Shroud of Turin news.

In another entry, there is considerable people are table-tennising their views around about whether our Blessed Mother experienced physical death at the end of her earthly life.

Here is another interesting question: Do you believe the Shroud of Turin is the Shroud of Christ?

The Shroud will be shown again next year, I believe.  I saw it during the Jubilee.

Researcher to re-examine radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin

Colorado Springs, Aug 19, 2008 / 03:00 am (CNA).- The Shroud of Turin Center in Colorado Springs is preparing linen samples similar to the materials used in the Shroud of Turin in an attempt to determine whether or not the carbon dating tests of the shroud could have been skewed by contamination from atmospheric carbon monoxide.

The Shroud of Turin is considered by some to bear an image of the face of Jesus Christ. Made of herring bone linen, the shroud has dimensions of about 4 feet by 14 feet. It bears faint brown discolorations forming the negative image of a man. Its positive image, revealed by modern photography, shows the outline of a bearded man.

Skeptics contend that the shroud is a medieval forgery.

At a conference sponsored by the Shroud Science Group at Ohio State University this weekend, [Wow.  Who knew?] the Los Alamos National Laboratory presented findings that the 1988 test results were flawed because the tested linen samples may have been from material added to the shroud during medieval repairs, the Los Angeles Times says.

A researcher at Oxford University has said he will re-examine the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin to determine whether a previous test which dated the Shroud to the 13th and 14th centuries is accurate.

Christopher Ramsey, head of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, in a statement on his website said “There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow, and so further research is certainly needed.”

“Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information,” he continued.

Though Ramsey has agreed to collaborate with shroud researchers, he said he does not believe contamination would have had much effect.

The reexamination of the radiocarbon dating of the shroud has been advocated by John Jackson, a physics lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Jackson, who with his wife Rebecca runs the Colorado Springs-based Shroud of Turin Center, hypothesizes that the previous carbon dating test results were skewed by elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

While he does not accept the Los Alamos researchers’ contention that some materials in the shroud were added later, John Jackson suggests that atmospheric carbon monoxide could have contaminated the shroud during its long history.

John and Rebecca Jackson say that some evidence, such as the characteristics of the cloth and the details of the image, suggest a much older origin of the shroud. At present John is preparing linen samples to be tested for carbon monoxide contamination, which could be compared to the shroud to prove or disprove his hypothesis.

“If we get to the point where we believe we have a viable hypothesis that works in the lab, then we have scientific grounds to go to Turin and say, ‘Here’s what we think has happened to the shroud. These are the effects we need to look for. Can we please have access?'” said Jackson, the Los Angeles Times reports.

John Jackson, 62, is a devout Catholic and a former professor at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory. He has been interested in the shroud since he first saw its famous image at the age of 13.

If you love Christ, why wouldn’t you want to explore the possibility that you have an artifact of his material existence on Earth?” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He added that his faith isn’t incompatible with his scientific training: “How I think about the shroud comes from the shroud. It’s not, ‘Gee, I’m a Christian, so I’ll force it to be what I want it to be.’ That’s not scientific logic.”

John’s wife Rebecca, 60, is a convert to Christianity from an Orthodox Jewish background. She moved to Colorado Springs from Brooklyn, New York after enlisting in the army. In 1990, while watching a documentary on the shroud, she began to think the face in the shroud’s image looked like that of her grandfather.

She met John while pursuing her interest in the shroud.

Speaking to CNA in a Monday phone interview, John Jackson explained that the hypothesis of carbon monoxide contamination in the shroud has “serious potential” for upsetting the previous radiocarbon dating of the shroud, but first it must be determined if the hypothesis has scientific merit.

He emphasized that the samples he is preparing are not from shroud but rather are “control linen samples” exposed to conditions similar to those the shroud is believed to have experienced. This preparation process, he said, is going to take a “considerable amount of time” because there are many parameters to the hypothesis.

“We have to be able to address these various parameters and we have, at the moment, only one reaction chamber to be able to do all these different experiments. Any one experiment takes a considerable amount of time to perform.”

