Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fanti, et al.'s, "Non-destructive dating of ancient flax textiles by means of vibrational spectroscopy" paper (unedited) can be downloaded free!

I was intending to go into Western Australia's State library tomorrow to see if I could download Fanti, et al.'s "Non-destructive dating of ancient flax textiles by means of vibrational spectroscopy" paper in the journal Vibrational Spectroscopy, as mentioned on Dan Porter's Shroud of Turin Blog.

In trying to work out how I would find it online at the library, I found the page "Vibrational Spectroscopy | Articles in Press | ScienceDirect.com"

About half-way down that table of contents page I found Fanti, et al.'s article, with a PDF download link.

I clicked on the link thinking it would pop-up a message saying I had to pay for the article. But much to my surprise it downloaded a PDF of the full text of the article:

with the proviso that it is unedited and the final published version may be different:

The paper is about Fanti, et al.'s testing by FT-IR (Fourier Transform Infra-Red) spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy of the correlation between the age and spectral properties of ancient flax textiles:

Abstract The possibility to define a two-way relationship between age and a spectral property of ancient flax textiles has been investigated in the present paper employing both FT-IR and Raman analyses on selected samples dated from about 3250 B.C. to 2000 A.D.

Thirteen samples of ancient flax textiles were tested (NOT including any from the Shroud of Turin) and Fanti, et al. concluded that there was a positive correlation between the age of ancient flax textiles

[Above: Figure 3 at page 27 of Fanti, et al.'s article, which seems to show a strong, positive correlation between the age of ancient flax textiles and their spectral properties.]

and their spectral properties. Which made it possible "to make a rough dating of ancient flax textiles":

The resulting calibration curves give the possibility to make a rough dating of ancient flax textiles, but future calibration based on a greater number of samples, coupled with ad-hoc cleaning procedures, will significantly improve the accuracy of the method. This procedure should be capable to remove the pollutants, but not to damage the chemical characteristics of the flax fiber. Therefore, this non destructive method could be an alternative to others, such as the more accurate radiocarbon dating, that is in the narrower range of ±50 years or less, but that both requires destruction of textiles and has higher costs.

Once this new method of dating ancient flax (and presumably other) textiles is established, there could be no reasonable objection to the non-destructive dating of flax samples from the Shroud of Turin using vibrational spectroscopy.

Indeed, Fanti has already done that, and found that, according to "FT-IR testing", the Shroud is dated 300 BC ±400" (i.e. 700 BC-AD 100) and "200 BC ±500 after Raman testing" (i.e. 700 BC-AD 300):

"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. 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 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." (Andrea Tornielli, "New experiments on Shroud show it’s not medieval," Vatican Insider, 26 March 2013).

This is consistent with the overwhelming prepponderance of the evidence, that the Shroud of Turin really is Jesus Christ's burial sheet, and is yet another nail in the coffin of the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud as "mediaeval ... AD. 1260-1390."

Stephen E. Jones

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Shroud of Turin: 2.6. The other marks (4): Plant images

Here is "2.6. The other marks (4): Plant images", which is part 15 of my series, "The Shroud of Turin." The previous post in this series was part 14, "2.6. The other marks (3): Dirt on foot and limestone." See the Contents page (part 1) for more information about this series.


THE SHROUD OF TURIN
2. WHAT IS THE SHROUD OF TURIN?
2.6. THE OTHER MARKS (4): PLANT IMAGES
© Stephen E. Jones

Introduction As previously explained, by "other marks" is meant those significant marks on the Shroud of Turin which are not wounds (see "2.4. The wounds") or bloodstains (see "2.5. The Bloodstains"). In my previous two posts I covered the `poker holes' and the dirt on the man's foot and the limestone in that dirt. Again the order in which they are presented is from the most to the least obvious (not necessarily from the most to the least important).

Plant images In 1983 German physics teacher Dr Oswald Scheuermann noticed flower images on photographs of the Shroud[1]. In that same year Scheuermann communicated his discovery to Dr Alan Whanger, a Duke University Professor of Psychiatry[2], with whom he had been corresponding about experiments with high-voltage corona discharges[3] to produce Shroud-like images on linen[4].

