la riproduzione in 3D del monumento sarà esposta nella piazza San Graziano."
Discovery - Palmyra
"In 2015, the armed Islamic state group destroyed the Arch of Triumph of the city of Palmyra, Syria. This world heritage jewel was rebuilt by a robot sculptor."
L’arco distrutto dall’Isis in Siria rivivrà nella piazza di Arona
"E l'unica tappa italiana della riproduzione realizzata tra Oxford e Carrara. Dal 25 Marzo sara vicino al museo dedicato al custode di Palmira."
A long-lost King Henry VIII Tapestry may have been found in a NYC rug gallery
"It’s like the jackpot for antique hunters. Back in the 16th century, King Henry III had 10 tapestries worth tens of millions of dollars. (He clearly didn’t skimp on home decor.) But they all mysteriously disappeared…until now. Maybe."
Has Nimrud survived brutal IS occupation?
"The Institute of Digital Archaeology says all may not be lost. The Institute's founder, Roger Michael, explains why the site is so special and why there may be reason for hope."
Erasing Isis: how 3D technology now lets us copy and rebuild entire cities
"Imagine Palmyra rebuilt as if Isis had never arrived, or Kathmandu restored to its pre-quake glory. As the V&A's special pavilion at the Venice Biennale shows, we now have the technology to create perfect copies of cities - but should we."
‘Disneyland’ and the restoration of Palmyra
"Right now, we are in a golden bubble of international solidarity around support for reversing the terrorists' efforts to rewrite history in Palmyra."
After Palmyra, the message to ISIS: What you destroy, we will rebuild
"With the recapture of Palmyra all these ambitions must confront reality. The talk stops and something must happen."
Palmyra Arch Replica is Unveiled in Trafalgar Square in London
“Syria’s future depends on the conservation and protection of Syria’s past,” Mr. Johnson said."
Hope for Palmyra's Future
"Palmyra was built with stone and mortar. It will be rebuilt with computers and drones."
Palmyra Triumphal Arch Comes to Life in 3-D-printed Display
“As soon as our teams are given access to the Palmyra site, our first step will be to consult with local stakeholders to learn of their priorities”
Syria's Shattered Relics are Rebuilt
"Archaeologists have completed the first 3D reconstructions of some of Syria’s greatest relics after an unprecedented international effort led by Oxford and Harvard universities to preserve the country’s threatened heritage."
The struggle to save the Middle East's cultural heritage
"Researchers are more optimistic, however, about their ability to reduce damage caused by the more commonplace looting and illegal or poorly planned construction"
Nature, 8 January 2016
Replicas of a Temple Nearly Destroyed by ISIS Are Coming to New York and London
"Now one Palmyran monument that appears to have escaped damage is being replicated in New York City and London as a “gesture of defiance” against the militant group’s mission to destroy historical artifacts"
Smithsonian Magazine, 30 December 2015
Digital Innovation of the Year Award
"While international organizations struggle to protect the region's surviving heritage, the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) and its partners have opened up another front - digital preservation and, in some cases, reconstruction."
Apollo, 23 November 2015
Cape Cod Welcomes Daughter of Wireless Pioneer
Roger Michel, Executive Director and founder, and Dr. Alexy Karenowska of the Institute for Digital Archaeology will present the innovative techniques and cultural impacts of using digital technology to preserve – and even reconstruct – historic and endangered structures.
Indiana Jones with a 3-D camera? Hi-tech fight to save antiquities from ISIS
"People in Syria have exactly the same cultural history as we do in New York and Boston." says Roger Michel, executive director of The Institute for Digital Archaeology, a join venture between Harvard and Oxford Universities, which has come up with the project, "and if that gets wiped out by the sands of the desert, that's going to be a significant thing."
CNN, 31 August 2015
The Digital Race Against IS
"All we can hope to do is create a permanent record"
Islamic State: how to save Syria's Antiquities
"Archaeologist Roger Michel is sprinting.
He is in a race against the Islamic State (IS), to preserve as many relics as he can which lie in the militants’ onward march—even if this is only their shapes and memory, using digital 3D cameras."
Prospect Magazine, 11 September 2015
Indiana Joneses run hi-tech race against Islamic State
"Mr Michel's team from the Institute of Digital Archaeology - a joint venture between Harvard University and the Classics Conclave - is hoping to flood the area with 3D cameras and enlist local partners to photograph as many items of historical interest as they can."
