Italian Experts Complete Restoration of Two Busts Destroyed by ISIS in Syria's Palmyra

Italian experts have completed restoration of the two funerary busts destroyed by ISIS terrorists in the Syrian Palmyra city, according to the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) website.

The website reported Friday that Italian experts in the Higher Institute of Conservation and Restoration in Rome used laser scans, a 3D printer and a mixture of nylon and marble dust to restore the two busts, which date back to the second and third century AD.

One of the two busts shows a noble man wearing a Roman-style toga, while the second one shows a woman with jewels around her neck  and turban on her head.

 "The experts were able to glue the woman’s face back together, but the left side of the man’s was missing. A laser scan of the right side was used to recreate the left side, which was then produced in nylon on a 3D printer and covered in powdered marble to resemble the lost limestone. The surface was painted to match older surrounding colors," DGAM clarified.

Laser scans, 3D printer

It added that technicians used lasers to scan the shattered faces of the two figures and then sophisticated 3D printers to create resin parts that replaced the bits of stone that were lost during Isis’ rampage. The male figure was particularly badly smashed, with half its face missing.

The Experts in Rome produced a “prosthetic” for the side of the face that was lost. It is removable, so that if the original stone fragment is ever found, it can be reattached. The prosthetic attaches to the stone bust with the help of six tiny magnets.

Two representatives of the DGAM will arrive in Rome on February 26th to take the busts back for safekeeping in Damascus.


Senator Francesco Rutelli, president of the Association for the meeting of civilizations, Professor Paolo Matthiae, Head of Mission of Ebla, Professor Frances Pinnock, co-director of the Mission Ebla, the Higher Institute of Conservation and Restoration in Rome contributed to the restoration of the two busts, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

Basma Qaddour