[Above: One of Scheuermann's corona discharge images of a Chrysanthemum coronarium flower (left), a Chrysanthemum coronarium flower image visible on the Shroud (centre) and a drawing of a Chrysanthemum coronarium flower in Flora Palaestina (right)[5]]

Dr. Alan and Mary Whanger At the time Whanger and his wife Mary could not see any flower images on the Shroud[6]. Whanger's Shroud research involved working with a life-size copy of Giuseppe Enrie's high-quality 1931 monochrome photographs of the Shroud[7]. Then one day in 1985, out of the corner of his eye, Whanger noticed a flower image above and to the left of the Shroud man's head[8]. This he later identified from Flora Palaestina as a Chrysanthemum coronarium[9].

[Above (click to enlarge): Flower image near the head of the man on the Shroud: ShroudScope: Enrie Negative Vertical. The flower is a Chrysanthemum coronarium(see below), and is native to the Mediterranean and East Asia[10]. The flower image is clearer on Enrie's 1931 negative photograph. Note that the flower is actually on the man's left side[11] but on the Enrie negative photograph it appears to be on his right side because of mirror-reversal.]

Whanger's plant images Alan Whanger has tentatively identified images of 28 different plant species on the Shroud, which are sufficiently clear and complete to compare them with drawings in Flora Palaestina[12]. Of these 28 species, 23 are flowers, 3 are small bushes, and 2 are thorns[13 ]. All 28 plants grow in Israel, with 20 of them growing in and around Jerusalem itself, and the other 8 in the vicinity of Jerusalem[14]. All 28 plants would have been available in Jerusalem markets in a fresh state or growing along the roadside or in fields for picking on the day of Jesus' crucifixion[15] (see below).

Prof. Avinoam Danin In 1995 the Whangers were in Israel and were invited to the home of Dr. Avinoam Danin, Professor of Botany at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a world authority on the plants of Israel's[16]. The Whangers showed Prof. Danin some of their photographs of flower images on the Shroud and after less than a minute of looking at them he exclaimed, "Those are the flowers of Jerusalem!" [17]. In 1997 Prof. Danin visited the Whangers' home in North Carolina, USA, and after examining their claimed plant images on their life-size, high quality photographs of the Shroud, Danin stated that he agreed with 22 of the Whanger's 28 plant identifications, and of the remaining 6, Danin said that 3 are probably correct and the other 3 are possibly correct [18]. Besides Chrysanthemum coronarium, Prof. Danin identified on photographs of the Shroud, images of the rock rose (Cistus creticus) and the bean caper (Zygophyllum dumosum)[19]. He later identified across a range of photographs, including Enrie 1931, Pia 1898 and Miller 1978, images of Gundelia tournefortii, Capparis aegyptia, Pistacia lentiscus and Zygophyllum dumosum[20], amongst others. At the 1998 exhibition of the Shroud Prof. Danin was able to identify images of both Zygophyllum dumosum and Pistacia lentiscus on the Shroud[21], and at the 2000 exhibition, Gundelia tournefortii [22].

Geographic indicators Prof. Danin noted that Chrysanthemum coronarium was a widespread Mediterranean species that grows in most districts of Israel and Jordan[23]. But being widespread around the Mediterranean means that C. coronarium is not as useful as a geographical indicator[24]. Its value lies in it being one of the clearest plant images on the Shroud[25] being discernible with the unaided eye using any high resolution photograph of the Shroud[26]. However. Zygophyllum dumosum grows only in Israel, Jordan, and Sinai, therefore it's presence on the Shroud limits the Shroud's place of origin to that area[27]. Similarly,

[Above: Distribution map of the endemic species Zygophyllum dumosum which is confined to Israel, Sinai and Western Jordan[28].]

