RESTORATION AND CONSERVATION
A restorer fixes a restored piece of the face of a man bust, which is one of the two funeral reliefs from Palmyra archeological site that will be restored at the Higher Institute of Conservation and Restoration (ISCR - Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro) in Rome, on February 16, 2017. The busts of a man and a woman, dated from the 2nd and 3rd century AD and destroyed by the Islamic State group (IS), have been entrusted to the care of the technical and restorers of the ISCR in Rome. By the end of this month, they will be returned to their place of origin. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP.
ROME (AFP).- Two rare busts rescued from the Islamic State group's destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra will soon be heading back to Syria, after a painstaking restoration in Italy. Recovered by Syrian troops, they had been badly disfigured with what appeared to be hammer blows and are perhaps the only such artefacts to leave the desert site without being stolen. Modern technology aided their saving, which is also being seen as a tribute to Khaled al-Assad, the former head of antiquities at Palmyra, murdered by IS fighters in 2015, at the age of 82. "This is an example of an issue we hold dear: that of cultural diplomacy, the fact that culture can be an instrument for dialogue between people, even when circumstances are difficult," Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini said Thursday. IS jihadists seized Palmyra in May 2015 and began to systematically destroy the city's monuments and temples, while also looting its many archeological treasures. They were driven out in March 2016 but reca ... More