Restoration of cultural relics destroyed by IS may take 10 years, says archaeologist

Restoration of cultural relics destroyed by IS may take 10 years, says archaeologist

Restoration of cultural relics destroyed by IS may take 10 years, says archaeologist

Written by Staff Writer

30 Apr, 2016 | 5:48 am

The restoration of the cultural relics damaged by the Islamic State (IS) during its occupation of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra may take ten years, said an archaeologist.

The Syrian government said it had commenced the restoration work of the damaged objects in the Palmyra Museum as soon as they regained control of the city from IS. However, authorities said that the task cannot be carried out on a massive scale as the city’s security situation is still complicated.

At present, the museum’s administration is focusing on improving the preservation conditions for the objects and maintaining them.

“We have been going through our inventory for the past month to get a sense of how bad the relics were damaged. However, the museum itself was also severely damaged, as you can see the holes on the walls and ceiling. We tried to repair the museum in order to protect the relics inside it,” said Khalil Hariri, the museum’s curator.

Hariri added that the administration is facing formidable challenges to restore the severely damaged objects.

“The challenge we are facing is that we can’t find the materials for restoring the relics. We need to find them from Damascus or Homs. But we have confidence — we will not give in to any difficulty for the museum that we love,” said the curator.

Polish archaeologist Robert Zukowski, one of the first batch of foreign archaeologists that had arrived in Palmyra to help, expressed his mixed feelings on revisiting the city after 10 years.

“That’s the difference. That’s a big difference. You know that there are objects which are removing, the objects which are destroying. The city’s empty, there is no happy dancing in city, no one lives in city now. It was 50,000 people, and now it’s empty,” said Zukowski.

It will be a lengthy process to restore all the items in the museum, according to Zukowski, who explained that it may take up to two decades to restore the thousands of objects that were destroyed. But the most important ones, he added, “can be done in two years.”

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