Capparis aegyptia grows only on the Egyptian mainland, Sinai, and desert areas of Israel[29]. Gundelia tournefortii's distribution is Middle Eastern, extending from western Turkey through Israel, Syria and northern Iraq, Iran and the southernmost fringes of the former Soviet Union[30]. Cistus creticus grows across the Mediterranean zone in western Israel with a desert boundary to the east of Jerusalem[31]. The only place on earth where people could bring fresh parts of the four species Gundelia tournefortii , Zygophyllum dumosum, Cistus creticus and Capparis aegyptia, is the area between Jerusalem and Hebron"[32], a distance of a mere twenty miles (32 kilometres)[ 33].

[Above: Distribution map of the only place on earth where Gundelia tournefortii, Zygophyllum dumosum and Cistus creticus are all found growing together[34], the area around Jerusalem (green circle)[35].

Temporal indicators As well as being geographic indicators, some of the flower image species identified by Danin are also temporal (i.e. time of year and even time of day) indicators[36]. For example, Zygophyllum dumosum in the stage of bloom seen on the Shroud indicates that it was cut between the months of December and April as this is the only season when both leaf types and flowers are found together on the plant[37]. The blooming time of Chrysanthemum coronarium ia from March to May; that of Capparis aegyptia is between December and April; as is Zygophyllum dumosum's (as already mentioned); Cistus creticus blooms from March to June, and Gundelia tournefortii from March to May[38]. All these flowering period have in common the period between March and May, which was the very period of the year within which Jesus' Passover eve crucifixion (Mt 26:2; Jn 18:28,39; 19:14) occurred[39] (which was on April 7, 30, or April 3, 33)[40]. Capparis aegyptia is significant as an indicator for the time of day when its flowers were picked, since its flowering buds begin to open at about midday and gradually open until they are fully opened about half an hour before sunset[41]. Flowers seen as images on the Shroud correspond to them having been picked at about 3-4 PM[42], which corresponds to the time of the death of Jesus, "the ninth hour" (Mt 27:45-50; Mk 15:33-39; Lk 23:44-46), i.e. 3 pm[43].

Dr Max Frei's pollen Of the 28 species of plant images the Whangers' identified on the Shroud, these were the same or similar to 25 species of pollen collected from the Shroud and identified by Swiss criminologist, the late Dr Max Frei[44]. Some of the plant images on the Shroud confirms the identification of certain Palestinian and Middle Eastern species of pollen on the Shroud, which we will discuss in "6. Science and the Shroud"). For example, Gundelia tournefortii was one of the more abundant pollen species that Frei identified on the Shroud and Danin and Baruch have confirmed that identification[45]. And significantly, one of Danin's Cistus creticus images occurs in the very same spot that Frei in 1973 found pollen which he identified as Cistus creticus on the Shroud[46].

Other images The Whangers claim they have found tiny flower images on early coins and portraits of Christ[47]. Also, they claim to have found on the Shroud images of two lepton coins of Pontius Pilate, one over each eye, two desecrated Jewish phylacteries (or prayer boxes), one on the man's forehead and the other on his left arm, an amulet of Tiberius Caesar, a crucifixion nail, a Roman spear, a crown of thorns, a sponge tied to a reed (Mt 27:48; Mk 15:36; Jn 19:29), a hammer, a pair of pliers, two Roman flagrums, two sandals, a scoop, two brush brooms, a pair of dice, a coil of rope, several letters from the inscription "the King of the Jews" fixed to the Cross above Jesus' head (Mt 27:37; Mk 15:26, Lk 23:38; Jn 19:19), and possibly partial images of the cloak, the tunic and two more nails[48]. Apart from the images of the lepton coins for which there is good evidence (see next "2.6. The other marks (5): Coins over the eyes"), I am sceptical of the other non-plant images claimed by the Whangers to be on the Shroud. For example, it seems highly unlikely (to put it mildly) that the Roman soldiers would have allowed Jesus' disciples to take back His clothes, when the gospels record that the soldiers "divided his garments among them" (Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Lk 23:34; Jn 19:24), let alone valuable items like a Roman spear, hammer and pliers. And that the disciples would have the time, to collect all these items, especially the flagrums from the place where Jesus was scourged (presumably Pilate's Antonia fortress), and place them all inside the Shroud next to Jesus' body, given that the sabbath was imminent (Mt 27:57-60, Mk 15:42-46; Lk 23:50-54, John 19:38-42).

