On the Turin Shroud: Weighing the Medieval Radiocarbon Date in the Balances 1.2.5

Abstract In this note it is proposed that all of the points of contention that divide those that advocate the inauthenticity of the TS the grounds of the 1988 radiocarbon date (1) and those that advocate its authenticity can be divided into 4 exhaustive categories: Age, Form, Origin, and Method. Its purpose is, not to detail every point of contention, but to describe a schema by reference to which all the points of contention can be expressed in a simple manner, and in a manner which allows the logical commitments of the contenders to be unambiguously displayed and compared.

The TS is AuthenticThe TS is a Medieval Forgery
AGE OF THE CLOTH
There are depictions and descriptions of the TS pertaining to earlier times than the minimal 1260 radiocarbon date.
AGE OF THE CLOTH: (1260-1390)
Any apparent depictions and descriptions of the TS pertaining to earlier times than 1260 are
illusory.
FORM OF THE CLOTH
The cloth from which the TS is made is not appropriate to Medieval Europe.
FORM OF THE CLOTH
The cloth from which the TS is made is not appropriate to Ancient Israel.
FORM OF THE BLOOD -IMAGE
The blood stains on the TS are the real human blood of a possible torture victim.
The scourge wounds, and the wrist wound, correspond to the way in which ancient
Roman executioners tortured and killed their victims.
FORM OF THE BLOOD-IMAGE
The red stains on the TS are not real human blood. Or if they are then someone bled and died to provide them.
FORM OF THE BODY- IMAGE
The body-image on the TS ia a highly detailed photographic negative, and is not a painting or a bas-relief or a work of art of any sort.
FORM OF THE BODY- IMAGE
The forger used painting
and/or bas-relief or an early form of photography to create the image.
ORIGIN Of THE CLOTH
The TS contains significant traces
of objects whose origin is in the Near East.
ORIGIN OF THE CLOTH
The TS does not contain significant traces of objects whose origin is in the Near East.
RADIOCARBON DATING METHOD
Radiocarbon dating is not an infallibly reliable method for determining the age of a cloth.
In this case the date was skewed, possibly by contamination.
RADIOCARBON DATING METHOD
Radiocarbon dating is a reliable method for determining the age of a cloth. The date wasn't skewed by contamination.

REFERENCES

(1) Damon, P, et al (1989), Radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin

(2) An illustration from the Hungarian Pray Codex, dating to 1192- 1195, shows a figure whose appearance and posture are the same as the man on TS and an object bearing a pattern which resembles the herringbone weave of TS and which involves L-shaped marks corresponding to burn marks on the TS.

(3) “The body is naked, with hands crossed on the pubis. According to some sindonologists, this would copy the posture of the Shroud figure. On the other hand, if the artist had not wanted, by decency, to depict the genitals of the body, he would have to add a sort of loincloth, clothing not indicated for such an operation; otherwise, he had only to draw his hands in that position. Notice how the canvas is made under the body: it is soft, with very light folds and drapes.
In the lower scene, then, you can see the shroud very well (or a shroud) piled under the hand of the angel and bears no image. Below the figure are represented two flat, rectangular surfaces, of which it is not possible to establish exactly what they want to represent: they have rigid contours and do not seem to be fabrics (probably it is the sepulcher with the tombstone, offset, which covered it ); these two surfaces, for the sindonologist, would be the two halves of the shroud.
Decorative elements can remember everything except a herringbone or herringbone fabric. Finally there are ornamental circles both on one and on the other surface, interpreted as the signs of burns. All the similar circles are seen, as ornamental motifs, also on the wing of the angel, on his belt and on the woman’s dress in the center of the drawing.
To recapitulate, in this representation there is a cloth, but it has no image, it is not barbed and it does not have burns; and then there is another element that is not a cloth, it is not barbed and that in any case has no image. Regarding the nature of the flat rectangular surfaces, which we have supposed to be the tomb and the detached stone, we remember that this miniature, as performed without much technical skill, resumed a scene represented many times even in other works of art in an almost coded way and didactic.” Rinaldi, G, The Pray Codex (sindone.weebly.com)

(4) “There was another of the churches which they called My Lady St. Mary of Blachernae, where was kept the sydoine [shroud cloth] in which Our Lord had been wrapped, which stood up straight every Friday so that the figure of Our Lord could be plainly seen there. And no one, either Greek or French, ever knew what became of this sydoine after the city was taken.” Crusader Robert de Clari in The Conquest of Constantinople (translated from the old French of Robert of Clari by Edgar Holmes McNeal, 1936).

