In 1929, the French archaeologist Henri Seyrig, appointed director of the Department of Antiquities for Syria and Lebanon, countries then under French Mandate, included the excavation and restoration of the Temple of Bel in Palmyra in his programme of major works. In 1931, after meeting a young registered (DPLG) architect, Robert Amy, he decided to entrust the study of this monument, one of the most beautiful in ancient Syria, to him rather a trained archaeologist. He asked Robert Amy to join the archaeological mission in Palmyra. Amy became the principle actor in the renovation of the archaeological site and notably the survey of the Temple of Bel, initially on the ground from 1930 to 1945, and then, following his return to France, on multiple missions to Beirut and Palmyra with Henri Seyrig and the archaeologist Ernest Will.

Robert Amy’s initial task had little to do with archaeology since he needed to evacuate the inhabitants of the village of Tadmor who lived among the ruins. Their transfer to a new settlement, "conducted with vigour", in the words of Ernest Will, was carried out from 1930 to 1932.

Robert Amy then patiently began his general and detailed surveys of the site, and supervised the reconstruction of the most ruinous sections.