Faces in clouds? Ian Wilson who had visited the Whanger's home and looked at their claimed other non-plant objects on their life-sized, high quality, Shroud photographs was not convinced and dismissed them as akin to seeing "faces in clouds"[49]. But even Wilson had to admit that the chrysanthemum image "was undeniably there" [50]. Moreover, at the 2000 exhibition where Wilson had two hours to view the Shroud in natural daylight, it was to him "quite apparent ...that flower images are not just an aberration of black-and-white photographs" but "[f]aint flower-like shapes are quite definitely there on the cloth itself"[51]. And Prof. Danin's confirmation and identification of flowers and plant parts on the Shroud is significant given that, as previously mentioned, he is a world authority on the flora of Israel [52]. And as a Jew, Danin cannot be accused of Christian bias[53]. Moreover, unlike the Whanger's non-plant claims, Danin has verified the presence of his botanical images across a range of different photographs of the Shroud[54] and even on the Shroud itself at the 1998[55] and 2000 exhibition[56]. Each image must be evaluated on its own merits[57]. I accept that the chrysanthemum image is on the Shroud because I can see it in Internet photographs (see above). I therefore accept that there are other flower and plant images on the Shroud which I cannot yet see (although I can also see some others) which have been identified by Prof. Danin.

Conclusion That there are flower images on the Shroud has implications for how the image was formed, in that any theorised image formation process which cannot imprint flower images on linen must be rejected as inadequate. We will examine this further in "2.6. The other marks (5): Coins over the eyes." Also, that there are Palestinian and indeed Jerusalem flower images on the Shroud is another major problem for the forgery theory[§15]. How would a medieval or earlier forger imprint Palestinian and Jerusalem flower and plant images on the Shroud's linen and why would he?

NOTES
1. Whanger, M. & Whanger, A.D., 1998, "The Shroud of Turin: An Adventure of Discovery," Providence House Publishers: Franklin TN, p.71. [return]
2. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.167. [return]
3. Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U. & Whanger, M., 1999, "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, p.10. [return]
4. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.28. [return]
5. Council for Study of the Shroud of Turin, 2001, "Chrysanthemum coronarium from Flora Palaestina; drawing courtesy Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, corona image by Scheuermann," CSST Still Image Gallery, 4 October. [return]
6. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.71. [return]
7. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.72. [return]
8. Maloney, P.C., 1999, "A Contribution toward a History of Botanical Research on the Shroud of Turin," in Walsh, B., ed., Proceedings of the 1999 Shroud of Turin International Research Conference, Richmond, Virginia, p.251. [return]
9. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.86. [return]
10. "Garland chrysanthemum," Wikipedia, 6 September 2012. [return]
11. Guerrera, V., 2000, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.149. [return]
12. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.78. [return]
13. Ibid. [return]
14. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.79. [return]
15. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.78. [return]
16. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.79. [return]
17. Ibid. [return]
18. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.80. [return]
19. Danin, A., 1997, "Pressed Flowers: Where Did the Shroud of Turin Originate?: A Botanical Quest," ERETZ Magazine, November/December. [return]
20. Danin, et al., 1999, pp.18-19. [return]
21. Danin, et al., 1999, p.16. [return]
22. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.91. [return]
23. Danin, et al., 1999, p.16. [return]
24. Ibid. [return]
25. Ibid. [return]
26. Maloney, 1999, p.251. [return]
27. Danin, 1997. [return]
28. Danin, 2010, p.17. [return]
29. Danin, A., 2010, "Botany of the Shroud: The Story of Floral Images on the Shroud of Turin," Danin Publishing: Jerusalem, Israel, p.54. [return]
30. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.88. [return]
31. Danin, 2010, p.17. [return]
32. Danin, 2010, p.54. [return]
33. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.92. [return]
34. Danin, 2010, p.52. [return]
35. Danin, et al., 1999, pp.21-22. [return]
36. Danin, et al., 1999, p.18. [return]
37. Ibid. [return]
38. Danin, et al., 1999, p.22. [return]
39. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.91. [return]
40. Doig, K.F., 2006, "Doig's Biblical Chronology: Part IV, The Crucifixion of Jesus." [return]
41. Danin, et al., 1999, p.22. [return]
42.Ibid. [return]
43. Mark 15:33-34, in Cole, R.A., 1989, "The Gospel According to Mark: An Introduction and Commentary," The Tyndale New Testament commentaries, Inter-Varsity Press Leicester: UK, Second edition, p.320. [return]
44. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.78. [return]
45. Danin, A. & Baruch, U., 1998, "Floristic Indicators for the Origin of the Shroud of Turin," Third International Congress on the Shroud of Turin, 5-7 June 1998, Turin, Italy, in Minor, M., Adler, A.D. & Piczek, I., eds., 2002, "The Shroud of Turin: Unraveling the Mystery: Proceedings of the 1998 Dallas Symposium," Alexander Books: Alexander NC, p.209. [return]
46. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.86. [return]
47. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, pp.81-82. [return]
48. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.83. [return]
49. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.84. [return]
50. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.87. [return]
51.Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.92. [return]
52. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.85. [return]
53. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.292. [return]
54. Danin & Baruch, 1998, p.203. [return]
55. Danin, et al., 1999, p.16. [return]
56. Wilson & Schwortz, 2000, p.91. [return]
57. Maloney, 1999, p.253. [return]
§15. To be further examined under "9. Problems of the forgery theory". [return]