(5) “Robert seems to have confused the sudarium (the sweat cloth or napkin, the True Image of St. Veronica) with the sindon (the grave cloth in which the body of Jesus was wrapped for entombment).” The Conquest of Constantinople (translated from the old French of Robert of Clari by Edgar Holmes McNeal, 1936).

(6) The Vignon Markings, named for a French scholar Paul Vignon (who wrote the 1902 Le linceul du Christ), identified several common characteristics of portraits and icons of Jesus produced since the 6th century, including what appear to be anomalies of the cloth:

(1) Deep line in forehead

(2) U shape between the eyebrows

(3) V on bridge of nose

(4) Second V

(5) Raised left eyebrow

()6 Accentuated left cheek

(7) Accentuated right cheek

(8) Enlarged right nostril

(9) Accent below the nose

(10) Gap in the beard below the lower lip

(11) Dark line below lip

(12) Forked beard

(13) Line across throat

(14) Large owl-like eyes

(15) Strands of hair

(8) “I am very interested in the comparison that can be made between the altar cloth used to patch the shroud, the shroud itself, and the backing clot – the altar cloth and the backing cloth are plain woven, and are much better products than the shroud. They seem to contain less weaving faults whilst the shroud is a very poor product by comparison. It is full of warp and weft weaving defects, many mistakes in drawing-in the impression I am left with is that the cloth is much cruder and probably earlier fabric than the backing and patches. This I think lifts the shroud out of the Middle Ages more than anything I have seen about the textile” Antonacci, M, 2000, New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence

(9) “Results from studies on the remains of a first-century shroud discovered on the edge of the Old City of Jerusalem prove that the famous Shroud of Turin could not have originated from Jerusalem of Jesus’ time, said a prominent archaeologist.

The first-century shroud was discovered in a tomb in the Hinnom Valley in 2000, but the results of tests run on the shroud and other artifacts found with it were only completed in December 2009.

“This is the first shroud from Jesus’ time found in Jerusalem and the first shroud found in a type of burial cave similar to that which Jesus would have been buried in and (because of this) it is the first shroud which can be compared to the Turin shroud,” said British-born archaeologist Shimon Gibson, basing his conclusion on the full study results, which are scheduled to be published in a scholarly volume within the next year.

There are two clear differences between the current shroud fragments and the Shroud of Turin, Gibson, head of the department of archaeology at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem and recently appointed to the Center for Heritage Conservation in Texas A&M University’s School of Architecture, told Catholic News Service.

While the Shroud of Turin is formed from one full piece of cloth, studies on the fragments of the shroud discovered in Jerusalem show that two burial cloths were used for the burial — one made of linen, used to wrap the head, and another made of wool, which wrapped the body — in keeping with Jewish tradition of the time, Gibson said. It is likely that Jesus would have been wrapped in a similar manner with two separate pieces of cloth, he said, as described in the Gospel of St. John.

In addition, Gibson said, unlike the complex twill weave of the Shroud of Turin that, according to archaeological finds, was unknown in this area during Jesus’ time, the discovered shroud fragments have a simple two-way weave.” British archaeologist: Find shows Turin shroud not from Jesus’ time, Sudilovsky, J (2010)

(10) “How do you know that there is real blood on the Shroud?

