The British Museum is facing legal action from a heritage preservation organization over its alleged refusal to allow the 3D scanning of a Parthenon piece in the museum's collection, reports The Guardian.
UK-based Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) said it is planning to serve an injunction against the museum, in order to reproduce a high relief metope from the south facade of the main temple on the Acropolis in Athens. The museum previously denied the request in an email, according to the IDA, which supports the repatriation of the Parthenon marbles to Greece, an ongoing controversy.
The IDA, which has collaborated with Unesco, aims to record and restore ancient artifacts for posterity. Previously, it created a marble replica of the Palmyra arch of triumph based on photographs following its destruction by Islamic State in Syria.
A robot sculptor would reproduce the Parthenon piece with sub-millimetre accuracy using the same Pentelic marble from which the originals were chiselled, according to the IDA.
“Copies [of the Parthenon sculptures] in the past have been low-quality plaster casts. This will be orders of magnitude better. It will help people see and feel the potential of this technology in ways mere words can’t describe,” said Roger Michel, founder of the institute.