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In Libya, the ancient city of Cyrene scanned in 3D

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Published today in 03h24, updated 05h44

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FactuelPatrimoine world ranked in danger by Unesco in 2016, the city hellene is threatened by urbanization, and looting.

Cyrene, the ancient city hellene of the eastern coastline of libya, the largest in North Africa, including the temple dedicated to Zeus beyond the Parthenon of Athens, has been the subject of a photographic campaign aerial and ground levels.

It reveals the remains Greek in its magnitude on more than 3 km2, but also in their minutest details, until the pleating that sculpts the silhouette of the Victory upright at the prow of a stone ship, a twin to the one exhibited in the Louvre in Paris.

Le temple de Zeus, à Cyrène, plus vaste que le Parthénon d’Athènes. Le Dieu suprême des anciens Grecs y siégeait en position assise. Ses doigts de pied conservés au musée local donne une idée de la taille de la statue. The temple of Zeus at Cyrene, larger than the Parthenon of Athens. The supreme God of the ancient Greeks it was the seat in a sitting position. His toes kept at the local museum gives an idea of the size of the statue. ICONEM / MAFL/DOAL

Tens of thousands of pictures have been taken, by 2019, by drone and on the ground, to draw up a precise statement of the archaeological areas are very dense, with the aim of achieving a digital model in three dimensions (3D).

This inventory should enable better control of the pressure of urbanization on the protected site, inscribed since 1982 on the Unesco world Heritage site. But also to protect it from looting, on the immense necropolis, thousands of graves that feed the illicit traffic in works of art across the planet. Cyrene has been classified, in 2016, “the list of world heritage in danger” of the un organization.

Perched at 600 m altitude on a wide fertile plateau of terra-rossa, where the water flows in abundance, Cyrene has at his feet, a port, Apollonia, monumental complex located in a natural roads closed by a pass of thirty yards wide. “This port, which holds tow are preserved, will enable the commercial outlet of the colony and ensure its prosperity,” says the archaeologist Claude Sintès, who ruled from 1993 to 2003, the underwater excavations of Apollonia.

Thirteen centuries of ancient history

The photographic records have been made in six days by the architect Yves Ubelmann, founder of the start-up Iconem, specializing in the documentation of heritage in danger, in the framework of the training in the photogrammetry (scanning in 3D) of twelve archaeologists and curators libyans of the department of antiquities of libya’s Shahat, modern city adjacent to the ancient Cyrene.

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Launched by the French archaeological Mission to Libya (MAFL) is directed since 2011 by the archaeologist, Vincent Michel, this training had involved, in 2018, Leptis Magna, an ancient roman town on the west coast of libya. That of Cyrene did not take place until July 2019, due to the insecurity in the country, as pointed out in the MAFL in its annual report. These two operations, which includes photos and videos will be shown at the Louvre Museum, in Paris, in the summer, fall in the line of training courses organised in France, at the request of the Libyans.