Continued in part 16, "2.6. The other marks (5): Coins over the eyes."

Last updated: 9 April, 2015.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New tests by Prof. Giulio Fanti show the Shroud of Turin could date from the time of Christ

Further to my post, "New experiments on Shroud show it's not medieval," about the Vatican Insider article on Shroud researcher Giulio Fanti, an engineering professor at the University of Padua, Italy. Prof. Fanti

[Right (click to enlarge): Prof. Giulio Fanti with his new book, "Il Mistero della Sindone" ("The Mystery of the Shroud"): Roberto Brumat]

had carried out three different experiments which showed that the Shroud of Turin could have dated from the first century AD, and could not have been a medieval forgery. Prof. Fanti has submitted his findings to a peer-reviewed scientific journal and has written, with the help of a journalist, Saverio Gaeta, a newly published book in Italian, "Il Mistero della Sindone" ("The Mystery of the Shroud"), about his experiments.

There has since been an explosion of news articles reporting on Fanti's findings. Here are exerpts from some of them, with my comments bold:

"Turin Shroud 'is not a medieval forgery'," Daily Telegraph, 28 March 2013, Nick Squires ... The Turin Shroud is not a medieval forgery, as has long been claimed, but could in fact date from the time of Christ's death, a new book claims. ... Experiments conducted by scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy have dated the shroud to ancient times, a few centuries before and after the life of Christ. ... The analysis is published in a new book, "Il Mistero della Sindone" or The Mystery of the Shroud, by Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, and Saverio Gaeta, a journalist. The tests will revive the debate about the true origins of one of Christianity's most prized but mysterious relics and are likely to be hotly contested by sceptics. Scientists, including Prof Fanti, used infra-red light and spectroscopy – the measurement of radiation intensity through wavelengths – to analyse fibres from the shroud, which is kept in a special climate-controlled case in Turin. ... The tests dated the age of the shroud to between 300 BC and 400AD.

According to the Vatican Insider article:

"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."

This can be summarised as:

So all three tests yield a date range in which Jesus' death (either AD 30 or AD 33) , falls.