Jackson said the research preparations could move more quickly, but he noted their progress is relative to the donations the Shroud Center receives.  <font color=”#ff0000″><b>[You know that had to be part of it.]</b></font>

“It’s going to take months to several years, I would say,” he told CNA.
If it is shown that gaseous contamination can affect the carbon dating of the shroud, Jackson said, the research would have implications for the radiocarbon community in general.  <font color=”#ff0000″><b>[There’s a “radiocarbon community“?  I bet those parties are interesting!]</b></font>

“It’s important that we bring the radiocarbon community into this project through Oxford so we are not leaving it just to us to say that the radiocarbon dating of shroud was in error, if indeed it is, so that they can be partners in that.”

“I believe they’re genuinely interested in getting an accurate date of the shroud,” he said.

Jackson claimed other linen samples subjected to radiocarbon dating have given misdates as well.

Further, he repeated that historical and archaeological studies of the shroud suggest an earlier date, mentioning its Jewish style of weaving and burial procedure

“The radiocarbon date looks to us like an outlier.”

“I’m very pleased to see the very wide interest in the shroud,” he told CNA, noting the recent Los Angeles Times article on the shroud was listed as the most viewed and most e-mailed article on the paper’s website.

“It would be meaningful to the world if it is authentic, it would be the premier archaeological artifact that could take us into the tomb of Christ, scientifically,” he concluded. “Not to replace faith, but to help us go into the tomb even before Peter and John. That is a really exciting possibility nearly 2,000 years later.”

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  1. Ronald Webber says:

    *There’s a “radiocarbon community“? I bet those parties are interesting!*

    As a leading member of the traditional Catholic liturgy community, I would be careful there Father!!

  2. Richard says:

    Don’t you think the resurrection might have messed up the radiocarbon dating a bit?

  3. Matthew M. says:

    At a conference sponsored by the Shroud Science Group at Ohio State University this weekend, [Wow. Who knew?]

    I didn’t even know, and I bicycled past the conference several times! They held it in the (nice!) Blackwell Hotel. It’s often hard to tell guys at these sorts of conferences are serious scientists or if they’re the sort of guys who’ll also pull your ear for forty minutes on their second shooter grassy-knoll assassination theory, or bigfoot siting.

    There appears to be no historial provenance for the shroud before the late medieval period. That is a serious problem. Such a relic would likely have been known, and spoken of.

    The radiocarbon dating done so far on the shroud is problematic, though. Out of necessity it is performed on threads that a) may have been woven in as patches, and b) are covered with layers (at the thread level) of extraneous substances, so it is unlikely that that dating method will ever give a trustworthy answer.

    If you don’t have provenance, and don’t have a scientific dating method, you have an ambiguous relic (and our Church is filled with those). But you do have an excellent reminder of Christ’s death and resurrection, worthy of veneration regardless of its history.

  4. KK says:

    Likely no women over the age of 29…

  5. John Enright says:

    Absent divine revelation, I don’t think we will ever know whether the Shroud of Turin is the actual burial cloth of Christ. I personally believe that it is; at a minimum, something completely ethereal caused the images.

  6. Norman says:

    “radiocarbon community” is a short and quick way of saying “all scientists who work on radiocarbon dating” :)

  7. David Andrew says:

    I wonder why there’s only one whole piece of cloth when the account of the empty tomb in John’s gospel makes reference to the main cloth being in one place and the cloth that bound Jesus’ head being rolled up and in another part of the tomb? I also wonder why none of the other gospels make reference to it, and more to the point (as mentioned in an earlier comment) why it only seemed to appear late. One would think that it would be one of the earliest relics known, along with the true cross.

    Personally the shroud and it’s “mythology” (I apply that term not to mean the truth of the story, but rather the unfolding of the story/history itself) have little impact on my faith. When in Rome I was able to take the “scavi” tour and seen what are purported to be the bones of St. Peter. Fascinating and well-worth it, even inspiring, but my faith isn’t predicated on their authenticity.

  8. Deusdonat says:

    I have been a life-long sindonista. Carbon-dating or no, I believe the shroud is authentic. There are too many other proofs for this. If the newer tests vindicate that the shroud is indeed as old as I and many suspect it is, this will still not satisfy disbelievers, just as the innaccurate tests sway true sindonisti. Faith is faith. But I’m glad these people have a purpose in their life.