Alan Adler was an expert on porphyrins, the types of colored compounds seen in blood, chlorophyll, and many other natural products. He and Dr. John Heller, MD, studied the blood flecks on the STURP sampling tapes [Heller and Adler, Applied Optics 19, (16) 1980]. They converted the heme into its parent porphyrin, and they interpreted the spectra taken of blood spots by Gilbert and Gilbert. They concluded that the blood flecks are real blood. In addition to that, the x-ray-fluorescence spectra taken by STURP showed excess iron in blood areas, as expected for blood. Microchemical tests for proteins were positive in blood areas but not in any other parts of the Shroud. Several claims have been made that the blood has been found to be type AB, and claims have been made about DNA testing. We sent blood flecks to the laboratory devoted to the study of ancient blood at the State University of New York. None of these claims could be confirmed. The blood appears to be so old that the DNA is badly fragmented. Dr. Andrew Merriwether at SUNY has said that ” – anyone can walk in off the street and amplify DNA from anything. The hard part is not to amplify what you don’t want and only amplify what you want (endogenous DNA vs contamination).” It is doubtful that good DNA analyses can be obtained from the Shroud. It is almost certain that the blood spots are blood, but no definitive statements can be made about its nature or provenience, i.e., whether it is male and from the Near East. ” FAQ (2004) by Raymond N. Rogers.

(11) “According to Dr. Walter McCrone and his colleagues, the 3′ by 14′ foot cloth depicting Christ’s crucified body is an inspired painting produced by a Medieval artist just before its first appearance in recorded history in 1356.

The faint sepia image is made up of billions of submicron pigment particles (red ochre and vermilion) in a collagen tempera medium. The pigments red ochre and vermilion with the collagen tempera medium was a common paint composition during the 14th century; before which, no one had ever heard of the Shroud.

Initial Examination – 1979

Dr. McCrone determined this by polarized light microscopy in 1979. This included careful inspection of thousands of linen fibers from 32 different areas (Shroud and Sample Points), characterization of the only colored image-forming particles by color, refractive indices, polarized light microscopy, size, shape, and microchemical tests for iron, mercury, and body fluids. The red ochre is present on 20 of both body- and blood-image tapes; the vermilion only on 11 blood-image tapes. Both pigments are absent on the 12 non-image tape fibers. The paint pigments were dispersed in a collagen tempera (produced in medieval times, perhaps, from parchment). It is chemically distinctly different in composition from blood but readily detected and identified microscopically by microchemical staining reactions. Forensic tests for blood were uniformly negative on fibers from the blood-image tapes. Based on these findings, McCrone postulated that the Shroud was painted in 1355.

Further Research in 1980

In 1980, using electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction, McCrone found red ochre (iron oxide, hematite) and vermilion (mercuric sulfide); the electron microprobe analyzer found iron, mercury, and sulfur on a dozen of the blood-image area samples. The results fully confirmed Dr. McCrone’s results and further proved the image was painted twice – once with red ochre, followed by vermilion to enhance the blood-image areas.

In 1987, carbon dating at three prestigious laboratories agreed well with his date: 1355 by microscopy and 1325 by C-14 dating. The suggestion that the 1532 Chambery fire changed the date of the cloth is ludicrous. Samples for C-dating are routinely and completely burned to CO 2 as part of a well-tested purification procedure. The suggestions that modern biological contaminants were sufficient to modernize the date are also ridiculous. A weight of 20th century carbon equaling nearly two times the weight of the Shroud carbon itself would be required to change a 1st century date to the 14th century (see Amount of Modern Biological Contaminant Required to Raise the Date of a 36 A.D. Shroud). Besides this, the linen cloth samples were very carefully cleaned before analysis at each of the C-dating laboratories.

Experimental details on the tests carried out by McCrone are available in five papers published in three different peer-reviewed journal articles: The Microscope 28, p. 105, 115 (1980); The Microscope 29, p. 19 (1981); Wiener Berichte uber Naturwissenschaft in der Kunst 1987/1988, 4/5, 50 and Acc. Chem. Res. 1990, 23, 77-83.

