On Dan Porter's Shroud of Turn Blog I recently commented :
As I and others, especially Dan, have pointed out: 1. the Pray Codex (1192-95), 2. the Vignon markings unique to the Shroud on coins and art from the 6th century, 3. the exact match of bloodstains on the Sudarium of Oviedo (which has been in Spain since at least AD 840) and the Shroud, and now 4. the ENEA report showing that the Shroud's image is only "one fifth of a thousandth of a millimeter" and therefore it could not possibly have been created by a medieval or earlier forger. Because of any one of the above, let alone all four, lines of conclusive evidence that the Shroud is not medieval, the AD 1260-1390 medieval radiocarbon date of the Shroud simply has to be wrong. The only question now is: how did the three radiocarbon laboratories get it so wrong? The ball is now in the Shroud anti-authenticist court to try to find a face-saving answer. The pro-authenticity side no longer have to provide an answer since it no longer is (if it ever was) their problem. The 16th century invisible reweave theory is a possible explanation, among many, of how the radiocarbon labs got it wrong. If ... and his Shroud anti-authenticist ilk don't like that explanation, then let him/them find another. It's now his/their problem, not ours!
I have decided to flesh out those four lines of evidence (which I have called "proofs" in the title to reduce its length), in separate posts and in the order of their discovery:
1. the Vignon markings-which showed that unique features of the Shroud face were being copied by artists from the mid-6th century;
2. the Hungarian Pray Codex (1192-95), with its unique features of the Shroud image and cloth, dating from the 12th century;
3. the exact match of bloodstains on the Shroud head and the Sudarium of Oviedo which has been in Spain since at least AD 840; and
4. the ENEA report which found the image on the Shroud was only "one fifth of one thousandth of a millimeter" and therefore could not possibly have been created by a medieval or earlier forger.
Any one of these individually, let alone all four together collectively, provide conclusive evidence that the Shroud of Turin is not medieval and therefore the AD 1260-1390 medieval date of the Shroud has to be wrong.
Shroud. On 16 February 1989, the leading science journal Nature reported that three radiocarbon dating laboratories, Arizona, Oxford, and Zurich had in 1988 radiocarbon-dated "very small samples from the Shroud of Turin" and the results, "provide[d] conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390":
"Very small samples from the Shroud of Turin have been dated by accelerator mass spectrometry in laboratories at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich. ... The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... The age of the shroud is obtained as AD 1260-1390, with at least 95% confidence" (Damon, P.E., et al., "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, 1989, pp.611-615, p.612).
Note that these were "Very small samples" (about 1.2 x 8 centimetres total, divided equally among the three labs - Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud," p.189), and that the Shroud is a very large cloth (about 4.37 x 1.11 metres - Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," p.18).
[Above (enlarge): The postage-stamp size of the "very small samples" used to radiocarbon-date the Shroud compared with only its the front image half: Benford, M.S. & Marino, J.G., "Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud," Chemistry Today, Vol 26, N0. 4, July-August 2008.]
According to an illustration given by Prof. Harry Gove, a pioneer of the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) method used to date the Shroud, if "The entire shroud could be covered by 8,800 standard 22-cent stamps. The amount of material the ... Three labs would need [is] seven-tenths of a stamp":
"Gove said speculation that the motive for reducing the number of labs from seven to three was to conserve the amount of shroud material that would have to be destroyed is specious. `As a homey example, let's measure it in terms of postage stamps,' he said. `The entire shroud could be covered by 8,800 standard 22-cent stamps. The amount of material the original seven labs would need is a sample the size of about two-and-a-half stamps. Three labs would need seven-tenths of a stamp. So what? It's like knocking a few dollars off the national debt.'" (Clark, K.R., "Shroud of Turin Controversy Resumes," Chicago Tribune, January 17, 1988).
But in fact "every laboratory [was] ... given a piece of material about the size of a stamp," i.e. the three laboratories were together given a total of three `stamps':
"In the crossfire of the polemic, Gonella justified the limited number of the laboratories by the fact that this would reduce to the minimum the damage of the Shroud. Gove, however, answered him by noting that the additional amount of fabric necessary for four laboratories did not justify their exclusion. He gave this example: the Shroud could be covered by 8,800 22-cent stamps. The amount necessary for the seven laboratories would have corresponded to two-and-a-half stamps. Three laboratories need seven-tenths of a stamp. [Fidelity, cit., p. 42] Actually, every laboratory would eventually be given a piece of material about the size of a stamp." (Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, 1996, p.47).
That is, the total sample of the Shroud that the three laboratories tested, was a minuscule 3/8,800 = 0.035% or about one third of a thousandths of the Shroud!
So there already was a potential major problem of the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to AD 1260-1390, that the sample size was so very small that it was not necessarily representative of the whole Shroud. Which was in 2008 shown to be the case by in fact, by Los Alamos National Laboratory analytical chemist Robert Villarreal:
"The results of the FTIR [ Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy] analysis on all three threads taken from the Raes sampling area (adjacent to the C-14 sampling corner) led to identification of the fibers as cotton and definitely not linen (flax). Note, that all age dating analyses were conducted on samples taken from this same area. Apparently, the age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case. What was true for the part was most certainly not true for the whole. This finding is supported by the spectroscopic data provided in this presentation. The recommendations that stem from the above analytical study is that a new age dating should be conducted but assuring that the sample analyzed represents the original main shroud image area, i.e. the fibers must be linen (flax) and not cotton or some other material. It is only then that the age dating will be scientifically correct." (Villarreal, R., Schwortz, B. & Benford, M.S., "Analytical Results on Thread Samples Taken from the Raes Sampling Area (Corner) of the Shroud Cloth," August 16, 2008, "The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma, " 2008 Columbus Ohio International Conference, August 14-17, 2008).
member of the Oxford Radiocarbon Laboratory which jointly carbon-dated the Shroud as "medieval ... AD 1260-1390," and is now Director of that same Oxford laboratory, has conceded that, "There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow":
"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. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. 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." (Ramsey, C.B., "Shroud of Turin Version 77," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 23 March, 2008)
As we will see, there are at least four different, independent, lines of evidence that not only "suggest," but in fact prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow! And therefore the AD 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Shroud has to be wrong!
Updated: 19 September 2015.