The experiments were carried out on fibres taken from the Shroud during a previous study, in 1988, when they were subjected to carbon-14 dating. The late Prof. Giovanni Riggi di Numana, a Turin microanalyst, cut the sample from the Shroud in 1988 for the three radiocarbon laboratories to radiocarbon date. But Riggi kept for himself, with unofficial approval by the then Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Ballestrero, but apparently without official approval by the Vatican, a "reserve sample" of fibres he trimmed from the Shroud :

"Providing further fuel for the conspiracy theorists was the fact that the Turin microanalyst Giovanni Riggi, Gonella's friend and personal choice to perform the actual cutting of the Shroud samples in place of Mme Flury-Lemberg, seems to have had something of a hidden agenda. Instead of cutting off just the sample that was needed by the laboratories, he would cut off twice the amount, halve it, and divide only one of the halves into three for the laboratories, retaining the other. On his discovering that he had made the Arizona portion too small to meet the agreed weight, he snipped off a small portion from the retained piece. Arizona thus received its sample in two parts (for a complete scheme of this apportionment, see fig. 24). It is also little known that he kept the trimmed edges, trimmings that are no longer extant. There is some dispute in Turin concerning whether he did this with official approval, though photographs of the trimmings that I have seen certainly show Cardinal Ballestrero's seal. As for the rest of the retained portion, probably enough to do another carbon dating, whoever may have this and where it is by no means clear, though it is said to be personally held by Cardinal Saldarini." (Wilson, I., "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, pp.186-187).

[Above: Sketch of sample cut from the Shroud in 1988 for carbon-14 dating by three laboratories, and showing in red, the `reserve sample' kept by Giovanni Riggi: Wilson, I., "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, p.189.]

It is these fibres from the same area of the Shroud as the 1988 carbon-dating, that Prof. Fanti apparently obtained after Riggi's death in 2008 and used in his three dating tests.

Those tests, conducted by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona, appeared to back up the theory that the shroud was a clever medieval fake, suggesting that it dated from 1260 to 1390. But those results were in turn disputed on the basis that they may have been skewed by contamination by fibres from cloth that was used to repair the relic when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages. As mentioned in a previous post, the late Ray Rogers, a Los Alamos chemist, in 2005 had shown by an alternative test of age, vanillin residual content, 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. ... 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).

So these three new tests by Fanti make four different tests of age which show the Shroud of Turin is old enough to have been Jesus' burial shroud, versus only one test, radiocarbon dating, which claimed the Shroud was dated between AD 1260 and 1390, against the overwhelming preponderance of all the other evidence.Mr Fanti, a Catholic, said his results were the fruit of 15 years of research. He said the carbon-14 dating tests carried out in 1988 were "false" because of laboratory contamination. ... Scientists have never been able to explain how the image of a man's body, complete with nail wounds to his wrists and feet, pinpricks from thorns around his forehead and a spear wound to his chest, could have formed on the cloth. This is an important point. If the Shroud had been forged by a 14th century or earlier artist, modern science would be able to explain how the Shroud image was formed, and modern artists would be able to replicate it. But modern science has been unable to explain, naturalistically, how the Shroud's image was formed, as Philip Ball, former physical science editor at Nature, admitted:

"It's fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever. Not least, the nature of the image and how it was fixed on the cloth remain deeply puzzling." (Ball, P., "Material witness: Shrouded in mystery," Nature Materials, Vol. 7, No. 5, May, 2008, p.349)
and modern artists have been unable to replicate it.

Mr Fanti said the imprint was caused by a blast of "exceptional radiation", although he stopped short of describing it as a miracle. See my post "Italian study claims Turin Shroud is Christ's authentic burial robe" for Fanti's evidence that the image on the Shroud was caused by radiation. He said his tests backed up earlier results which claimed to have found on the shroud traces of dust and pollen which could only have come from the Holy Land. ...