Conclusion:

The “Shroud” is a beautiful painting created about 1355 for a new church in need of a pilgrim-attracting relicMcCrone, W(1990)”, McCrone Research Institute.

(12) “We performed reproducible atomic resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy and Wide Angle X-ray Scanning Microscopy experiments studying for the first time the nanoscale properties of a pristine fiber taken from the Turin Shroud. We found evidence of biologic nanoparticles of creatinine bounded with small nanoparticles of iron oxide. The kind, size and distribution of the iron oxide nanoparticles cannot be dye for painting but are ferrihydrate cores of ferritin. The consistent bound of ferritin iron to creatinine occurs in human organism in case of a severe polytrauma. Our results point out that at the nanoscale a scenario of violence is recorded in the funeral fabric and suggest an explanation for some contradictory results so far published.” Carlino, E et al (2017), Atomic resolution studies detect new biologic evidences on the Turin Shroud

(13) ” A few hours ago, I came across an article on Mystic Post, titled, Breaking News – New Prestigious Study on Shroud of Turin…” There is blood of a man tortured and killed” (July 11, 2017). The article quoted extensively from a story by Andrea Tornielli, published in the printed edition of the Italian daily newspaper, La Stampa (July 1, 2017). To my great surprise, the opening paragraph cited a study which recently appeared in PLOS One:

The Shroud of Turin, the linen cloth that according to an ancient tradition, wrapped the body of Jesus after crucifixion, actually came into contact with the blood of a dead man who suffered many serious injuries. This is what emerges from a research on a fabric fiber extracted from the dorsal imprint of the cloth, around the feet area. The study was conducted by two CNR institutes, the Istituto Officina dei Materiali (IOM-CNR) in Trieste and the Institute of Crystallography (IC-CNR) in Bari, together with the Department of Industrial Engineering of the University of Padua, the latter uncovered the news with a statement. An article detailing the discovery findings and measurements was published in the American journal PlosOne and titled “New Biological Evidence from Atomic Resolution Studies on the Turin Shroud”.”

At first, I couldn’t believe that PlosOne would publish such an article, but there was no doubt about it. It’s perfectly genuine, although I couldn’t help noticing that both the title and the article itself were written in very awkward English: Atomic resolution studies detect new biologic evidences on the Turin Shroud by Elvio Carlino, Liberato De Caro, Cinzia Giannini and Giulio Fanti (June 30, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180487). Obviously, the study’s authors could have used a proofreader. Reading on, my astonishment grew, and I wondered how a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal had so readily accepted such an article for publication. To be clear: while the actual scientific work described in the body of the article is quite interesting, the authors’ personal bias is all too apparent in the article’s Introduction. Clearly, they regard the Shroud as bolstering Christian claims. As I’ll argue below, that would be going far beyond the evidence. There are weighty reasons for doubting that the man on the Shroud is actually Jesus…” (theskepticalzone.com)

(14) “There is no reason to exclude the possibility of an artist experimenting with cadavers in order to understand the physiology of death and post mortem blood flows from wounds. Ancient Greek sculptors were meticulous in their depiction of every vein and artery. In the 1400s, Leonardo da Vinci filled his sketchbooks with anatomical drawings of flayed body parts. Caravaggio reportedly used a drowned prostitute as his model for the ‘Death of the Virgin’ (1606). And GĂ©ricault studied dead bodies for his ‘Raft of the Medusa’ (1819). So why should anyone discount the idea that a talented medieval artist went to obsessive lengths to recreate the burial shroud of a crucified man?” Selwood, D (2015) If The Turin is the work of a medieval Artist, its one of the greatest artworks ever created

(15) “No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found on the fibrils. X-ray, fluorescence and microchemistry on the fibrils preclude the possibility of paint being used as a method for creating the image. Ultra Violet and infrared evaluation confirm these studies. Computer image enhancement and analysis by a device known as a VP-8 image analyzer show that the image has unique, three-dimensional information encoded in it. Microchemical evaluation has indicated no evidence of any spices, oils, or any biochemicals known to be produced by the body in life or in death. It is clear that there has been a direct contact of the Shroud with a body, which explains certain features such as scourge marks, as well as the blood. However, while this type of contact might explain some of the features of the torso, it is totally incapable of explaining the image of the face with the high resolution that has been amply demonstrated by photography.

