Thanks to commenter The Deuce for alerting me to this article. My comments are bold to distinguish them from the article.
Tuesday 26 March 2013
Professor Giulio Fanti and journalist Saverio Gaeta have published a
[Right: Fanti and Gaeta's new book, "Il Mistero della Sindone" ("The Mystery of the Shroud"). It is in Italian but hopefully there will be an English translation edition out soon]
book with the results of some chemical and mechanical tests which confirm that the Shroud dates back to the 1st century. This raises the question, why should carbon 14 dating be regarded as the only definitive test of the age of the Shroud? In 2005 the late Ray Rogers, employed another test of age, vanillin content, which showed that the linen of the Shroud is "between 1,300 and 3,000 years old:
"The Shroud of Turin is much older than suggested by radiocarbon dating carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study in a peer-reviewed journal. A research paper published in Thermochimica Acta suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old. The author dismisses 1988 carbon-14 dating tests which concluded that the linen sheet was a medieval fake. ... `The radiocarbon sample has completely different chemical properties than the main part of the shroud relic,' said Mr Rogers, who is a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, US. ... In the study, he analysed and compared the sample used in the 1988 tests with other samples from the famous cloth. In addition to the discovery of dye, microchemical tests - which use tiny quantities of materials - provided a way to date the shroud. These tests revealed the presence of a chemical called vanillin in the radiocarbon sample and in the Holland cloth, but not the rest of the shroud. Vanillin is produced by the thermal decomposition of lignin, a chemical compound found in plant material such as flax. Levels of vanillin in material such as linen fall over time. ...The fact that vanillin cannot be detected in the lignin on shroud fibres, Dead Sea scrolls linen and other very old linens indicates that the shroud is quite old," Mr Rogers writes. `A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.'" ("Turin shroud 'older than thought," BBC, 31 January, 2005).
New scientific experiments carried out at the University of Padua have apparently confirmed that the Shroud Turin can be dated back to the 1st century AD. So that's now two (actually four - see below) scientific tests of age which reveal the Shroud can date from the time of Christ (plus the mountain of other evidence) compared to only one test, the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud , to the contrary.
This makes its compatible with the tradition which claims that the cloth with the image of the crucified man imprinted on it is the very one Jesus' body was wrapped in when he was taken off the cross. The news will be published in a book by Giulio Fanti, professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at the University of Padua's Engineering Faculty, and journalist Saverio Gaeta, out tomorrow. "Il Mistero della Sindone" (The Mystery of the Shroud) is edited by Rizzoli (240 pp, 18 Euro). This could be a very important discovery. Presumably the book will be translated into English in the near future.
What's new about this book are Fanti's recent findings, which are also about to be published in a specialist magazine and assessed by a scientific committee. The research includes three new tests, two chemical ones and one mechanical one. The first two were carried out with an FT-IR system, so using infra-red light, and the other using Raman spectroscopy. The third was a multi-parametric mechanical test based on five different mechanical parameters linked to the voltage of the wire. The machine used to examine the Shroud's fibres and test traction, allowed researchers to examine tiny fibres alongside about twenty samples of cloth dated between 3000 BC and 2000 AD. This is the first I have heard of these three tests. I am in the dark (pun intended) how FT-IR (presumably Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy [FTIR]) and Raman spectroscopy can reveal a fibres' age. But I can understand how a fibre could change mechanically (e.g. tensile strength ) over time.
The new tests carried out in the University of Padua labs were carried out by a number of university professors from various Italian universities and agree that the Shroud dates back to the period when Jesus Christ was crucified in Jerusalem. Final results show that the Shroud fibres examined produced the following dates, all of which are 95% certain and centuries away from the medieval dating obtained with Carbon-14 testing in 1988: the dates given to the Shroud after FT-IR testing, is 300 BC ±400, 200 BC ±500 after Raman testing and 400 AD ±400 after multi-parametric mechanical testing. The average of all three dates is 33 BC ±250 years. I have just realised it is not one test but three. So, including Ray Rogers' vanillin test, that makes four scientific tests of age that say the Shroud dates from the time of Christ, versus only one (C-14 dating) which says it isn't.
The book's authors observed that the uncertainty of this date is less than the single uncertainties and the date is compatible with the historic date of Jesus' death on the cross, which historians claim occurred in 30 AD. No test of age would ever be spot-on. So it is very impressive that these three new tests span the year of Jesus' crucifixion, AD 30-33 .
The tests were carried out using tiny fibres of material extracted from the Shroud by micro-analyst Giovanni Riggi di Numana who passed away in 2008 but had participated in the 1988 research project and gave the material to Fanti through the cultural institute Fondazione 3M. It was Riggi who cut the samples from the Shroud for the 1988 radiocarbon dating. But later it was disovered that he kept back a "reserve sample" of 144 milligrams (see BSTS Newsletter #26, 1990) for himself (but probably with the knowledge of the Turin authorities). So presumably these fibres are from the same area of the Shroud as the C-14 dating was taken! Which only adds to the evidence that the C-14 laboratories' date of 1260-1390 was not only wrong but fraudulent.
© 2013 La Stampa
Stephen E. Jones
Posted: 27 March 2013. Updated: 23 May 2016.