"Shroud of Turin returns to spotlight with new pope, new app, new debate," NBC News, Alan Boyle, New research has found that the Shroud of Turin, a mysterious relic previously believed to date back only to the Middle Ages, was actually created between 280 B.C. and 220 A.D., around the time of when Jesus would have lived and died. ... The claim immediately faced a wave of criticism, including a harsh statement from Turin's archbishop that some say has driven a stake into the book's heart. See below on the Archbishop of Turin's false claim that "there's `no degree of security' as to the authenticity of the fiber samples. ... The new book refers to those past claims, plus a new angle. That angle has to do with single fibers that were purportedly vacuumed up from the shroud during scientific testing. Riggi was also involved in vacuuming "any debris or loose materials from the underside of the cloth" in STURP's ( Shroud of Turin Research Project) 1978 examination and tests on the Shroud:

"Around 10.45 pm on the night of Sunday 8 October [1978] twelve young men arrived at the suite carrying a 5 m long sheet of 2 cm plywood draped with an expensive-looking sheet of red silk. When the silk was pulled back, the Shroud was revealed beneath ... Then, with the aid of Poor Clare nuns, one of the Shroud's sides was unstitched from the backing cloth sewn on to it in 1534, allowing parts of the normally inaccessible underside to be viewed for the first time in four hundred years. This was done to enable Prof Giovanni Riggi and his Italian scientific team to perform their experiments. Given only two weeks' notice that he would be examining the Shroud, Riggi had developed several impressive experiments. .... Riggi's next experiment was to use a special vacuum with sterilized filters to remove any debris or loose materials from the underside of the cloth but little of importance was found in the results." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," 2000, pp.68,70).

Since Riggi in 1988 kept back for himself a significant piece of the Shroud, he presumably also had kept for himself the dust, including fibres in it, from his 1978 vacuuming of the Shroud, and these fibres were also included in those obtained by Prof. Fanti after Riggi's death.

... Fanti's claims drew a quick reaction from Joe Nickell, a research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry who regularly counters claims from Fanti and other shroud researchers. "As is typical of a religious rather than scientific agenda, their news was shrewdly released just in time for Easter," Nickell said in a blog posting. "That alone casts doubt on the claims, but there is more." Nickell, is the master of the ad hominem fallacy which he employs here. As he would know, having had books published himself, the date of a book's publication is usually determined by the publisher not the author. Besides, it is obviously irrelevant to the truth of a series of scientific experiments, when they are published.

Nickell pointed out that Fanti's tests "involve three different procedures — each with its own problems — which are then averaged together to produce the result." This is also fallacious. Every scientific test (including radiocarbon dating) has its problems. And it is simply false that the three different tests were "averaged together to produce the result." Even without the averaging, each test produced a result: a date range which covered the year of Jesus' death (see above). Besides, the 1988 radiocarbon date range of 1260-1390 was an average of all the tests on the Shroud sample by the three laboratories (see below). If Nickell was consistent (which he isn't) he should reject the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Shroud!

[Above (click to enlarge): Fig. 1 from the paper, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, 1989, showing that the "AD 1260-1390" radiocarbon date of the Shroud was a "Mean", i.e. an average of each of the three laboratories' multiple tests.]

He said that stands in contrast with 1988's mass spectrometry tests, which yielded a date range between 1260 and 1390.The "spectrometry tests" were the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) method usued in carbon dating the Shroud. But see above that the "date range between 1260 and 1390" it yielded was an average of multiple tests carried out by three different laboratories. Nickell is either ignorant of that fact (he has no scientific qualifications) or he is banking on most of his readers being ignorant of it. Fanti says those earlier tests were not "statistically reliable," but Nickell and most scientists are sticking with the verdict rendered in 1988. Are "most scientists" sticking with the 1988 1988 radiocarbon date of 1260-1390, i.e. 1325 +/- 65 years? Most scientists are not nuclear physicists specialising in radiocarbon dating and those that are would be unlikely to know much about the carbon dating of the Shroud. A scientist outside his field is just another layman. Besides, even a scientist who was involved in the 1988 radioarbon dating of the Shroud and is today a Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Laboratory, Dr. Christopher Bronk Ramsey, now has his doubts about that 13th-14th century date, given 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 a professional skeptic, Nickell can be expected to voice doubt about the book. But criticism also came from Archbishop Nosiglia. Because there's "no degree of security" as to the authenticity of the fiber samples, the shroud's custodians "cannot recognize any serious value to the results of these alleged experiments," Nosiglia said in a statement quoted by La Stampa's Vatican Insider. The Archbishop is just repeating the false `party line' that started after Riggi gave some of his blood-stained fibres from the Shroud to Mexican-born paediatrician and microbiologist Dr Leoncio Garza-Valdes, in May 1993. After male DNA was isolated from those Shroud samples in 1996, Garza-Valdes faxed his results to Cardinal Ballestrero's successor as Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Saldarini. But Cardinal Saldarini reacted by stating falsely that, "there is no residual material from that sample in the hands of third parties" and therefore, "there is no degree of certainty about whether the material in question ... actually comes from the fabric of the Shroud":

