Scientists are using 3D printing to undo the destruction by ISIS of historical monuments in West Asia.

Beginning April 2016, 3D-printed replicas of the 2,000-year-old Arch of Palmyra, damaged extensively during an ISIS attack in Syria, will be put on show in London and New York. Fortunately, the Arch of Palmyra was not completely destroyed, enabling the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) to create its 3D print replicas.

IDA is a joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford and the Museum of the Future in Dubai. The 3D replicas created by it will be exhibited at Trafalgar Square, London, and another well-known destination in New York (possible the Times Square), reports the Washington Post. There are also plans to show small-sized replicas of the Arch at museums in these two cities as part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Week in April.

The Institute for Digital Archaeology and UNESCO have undertaken a joint initiative – “Million Image Database” – to preserve and restore some of the most significant landmarks in the world. Upon completion, the Database will hold one million images of important

Under the initiative, the Institute for Digital Archaeology, in partnership with Oxford, UNESCO and the government of the United Arab Emirates, are handing out 5,000 3D cameras to volunteers. The volunteers are being asked to take photos of historical landmarks throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The 3D prints of the ancient Arch of Palmyra (which was part of the Temple of Bel) are, however, being developed from 2D images since there was no time to assemble all the necessary 3D photos before the ISIS attack.

“The images will be used for research, heritage appreciation, educational programs and 3D replication – including full-scale 3D replication using proprietary cement-based 3D printing technique,” says the project website.

Over the next two years, IDA plans to hold several similar exhibitions, “ensuring that the visual reminders that keep that history alive remain a part of the human experience,” reports Discovery.