BBC Business, 30 June 2015
Philae Lander, Like Philae Obelisk Is a Window to the Past
"It is powerful to recognize that so many technologies being used in space to lead scientists to the origins of the solar system have equally valuable uses on Earth, helping archaeologists uncover lost secrets of the past."
Space.com, 21 November 2014
How archaeology is helping the Philae Rosetta mission to a comet 261 million miles away
"Mission to faraway comet reveals secrets of universe with techniques used on artefacts from 19th century Egypt"
Museums of the World, 11 November 2014
The Classics Cabal
"At her birthday lunch this Saturday, Mary Beard finished her speech triumphantly, ‘There’s never been a better moment for Classics. Don’t believe what you might read in the press.’ Although a lot of the guests were press, including Tatler’s deputy editor and the Sun’s royal correspondent, you’d be hard pressed, looking around the room, to doubt her optimism"
Apollo Magazine, 22 September 2014
After Brazil Museum Fire, Debate Over How, or if, to Rebuild
"It's not really the atoms and molecules of those old objects that make them important," Karenowska said. "It's people's relationships with them. It's what they've come to symbolize. It's the sort of immortality of the sets of cultural references that they represent."
Oxford team virtually reconstructs goddess al-Lat statue smashed by Isis
"She was defaced and decapitated and left in pieces on the floor by the jihadists, but last month she rose again — thanks to technology developed by British researchers that will help to reconstruct, virtually, hundreds of artefacts smashed by fanatics in Syria and Iraq"
Can VR and 3D mapping save China’s cultural history from tourists, earthquakes and climate change?
"Technology is being used to digitally preserve Dunhuang’s Mogao Caves as mass tourism takes its toll, while drone footage and photos are helping groups such as CyArk create 3D models of heritage sites across the globe"
Arco di Palmira ad Arona, ci sarà anche il figlio dell’archeologo giustiziato dall’Isis
"Waleed al-Asaad sabato presenterà la ricostruzione 3D del monumento distrutto dai terroristi in Siria. La riproduzione sarà aperta al pubblico fino al 30 luglio prossimo"
Future Design Center Introduces University Courses Based on Dubai’s Forward-Thinking Model
"H.E. Al Gergawi added: “These partnerships will afford us greater opportunities to advance in our quest to build the future today. With its international partnerships, innovations, and forward-thinking initiatives, the Dubai Future Foundation has carved a place for itself on the international stage."
World Government Summit 2017
Dignitaries gather for the unveiling of the Triumphal Arch of Palmyra.
Cambridge applicant secures new home for Palmyra's restored Arch of Triumph two years after ISIS destroyed the monument
"Noting that the museum was in the process of renaming itself in honour of Khaled al Asaad, the curator of the Palmyra UNESCO site murdered by ISIL militants, Olivia contacted the IDA in hope of acquiring some printed material to create an exhibit about his life."
Mary Beard stumbles upon 'priceless set of Henry VIII tapestries' in New York City rug shop
"A priceless 16th century tapestry commissioned by Henry VIII is thought to have been found in a rug shop in New York by Mary Beard, the academic and television presenter."
Turning Points: 2016, as Seen by 3 Artists
"ISIS was hoping to destroy the arch forever, to erase it from the surface of the earth and from our memory. Instead, they made it the best-known piece of ancient architecture in the world."
The Institute for Digital Archaeology
& Present, Past and the Inbetween
"In the overarching ethos of the IDA, the notions of authenticity and millimetric accuracy – so precious for classical archaeology - have been prevailed by reversible interventions, whose possible imperfections do not interfere with the message they aim to carry on."
Replica of lost ancient ruin to grace New York
"Move over Temple of Dendur: You'll soon have competition for status of most selfie-ready, ancient ruin in New York."
Martin Roth: Technology can help us save the treasures some seek to destroy
"You don't need to fly to Florence or Bologna to see the great works: quality copies mean they can be seen here."
6 things archaeologists have learned about the Seaport District shipwreck
"Five archaeologists, including Boston's city archaeologist Joe Bagley, had to gather as much information as possible about the wreck at 121 Seaport Boulevard by Friday, to allow the construction project by Skanska to continue."
Fake it till you remake it: the lost masterpieces that are returning — digitally
"An exhibition at the Venice Biennale explores the power struggle between museums and the public over the duplication of artefacts."
Why should we stand by and watch our heritage crumble?
"Monuments, as embodiments of history, religion, art and science, are significant and complex repositories of cultural narratives."