"Following the successful cloning of the three gene segments from the samples of blood on the Shroud, I sent a fax to Cardinal Saldarini, telling him of our success. I received no acknowledgement. The first indication I had of trouble was when I heard that Cardinal Saldarini had issued a statement following `recently published press reports concerning the Holy Shroud'. The gist was that: `... while the Church recognized every scientist's right to carry out research that he feels to be suitable in his field of science, in this case it is necessary to point out that: a) no new sample of material has been taken from the Holy Shroud since 21 April 1988, and, as far as the Custodian of the Holy Shroud knows, there is no residual material from that sample in the hands of third parties; b) if such material exists, the Custodian reminds everybody that the Holy See has not given permission to anybody to keep it and do what he wants with it. The Custodian requests those concerned to give the piece back to the Holy See; c) as there is no degree of certainty about whether the material in question on which these aforesaid experiments have been carried out actually comes from the fabric of the Shroud, the Holy See and the Papal Custodian declare that they cannot recognize any serious value in the results of the alleged experiments.'" (Garza-Valdes, L.A., "The DNA of God?," 1998, pp.75-76).

But as Garza-Valdes pointed out:

"... I had been caught in a political situation in which the words of Cardinal Ballestrero would be disregarded once he relinguished his custodianship of the Shroud to Cardinal Saldarini, as happened in September 1990 ... When I obtained the samples in Turin in May 1993 ... I believed that Riggi and Gonella had the authority to give me the samples. ... Were the samples from Riggi truly from the Shroud of Turin? I have the photograph of Cardinal Ballestrero's seal on the container in which the samples were kept. There is no doubt, as one looks at the samples, that they are from the Shroud. Also, during my conference at the Polytechnic of Turin, where I showed the photographs of the samples, Dr Franco A. Testore, who had actually done the weighing of the Shroud segments, recognized the three trimmings as being from the borders of the segment cut on April 21, 1988." (Garza-Valdes, 1998, pp.76-77. My emphasis).

The archbishop's comments "put stakes into Fanti's work," Vatican Insider reported. This is false. Just because the Turin authorities are in denial that Prof. Giovanni Riggi kept his own private `reserve samples' from the Shroud does not mean that he didn't. It has been well-documented over the years that Riggi had his own `reserve sample' of the Shroud and the Turin authorities must have known it but apparently did nothing about it. Garza-Valdes himself faxed all the details to Cardinal Saldarini in 1996 but he was ignored.

It is bad enough that this current Turin Archbishop is continuing in the telling of a lie about this matter, but it is even worse that he is in effect accusing Prof. Fanti of scientific fraud, as well as giving false comfort to Shroud anti-authenticists like Joe Nickell and his ilk. Somehow I suspect that shroud science is not truly dead ... Indeed. Shroud science is very much alive! It will be this Archbishop of Turin, and not Prof. Fanti, who will come off second-best in this truth-contest.

See also: "Shroud Of Turin Real? New Research Dates Relic To 1st Century, Time Of Jesus Christ," The Huffington Post, Meredith Bennett-Smith, 03/29/2013; "Turin Shroud Going on TV, With Video From Pope," The New York Times, Elisabetta Povoledo, March 29, 2013 & "Rare TV appearance for Turin Shroud, Christianity's famous relic," CNN, Laura Smith-Spark and Livia Borghese, March 29, 2013.

Stephen E. Jones