  9. John Hudson says:

    I read a number of books on the scientific study of the shroud some years ago, and the most striking material is the forensic analysis of the stains and particles found on the cloth. The forensic evidence indicates that this cloth was in contact with the body of a man who had undergone the suffering and death described in the Gospel accounts of Christ’s passion. The blood stains are where they would be expected: the head, the back, the side, the shoulders and, tellingly, the wrists. The latter is notable because in Christian iconography Christ’s hands are pierced by the nails, whereas archaeological evidence supports the view that the Romans nailed victims to the cross behind the wrist joint. So if this is, somehow, a mediaeval forgery, it is contrary to virtually all depictions of the crucifixion in mediaeval art.

    Analysis of pollen particles found on the cloth is also of interest, since these indicate that the cloth had been in the Middle East at some point in its history.

    None of this is proof that the shroud is the burial cloth of Christ, but there is dissonance between the radiocarbon dating and all the other scientific evidence that has been gathered, which is why the radiocarbon dating continues to be questioned. The other important question, of course, is how — if it is a forgery — was the shroud made?

  10. Jane M says:

    There was an article in Thermochimica Acta (Thermochimica Acta (Volume 425, pages 189-194, by Raymond N. Rogers, Los Alamos National Laboratory) that showed conclusively that the radiocarbon dates are wrong. That is, they do not measure the age of the main shroud. Rogers wanted to study the decomposition of lignin in linen nodes as a new way of testing dates for the shroud. What he found was that he was looking in part at dyed cotton. Linen darkens with age. This means that if you do an expert mending job with cotton and must dye it to match, then the linen is very old. Rogers references an earlier scientific paper from the ’70’s or ’80’s where someone else had already commented on the presence of cotton but nobody had paid attention. The article is relatively easy to read and its pictures of the difference in cotton and linen fibers as well as the dye floating off are – convincing.

    There are references to an image in Edessa “not made by human hands” that are quite early. Like 500 AD? There is a cloth in Spain which is claimed to be the second cloth mentioned in the Bible as the headcloth. It is called the Sudarium of Oviedo. It has a history back to the eighth century and it has an image which matches that on the shroud. It also has pollen like that on the shroud and like first century Palestine.


  11. Dominic says:

    For me the problemmatic thing about the shroud is that it suggests the nails went through Jesus’s wrists, not his hands. I know why many suggest that it is more likely that the wrists were nailed, but as far as I know all approved stigmatists had the wounds in their hands, not their wrists. I wish the shroud were Jesus’s shroud, but remain unconvinced. It is, nevertheless an extraordinary and (for me) inexplicable item.

  12. Deusdonat says:

    Dominic – symbolism is often conveys a more powerful message than realism.

  13. Memphis Aggie says:

    No matter whether its authentic or a pious fraud, Christ is risen either way.

  14. Memphis Aggie says:

    Why do I need the Shroud if I can visit Christ in person at Mass? I think it’s not safe to rest your faith on the Shroud or any worldly sign.

  15. Dove says:

    David Andrew,
    There is another piece of cloth known as the Sudarium Domini which is in Oviedo in Spain. Here is a link to an article and it links to other articles as well. I saw a documentary on this several years ago and apparently the weaving of the cloth is identical to the weaving the shroud.

    I do believe that the shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus, and the Sudarium is the cloth that bound his head.

    And Dominic, the nails did go through the wrists. The weight of the body is too great to be held by nails through the hands.

  16. Brian says:

    INSIDE THE VATICAN had a slew of articles on the Shroud several years ago (maybe even 10, by now), and they were full of interesting details such as laser images of coins and words on the shroud, pollen samples, etc. It would be great to have this all in one place. It makes a very compelling case for the shroud’s authenticity.

  17. Deusdonat says:

    Why do I need the Shroud if I can visit Christ in person at Mass? I think it’s not safe to rest your faith on the Shroud or any worldly sign.

    I don’t know anyone who rests their faith in Christ on the shroud or any object. I think you missed the point entirely. I do however have faith that the shroud is real. Does this mean I venerate it over the eucharist? No. Does this mean I venerate it at all? No. At most, it is a poloroid negative snap-shot of God, and anyone who worships a photograph or image of any kind is severely lacking in Christian theology. But on the same token, to say that someone “needs” or “bases their faith” on an object simply because that person claims the object is real is severely lacking in the concept of relics in the Christian tradition.

  18. Subvet says:

    Genuine, shemuine. I’d just like to know how the image was made.

