On his radio show on Friday, Glenn Beck flipped out over reports that a reproduction of an arch from a 2,000-year-old Temple of Baal in Syria would be erected in Times Square to mark World Heritage Week, saying that such an act was nothing more than “slapping God in the face”:
It turns out that Beck may have been freaking out for no reason as all.
Initial reports from back in December stated that the Institute for Digital Archaeology, as part of a project to use 3D cameras to capture images of threatened objects from around the world, planned to put replicas of an arch from the Temple of Baal that were recreated using such technology on display in London and New York.
Since then, plans appear to have changed, as the IDA is not putting anything on display in New York and the reproduction that is going up in London is of a different arch from the site in Syria:
The centerpiece of our Trafalgar Square installation will be a scale reproduction of the 2,000 year old Triumphal Arch from the Palmyra site in Syria which was destroyed last year. Produced using state-of-the-art 3D technology, the arch will be installed in Trafalgar Square on Monday April, 18th and open to the public on Tuesday April 19th.
As the Telegraph reported last week, this Arch of Triumph has been under construction for months and will not be appearing in New York any time soon:
The monument in question is the Arch of Triumph of Palmyra, destroyed by Isil forces as they spread across Syria in the summer of 2015.
For the past two months, in a mountain workshop right next to where Michelangelo quarried a block of finest-quality white marble for his David, a new arch has been rising, and the week after next, in a culminating flight of fancy, it will touch down in Trafalgar Square.
When the IDA revealed last December that it was intending to use its data and expertise to build not one but two replica Palmyra arches – to be unveiled simultaneously in Trafalgar Square in London and Times Square in New York – it generated headlines across the world.
Since then there has been some backtracking on the original idea. There will be no simultaneous unveiling in New York – they may transport the London arch there later, or build another one – and the Palmyra arch that is being reconstructed is no longer the entrance to the Temple of Bel (which survived an attempt to blow it up in August 2015) but the Arch of Triumph (partially destroyed in October) formerly located at one end of the Great Colonnade.