Ghost of Palmyra's Arch Rises Again in Trafalgar Square
Palmyra's ancient Triumphal Arch resurrected in London's Trafalgar Square
"Dr. Maamoun Abdulkarim, was in London to watch the arch being installed. He told CNN that "Palmyra is not for the Syrian people, it's for all the people in the world."
Why the Arch of Triumph of Palmyra is being Recreated in London
"We watch mesmerised as the robotic arm beavers away, the drill bit on the end painstakingly incising the precise lineaments of a 1,800-year-old monument that was blown up last October."
'Disneyland' and the Restoration of Palmyra
"I am mindful of how, in the Bamiyan valley in Afghanistan, initial delay translated into decades of dispute and inaction."
Weekend Edition Saturday
"Upon reclaiming Palmyra, the controversial side of digital reconstruction."
Replica of Syrian arch of Palmyra that survived Isis attack to be erected in Trafalgar Square and New York
"Replica of Syrian arch of Palmyra that survived Isis attack to be erected in Trafalgar Square and New York"
The Independent, 29 December 2015
The World this Weekend: Libya's New Monuments Men.
BBC Radio 4, 20 December 2015
Hear the whole story here
As Islamic State Destroys Antiquities, a Rush to get 3-D Images of What's Left
"Experts in antiquities, archaeology and technology at the Institute for Digital Archaeology, a joint venture of Oxford and Harvard universities, feel they have to do something. So they have launched an ambitious endeavor to preserve cultural and archaeological heritage sites, objects and artifacts — at least digitally."
The LA Times, 2 September 2015
High-tech plan to save ancient sites from Isis
"A team of digital-age “monuments men” are to launch an unprecedented fightback against the destruction of ancient sites in the Middle East by Islamic State."
The Times, 28 August 2015
Dr. Alexy Karenowska on BBC South Today
BBC South Today, 25 September 2015
Tech Wednesday (audio clip)
"Archaeologists are using technology to document sites and artifacts before ISIS destroys them"
Marketplace Tech, 1 July 2015
Comet Mission Inspires Classics Research
"Classicists and archaeologists are benefiting from technology remarkably similar to that used on the module that landed on Comet 67P"
Times Higher Education, 16 November 2014
Egyptian Obelisk Revealed Anew (audio clip)
"Fresh information is being obtained on the Philae obelisk, the stone monument that played such a key role in helping to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs"
BBC Science, 23 October 2014
Mary Beard’s Birthday Party (photo gallery)
"A classics scholar knows how to put on a good party"
Tatler, 29 September 2014
Women in Classics in Cambridge
"It's certainly become normal to be a female classicist, and that's a big step"
Cambridge Classics Department, April 2014
Heartsick for Strangers
"Through my study of the classics more than anything else, I teach my heart to love its neighbor."
The Harvard Crimson, 23 March 2014
Rare photographs of Palmyra before ISIS destroyed it
"Thanks to the latest innovations in 3-D modeling and VR, the Institute for Digital Archaeology, in association with the UK Permanent Mission to the United Nations, launched a multi-media exhibition that offers visitors the chance to explore some of the world’s most important cultural sites via a combination of old and new images."
The young Somalis recreating Mogadishu's prewar splendour
"A project that uses crowdsourced photos of destroyed buildings to form 3D digital models is helping refugees rediscover their roots"
The President and three current Trinity students attended the World Government Summit in Dubai
"The President, Dame Hilary Boulding, along with one graduate and one undergraduate student, attended the summit at the invitation of Roger Michel (1984), who generously made this possible"
3D Printed Palmyra Arch Honored for Engaging the Public with Research
"Now, a 3D printed replica of one of these buildings has received a prestigious award."
Rebuilding is about restoring people's connection with history - and each other
"Dr Alexy said the process of reconstructing a civilisation or community which has suffered as a result of cultural cleansing or the large-scale devastation of its physical heritage through natural forces, is not just about a practical challenge of rebuilding physical things."
Arch of Palmyra installed for G7 Off
With the G7 Culture Summit just around the corner, a copy of the Monumental Arch of Palmyra has been installed in piazza della Signoria from March 27 to April 27, 2017.
“Future Design Center” Introduces University Course Based on Dubai’s Forward-Thinking Model
"The Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) launched the Future Design Center (FDC) at the fifth World Government Summit, that took place in Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah on February 12-14, 2017."
Shop ‘rug’ hailed as lost Caesar tapestry
"Yet no one knows what happened to the Caesar tapestries, last glimpsed in the background of a watercolour painted at the beginning of the 29th century."