  19. Jenny Z says:

    I’m undecided on the shroud, but I hope they find out it’s older than they thought. It would be neat.

  20. LCB says:

    I’m still waiting for an explanation of how the images were created.

    Also, I understand that there is a miraculous image in Poland of Christ’s face. Anyone familiar with it? The name escapes me and I’d like to research it.

  21. Gladiatrix says:

    Dear All

    There was a documentary on this research project on the BBC a couple of months ago, presented by Rageh Omaar. It included the Sudarium plus documentary evidence of the Shroud’s presence in Byzantium, where it was a known relic, and how it came to Europe. If anyone has a friend at the Beeb perhaps they could get hold of a copy.

  22. Deusdonat says:

    Gladiatrix (I REALLY like that name, BTW : ) I saw a special on the same a LONG time ago (years). So, I think this must be a remake, as I would have remembered the name Rageh Omaar. It is very interesting in how the premise is that the shroud is actually the Byzantine tremissis or cloth of Edessa etc. The trail is there, but we have no empirical proof, which means we will always require a leap of faith.

  23. Nathan says:

    Radiocarbon community? Parties? It sounds like there might be, among these scientists, a whole social dimenstion to “radiocarbon dating.” Sort of like on-line dating, but more intellectually rigorous….

    Sorry in advance–sharing bad puns is a compulsion.

    In Christ,

  24. Elise B. says:

    There is an excellent website dedicated to the Shroud of Turin at:

  25. Jane M says:

    No one knows how the images on the shroud were created (although there are theories). It is one of the central mysteries that this object which is certainly at least as old as the twelve hundreds was created in such a way as to baffle all of modern science. Let me repeat. No. one. knows.

  26. Hugh Miller says:

    oops! Made a mistake and posted on wrong thread

    Considerable background is needed for understanding Radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin. Radiocarabon (RC) dating of linen, cotton, bones, fossil wood, sea shells, seeds, coal, diamond (anything with carbon) is serious business. It’s not ha, ha party time for these scientists! Careful decontamination of samples is important [C-14 has half life of ~5,568 years, maximum detectable limits of 50,000 to 80,000 years]. They’ve been holding serious technical conferences world wide for over 50 years. Labs do not geta “absolute dates” as claimed by the labs dating the Shroud. The equipment can be very expensive like over $1 M to set up an accurate and precise Accelerated Mass Spectrometer (AMS) in which the Shroud of Turin was tested. AMS C-14 can help provide the approximate age of an ancient city, a fallen civilization, a sunken boat, when a certain volcano exploded. For example a truer age for the famous Saber tooth tiger (Smilodon)was determined to be 12,000 to 28,000 RC years and a shocking 25,000 to 31,000 years for dinosaur NOT 65 to 225 M for their bones as evolutionists claim [that’s >2000 times younger than what we are told]. Thus as a result of C-14 dating we can dispute The Pontifical Academy of Sciences if they try and tell Catholics and the world in their November meeting of 2008 that Evolution of life from non-life is a fact. The PAS would be dead wrong as RC dates above have shown; and, as Prof. Dr. Larry Azar (RIP) of Iona College, USA has pointed out in his book, “Evolution and Other Fairy Tales”. Uhm! How do ONLY evolutionists get appointed to the PAS when the preponderance of scientific evidence is against it? [google earth age,

    Dennis Swift for dinosasur depictions and Creation Evidence Museum for fossil human and dinosaur footprints together (also U-tube for Alvis Delk fossil print).

    Now back to the Shroud: A few years ago when I worked as a chemist in a small research laboratory (for three years) I worked with samples of “modern altar linen” supplied by the Catholic Church where I attend. We heated the linen without water present and obtained “futuristic” radiocarbon dates (the data could only be considered a need for more research. I thus would agree with Dr. John Jackson’s theory of carbon monoxide absorption and more power to him; and he will need lots of funding; anybody there? What would have happened had we heated and doused it with water? Check out this statement by Dr. Marie Claire Van Oosterwyck of France who has written a book (in French) on the false RC dating of the Shroud: “The characteristics of this area (peculiar orange-red are from which the RC samples were taken in 1988) are easily interpreted as resulting from an hydrothermal attack that occurred during the 1532 fire as proved by the observation of Adler who considered it as a “strongly contaminated waterstain” area and found in it traces of gold. Molten silver and furfural having previously been found in the same area, the attack had therefore occurred at a temperature of ca 1000 degrees in presence of water vapor and in reducing conditions.” Perhaps this will help those unfamiliar with RC dating to see how important it is to the study of the origins of anything. We will still need a leap of faith on all origins issues but “Careful” C-14 testing helps us get closer to the truth as God told us in Genesis 1-11, That way we aren’t confused by what those who dislike scripture try and preach to us as fact. God bless!