The basic problem from a scientific point of view is that some explanations which might be tenable from a chemical point of view, are precluded by physics. Contrariwise, certain physical explanations which may be attractive are completely precluded by the chemistry. For an adequate explanation for the image of the Shroud, one must have an explanation which is scientifically sound, from a physical, chemical, biological and medical viewpoint. At the present, this type of solution does not appear to be obtainable by the best efforts of the members of the Shroud Team. Furthermore, experiments in physics and chemistry with old linen have failed to reproduce adequately the phenomenon presented by the Shroud of Turin. The scientific concensus is that the image was produced by something which resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself. Such changes can be duplicated in the laboratory by certain chemical and physical processes. A similar type of change in linen can be obtained by sulfuric acid or heat. However, there are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image, nor can any combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances explain the image adequately.

Thus, the answer to the question of how the image was produced or what produced the image remains, now, as it has in the past, a mystery.

We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and also give a positive test for serum albumin. The image is an ongoing mystery and until further chemical studies are made, perhaps by this group of scientists, or perhaps by some scientists in the future, the problem remains unsolved.” STRURP Final Report, 1981, shroud.com.

(16) “An Italian scientist says he has reproduced the Shroud of Turin, a feat that he says proves definitively that the linen some Christians revere as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth is a medieval fake.”

The shroud, measuring 14 feet, 4 inches by 3 feet, 7 inches bears the image, eerily reversed like a photographic negative, of a crucified man some believers say is Christ.

“We have shown that is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the Shroud,” Luigi Garlaschelli, who is due to illustrate the results at a conference on the para-normal this weekend in northern Italy, said on Monday.

A professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, Garlaschelli made available to Reuters the paper he will deliver and the accompanying comparative photographs.

The Shroud of Turin shows the back and front of a bearded man with long hair, his arms crossed on his chest, while the entire cloth is marked by what appears to be rivulets of blood from wounds in the wrists, feet and side.

Carbon dating tests by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Tucson, Arizona in 1988 caused a sensation by dating it from between 1260 and 1390. Sceptics said it was a hoax, possibly made to attract the profitable medieval pilgrimage business.

But scientists have thus far been at a loss to explain how the image was left on the cloth.

Garlaschelli reproduced the full-sized shroud using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages.

They placed a linen sheet flat over a volunteer and then rubbed it with a pigment containing traces of acid. A mask was used for the face.

PIGMENT, BLOODSTAINS AND SCORCHES
The pigment was then artificially aged by heating the cloth in an oven and washing it, a process which removed it from the surface but left a fuzzy, half-tone image similar to that on the Shroud. He believes the pigment on the original Shroud faded naturally over the centuries.

They then added blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains to achieve the final effect.

The Catholic Church does not claim the Shroud is authentic nor that it is a matter of faith, but says it should be a powerful reminder of Christ’s passion.

One of Christianity’s most disputed relics, it is locked away at Turin Cathedral in Italy and rarely exhibited. It was last on display in 2000 and is due to be shown again next year.

Garlaschelli expects people to contest his findings “If they don’t want to believe carbon dating done by some of the world’s best laboratories they certainly won’t believe me,” he said.

The accuracy of the 1988 tests was challenged by some hard-core believers who said restorations of the Shroud in past centuries had contaminated the results.

The history of the Shroud is long and controversial.

After surfacing in the Middle East and France, it was brought by Italy’s former royal family, the Savoys, to their seat in Turin in 1578. In 1983 ex-King Umberto II bequeathed it to the late Pope John Paul.

The Shroud narrowly escaped destruction in 1997 when a fire ravaged the Guarini Chapel of the Turin cathedral where it is held. The cloth was saved by a fireman who risked his life.