‘If They Knock It Down, We Will Rebuild It’: Palmyra Redux
"New technology has made it possible to reconstruct lost antiquities, whether in three dimensions or in virtual reality. But technology alone cannot be a solution to the problem of forgetting."
The Victoria & Albert Museum grapples with art, architecture, and authenticity at the Venice Biennale
"World of Fragile Parts focuses on the phenomena of copies and raises questions about authenticity and the act of emulating artifacts."
3D Imaging Is Helping Us Save History for the Future
"A collaboration between engineering specialists at Oxford University, the Dubai Future Foundation, UNESCO, and a host of other organizations has set out to capture millions of 3D images of threatened objects to preserve for future generations."
The Technology That Will Resurrect ISIS-Destroyed Antiquities
"Besides tracking what's been lost, digital technology opens up new possibilities for a post-war future that's face with the challenge of restoring iconic structures"
Palmyra Arch lives again (again)
"The latest version of the destroyed arch raises interesting questions about protecting and recreating antiquities."
Replica of Palmyra Arch Unveiled in London
"It is a message of raising awareness in the world," adds Abdulkarim. "We have common heritage. Our heritage is universal—it is not just for Syrian people."
Replica heads for Palmyra after Trafalgar Square
"Experts from Oxford and Harvard universities and the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) are building the copy using 3D images produced from photographs of the monument."
Palmyra's Triumphal Arch recreated in Trafalgar Square
"'No one should consider for one second giving terrorists the power to delete such objects from our collective cultural record.' said Michel."
If All Else Fails, 3D Models and Robots Might Rebuild Palmyra
"When finished next month, the 12-ton replica is to be temporarily installed at Trafalgar Square in London, with plans to bring it to New York later in the year."
The Wounded Phoenix of Palmyra
"Once DGAM has UNESCO's approval, Dr. Addulkarim estimates that Syria will need five years to restore the structures damaged or destroyed by ISIS."
3D Images of Syria Archaeological Treasures go Online
"3D reconstructions of some of Syria's most spectacular archaeological sites go online Tuesday after a big push to digitalise the war-torn country's threatened heritage."
How 3D printers can help undo the destruction of ISIS
“Once the open-access database is online, it will indeed be possible for people to print their own 3D models of a range of structures and artifacts.”
Washington Post, 7 January 2016
New York and London Replicate the Palmyra Monument That Survived Islamic State
"Amid the Islamic State's continued destruction of cultural landmarks in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, archeologists and scholars are replicating one of the city's surviving monuments in London and New York, in a gesture of defiance."
Vice News, 29 December 2015
Palmyra arch that survived Isis to be replicated in London and New York
"The construction of the replicas will be the centrepiece of events for world heritage week, planned for April with a theme of replication and reconstruction. It has also been characterised as a gesture of defiance against religious extremists’ attempts to erase evidence of the Middle East’s pre-Islamic history."
The Guardian, 29 December 2015
The New Monument Men
"The work began in the lab and eventually moved into the field . . . They didn't expect to be battling ISIS."
Newsweek Europe, 11 November 2015
Racing Against Militant Threat to Document Syria's Heritage
BEIRUT — Scientists are slipping 3-D cameras into Syria to local activists and residents to scan antiquities. A U.S.-funded project aims to provide local conservators with resources to help safeguard relics. Inside Syria, volunteers scramble to document damage to monuments and confirm what remains.
The New York Times, 24 September 2015
Million Image Database on BBC News World
BBC News World, 28 August 2015
Protecting World Heritage from the New Vandals
"If we can get 5,000-to-10,000 [3D cameras] in the field in the next three or six months, then, if we can't protect these things at the ground, we can at least preserve a highly detailed record of what's there"
al-Araby, 5 July 2015
Rosetta Mission: Philae comet probe could unlock secrets of the Universe
"What may be missed in the excitement is a fascinating backstory to the name of the craft – hence the visit by some of Europe’s eminent space scientists to the Kingston Lacy estate in Dorset and a pilgrimage to the Philae obelisk, which has sat for almost 200 years in the grounds"
The Guardian, 23 October 2014
Now you see it, now you don’t: a disappearing text from Roman Chester
"Closer inspection reveals faint traces of letters. This square frame once held the Latin inscription that gave details of the man who set up the altar, the god he dedicated it to, when and why."
Celebrating Women in Classics
"When the munificence of the Oxford Classics Conclave offered an opportunity to these women to get together for a meal in their honour, we too were surprised to discover that the total (last spring) was 62"
Classics at Oxford, April 2014