Thursday, 11 Jul 2019 09:08 GMT

Relic destroyed by ISIS recreated with 3D print

The 3000-year old Lion of Mosul statue, destroyed by ISIS in 2015, has been recreated using crowdsourced photographs and 3D printing technology.

Google Arts & Culture is bringing the statue to the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in London as part of the museum’s new season – Culture Under Attack – in partnership with Historic England.

In February of 2015, ISIS released a propaganda video showing its fighters destroying the contents of Mosul Museum in northern Iraq. Upon seeing the video, two PhD students launched a project to digitally preserve the memory of the destroyed cultural artefacts.

Using crowdsourced images and 3D modelling technology, Project Mosul [now Rekrei] was launched with its first reconstructed 3D model. As the project’s profile grew, so did the number of photo submissions helping to recreate the Lion.

Culture has become victim of both indiscriminate and deliberate damage, especially as the line between the home front and the battlefield continues to blur

Carl Warner, co-curator of What Remains and head of Cold War and late 20th century at Imperial War Museums, comments: “Culture has become victim of both indiscriminate and deliberate damage, especially as the line between the home front and the battlefield continues to blur.

“War has always damaged heritage, but modern warfare is particularly destructive: homes, neighbourhoods, towns and whole cities are under threat from modern shells and bombs.

“We hope that our Culture Under Attack season and collaboration with Google Arts & Culture invites visitors to question how we respond as individuals, communities and nations to the void often left behind.”

Culture Under Attack and the What Remains exhibition highlight the potential of technology

Chance Coughenour, preservation lead at Google Arts & Culture, adds: “Imperial War Museums and Historic England are two of our earliest partners, and it’s been an amazing experience working alongside them on this highly topical project.

“It’s been heart-breaking to see the destruction of so many unique artefacts and archaeological sites in recent years, however, Culture Under Attack and the What Remains exhibition highlight the potential of technology - both in terms of digitally preserving culture and telling these amazing stories in engaging new ways.”

The model is on loan to IWM as part of its What Remains exhibition – one of three exhibitions forming the Culture Under Attack season – where members of the public can view the model for free. 

Culture Under Attack runs until January 5th, 2020 and includes free exhibitions, live music, performances and interventions at IWM London, relating to how war affects not just people’s lives but their cultures, too.

If you have a news story, email summer@linkpublishing.co.uk or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to join the conversation.