    Hugh Miller
    Kolbe Center/ Columbus Ohio Paleo Group

  27. Gil Wright says:

    [There’s a “radiocarbon community“? I bet those parties are interesting!]

    Actually a radio-carbon DATING community – youth group for geeks….

  28. Martin says:

    “Actually a radio-carbon DATING community ? youth group for geeks?.”

    “Hey, You look new around here. I don’t think I’ve seen you in the last 34,000 years”

  29. William says:

    “Veronica’s Veil” is also an interesting item. It is on display at a church in the Abruzzi district of Italy. The Holy Father went there several years ago. I understand that the dimensions of the face on the veil are identical to those of the face on the Shroud.

  30. jaykay says:

    The shroud is fascinating. With regard to the wounds on the wrists, I’m sure that I read somewhere (could have been on Barry Schwortz’s site) that there is evidence that what appear to be wrist wounds are the result of blood from the hands pooling in that area because of the angle of the arms, and that the wrists were tied, as probably also was the torso, to prevent tearing of the palms. Then again, an eminent pathologist called Fred Zugibe, who has done much work in the area, is convinced that the wristts were nailed. In any event, my faith doesn’t depend on the authenticity of the shroud, or the sudarium, or the veil of Manopello (?) but they are very interesting in themselves.

  31. Domenico says:

    ‘you do have an excellent reminder of Christ’s death and resurrection, worthy of veneration regardless of its history’
    I like the comment by Matthew M.
    For our faith we have the Gospel and it is enough. BTW this was said by the actual Archbishop card. Poletto during a televised Mass inaugurating one of the past exposition in Turin.

  32. Jane says:

    There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the shroud of Turin is not a fake or an artifact of the human hand. A combination of biblical, historical and scientific evidence presents an overwhelming conclusion that it is the burial cloth of Our Lord.

    This type of evidence could be considered equivalent to the category of being “beyond reasonable doubt”.

  33. Habemus Papam says:

    Hands or wrists? I read somewhere that the nails may have entered the palms (invisible on the image) and exited through the wrists. Also that as well as coins images of many of the instuments of the Passion are present on the cloth. Who knows?

  34. MDE says:

    From what I understand about the Holy Shroud of Turin, yes, His Hands were
    bound at the wrists and nailed at the wrist at least on one side. The position
    of His Hands on the Holy Shroud image has one hand overlayed upon the other
    concealing that. There is a picture that has been taken of the Holy Shroud
    that reveals a another hand raised as blessing upon His Holy Face on same side
    as the marking of His pierced heart. It is in the eye area with palm outward.
    There is a nail-pierced mark on the inside wrist area of that Hand image.
    That image within the image of the Holy Shroud of Turin is not easily seen.
    It does seem like another dimesion separate from that dimension of the full image on the Holy Shroud, but yet a part of the whole image itself. I think it was possibly
    made at the time of His glorious resurrection. If that were so, the Holy
    Shroud of Turin would be a physical documenting of the resurrection of Our
    Lord Jesus Christ.

  35. Dan Porter says:

    The problem with the story is that it does not accurately reflect what is going on in shroud science with regards to the carbon dating. I am a member of the Shroud Science Group. I was at the conference. As far as I know, nobody at the conference, among the scientists there, thinks the Jacksons are right. Indeed, if the story had been accurate it would have not quoted Christopher Ramsey out of context. He doesn’t think the Jackson are right, either.

    As for the findings reported at the conference, the findings from the Los Alamos team of nine scientists at that lab are dramatic — boring perhaps, but none the less dramatic. They did not report a hypothesis or some wild eyed scheme (as Jackson has) but a fact. That fact is that the carbon dating sample was chemically unlike the rest of the shroud. It was not part of the shroud. The carbon dating is simply, clearly, unquestionable invalid.

    Dan Porter

  36. MDE says:

    I agree with Dan Porter. The validity is affected.

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