Garlaschelli received funding for his work by an Italian association of atheists and agnostics but said it had no effect on his results.

“Money has no odor,” he said. “This was done scientifically. If the Church wants to fund me in the future, here I am.” Pullella, P (2009), Italian scientist reproduces Shroud of Turin.

How to Fake the Shroud

(17) “In this article I outline some of the more prodigious characteristics of the Shroud of Lirey-Chambery-Turin’s image and highlight the inadequacy of the various image formation theories postulated this century. A review is then given of some of the findings of a recently established body of evidence which strongly indicates that the image which appears on the Shroud of Turin was produced by means of a technique which (it is normally assumed), was only invented in the late eighteenth century, viz: negative photography. In the light of these findings I conjecture that our current understanding of the level of scientific and artistic knowledge (technology) available in the medieval period (especially c. 1280 – 1357 C.E.) is in need of a major overhaul.” Allen, N (1993), Is the Shroud of Turin the First Recorded Photograph?

(18) “The authenticity of the Near East as the source of the Shroud of Turin is completely verified to me as a botanist through the images and pollen grains of Gundelia tournefortii and the images of Zygophyllum dumosum leaves. Other important botanical findings, such as the images of some 200 fruits of two-three species of Pistacia and the reed Arundo donax, will be described and illustrated by photographs. Using my data base of more than 90,000 sites of plant distribution, the place that best fits the assemblage of the plant species whose images and often pollen grains have been identified on the Shroud is 10-20 km east and west of Jerusalem. The common blooming time of most of these species is spring = March and April.” Danin, A (1998)), The Origin of the Shroud of Turin From The Near East as Evidenced by Plant Images and by Pollen Grains

(19) “It is claimed that the cloth has some pollen grains and images on it that are of plants found only in the Dead Sea region of Israel. Avinoam Danin, a botanist from Hebrew University of Jerusalem claims he has identified pollen from the tumbleweed Gundelia tournefortii and a bean caper on the shroud. He claims this combination is found only around Jerusalem. Some believers think the crown of thorns was made of this type of tumbleweed. However, Danin did not examine the shroud itself. His sample of pollen grains originated with Max Frei, who tape-lifted pollen grain samples from the shroud. Frei’s pollen grains have been controversial from the beginning. Frei, who once pronounced the forged “Hitler Diaries” to be genuine, probably introduced the pollen grains himself or was duped and innocently picked up pollen grains another pious fraud had introduced (Nickell).

Danin and his colleague Uri Baruch also claim that they found impressions of flowers on the shroud and that those flowers could only come from Israel. However, the floral images they see are hidden in mottled stains much the way the image of Jesus is hidden in a tortilla or the image of Mary is hidden in the bark of a tree. The first to see flowers in the stains was a psychiatrist, who was probably an expert at seeing personality traits in inkblots (Nickell, 1994)

Danin notes that another relic believed to be the burial face cloth of Jesus (the Sudarium of Oviedo in Spain) contains the same two types of pollen grains as the Shroud and also is stained with type AB blood. Since the Sudarium is believed to havethe Sudarium of Oviedo existed before the 8th century, according to Danin, there is “clear evidence that the shroud originated before the eighth century.” The cloth is believed to have been in a chest of relics from at least the time of the Moorish invasion of Spain. It is said to have been in the chest when it was opened in 1075. But, since there is no blood on the shroud of Turin and there is no good reason to accept Danin’s assumption that the pollen grains were on the Shroud from its origin, this argument is spurious.

