Home // Research // FHSE // DHUM // Research Pro... // ADONIS - Archeological Digital Forensics: reverse engineer the future of cultural heritage

ADONIS - Archeological Digital Forensics: reverse engineer the future of cultural heritage

  • Research team: Andrea Binsfeld (PI), Stéphane Bordas (PI), Juan Francisco Aguilar Kons
  • Duration: March 2022 - February 2024
  • Funding : Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS)

The Nebi Yunus Mausoleum in Mosul, Iraq was almost entirely destroyed on 24th July 2014 by the so-called Islamic State (IS). No one should venerate a human being was the reason for razing the medieval-period Muslim place of worship which, in the 1st millenium AD, used to be a Christian church. The IS then found, under the building, the remains of an Assyrian palace which they looted systematically. Within months, 2,700 years of unique Iraqi cultural heritage were irrevocably damaged. Extensive 3D scanning as well as virtual 3D reconstruction have been done to recover as much and as accurate as possible lost architectural information on the palace and the mausoleum. We set out to demonstrate how recent advances in modelling and simulation can support the virtual visualisation of three-dimensional structures. Keeping in mind the relatively short time frame of this project, our team will first focus on devising new smart adaptive point clouds to simulate the mechanics of archaeological sites with a controlled degree of accuracy and to exercise this idea on the actual site of Mosul. In a collaboration between the University of Mosul and the University of Luxembourg, a geotechnical investigation of the ground, on which the palace and the mausoleum were built, will be conducted. This kind of research will give valuable information on the stiffness of the ground and the deformations the palace had suffered due to the mass of the old Nebi Yunus Mausoleum. In an interdisciplinary approach of Archaeology, History, Art History, Data and Computational Sciences, Geophysics and Geology, a soil-structure computer simulation can be realised to help preserve and reconstruct the cultural heritage of and under the new Nebi Yunus Mausoleum.