The Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum have been secretly scanned by digital archaeologists with the hope of creating “perfect” replicas that could one day lead to the repatriation of the originals to Greece, a report in the Daily Mail says.
According to the British tabloid, the researchers took the detailed 3D images by stealth after the museum refused a formal request.
They used technology embedded in the latest camera phones and iPads to scan half a dozen of the sculptures so the files can be used to programme a “robot sculptor” to carve replicas.
Experts from the Oxford-based Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) hope marble blocks can be created with metal chisels, in much the same way the sculptures were created by the ancient Greek architect Phidias around 447–438 BC.
Roger Michel, ISA’s executive director, scanned the sculptures after being ignored by security staff. He and his colleague Dr Alexy Karenowska, the ISA’s technical director, used a combination of Lidar and photogrammetry to create the 3D scans, the Daily Mail reports.