In any case, the fact that pollen grains found near the Dead Sea or Jerusalem were on the shroud means little. Even if the pollen grains weren’t introduced by some pious fraud, they could have been carried to the shroud by anyone who handled it. In short, the pollen grains could have originated in Jerusalem at any time before or after the appearance of the shroud in Italy. This is not a very strong piece of evidence.” Skeptics Dictionary

(20) “The Turin Shroud is traditionally considered to be the burial cloth in which the body of Jesus Christ was wrapped after his death approximately 2000 years ago. Here, we report the main findings from the analysis of genomic DNA extracted from dust particles vacuumed from parts of the body image and the lateral edge used for radiocarbon dating. Several plant taxa native to the Mediterranean area were identified as well as species with a primary center of origin in Asia, the Middle East or the Americas but introduced in a historical interval later than the Medieval period. Regarding human mitogenome lineages, our analyses detected sequences from multiple subjects of different ethnic origins, which clustered into a number of Western Eurasian haplogroups, including some known to be typical of Western Europe, the Near East, the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian sub-continent. Such diversity does not exclude a Medieval origin in Europe but it would be also compatible with the historic path followed by the Turin Shroud during its presumed journey from the Near East. Furthermore, the results raise the possibility of an Indian manufacture of the linen cloth.” Baraccia, G et al (2015) Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud

(21) “In 1988, radiocarbon laboratories at Arizona, Cambridge, and Zurich determined the age of a sample from the Shroud of Turin. They reported that the date of the cloth’s production lay between a.d. 1260 and 1390 with 95% confidence. This came as a surprise in view of the technology used to produce the cloth, its chemical composition, and the lack of vanillin in its lignin. The results prompted questions about the validity of the sample.

Preliminary estimates of the kinetics constants for the loss of vanillin from lignin indicate a much older age for the cloth than the radiocarbon analyses. The radiocarbon sampling area is uniquely coated with a yellow – brown plant gum containing dye lakes. Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.” Rogers, R (2005), Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the shroud of turin

(22) “Dr. Raymond Rogers, a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, claims that the part of the cloth tested and dated at around 1350 was not part of the original shroud. According to Rogers, the labs that dated the cloth to the 14th century tested a patch made to repair damage done by fire. How does he know this, since the patch was destroyed in the testing? According to shroud investigator Joe Nickell, Rogers “relied on two little threads allegedly left over from the sampling” and the word of “pro-authenticity researchers who guessed that the carbon-14 sample came from a ‘rewoven area’ of repair.” According to Nickell, P.E. Damon’s 1989 article published in Nature claims that “textile experts specifically made efforts to select a site for taking the radiocarbon sample that was away from patches and seams.”

Says Nickell,

Rogers compared the threads with some small samples from elsewhere on the Shroud, claiming to find differences between the two sets of threads that “prove” the radiocarbon sample “was not part of the original cloth” of the Turin shroud.

The reported differences include the presence – allegedly only on the “radiocarbon sample” – of cotton fibers and a coating of madder root dye in a binding medium that his tests “suggest” is gum Arabic….However, Rogers’ assertions to the contrary, both the cotton and the madder have been found elsewhere on the shroud. Both were specifically reported by famed microanalyst Walter McCrone.

Dr. Rogers estimates the actual date of the shroud to be between about 1,000 BCE. and 1700 CE. Still, all the evidence points toward the medieval forgery hypothesis. As Nickell notes, “no examples of its complex herringbone weave are known from the time of Jesus when, in any case, burial cloths tended to be of plain weave” (1998: 35). “In addition, Jewish burial practice utilized – and the Gospel of John specifically describes for Jesus – multiple burial wrappings with a separate cloth over the face.”*

Other evidence of medieval fakery includes the shroud’s lack of historical record prior to the mid-fourteenth century – when a bishop reported the artist’s confession – as well as serious anatomical problems, the lack of wraparound distortions, the resemblance of the figure to medieval depictions of Jesus, and suspiciously bright red and picturelike “blood” stains which failed a battery of sophisticated tests by forensic serologists, among many other indicators. (Nickell 2005).

Of course, the cloth might be 3,000 or 2,000 years old, as Rogers speculates, but the image on the cloth could date from a much later period. No matter what date is correct for either the cloth or the image, the date cannot prove to any degree of reasonable probability that the cloth is the shroud Jesus was wrapped in and that the image is somehow miraculous. To believe that will always be a matter of faith, not scientific proof.” Skeptics Dictionary

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