Here is part #1 of my comments on the paper, Barcaccia, G., et al., 2015, "Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud," Nature, Scientific Reports 5, 5 October. The article's words are in
[Above (enlarge): Figure 1: Plant DNA species found on the Turin Shroud. As can be seen, some of these came from Jerusalem, Sanliurfa (ancient Edessa) and Constantinople. But since the Shroud has since 1355 an undisputed, documented history within Western Europe, this is further evidence against the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud claim that:
"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. ... AD 1260-1390"and evidence for that the 1260-1390, i.e. 1325 ±65 radiocarbon date was computer-generated by a hacker's (allegedly Arizona physicist Timothy W. Linick's) program.]
bold to distinguish them from mine. This study was also reported in, "Shroud of Turin Offers Some DNA," GenomeWeb, October 6, 2015. There are news article on it: "Shroud of Turin DNA Comes from All over World," RealClearScience, October 12, 2015; "Turin Shroud: DNA and pollen from all over the world found on cloth, new study finds," The Independent, 14 October 2015; and "Mystery of the Shroud of Turin deepens: Genetic study reveals the fabric contains DNA from plants found all over the world," Daily Mail, October 19th, 2015. I will comment on these in my October Shroud of Turin News.
Abstract. 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. Not just "traditionally." The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic, and bears the image of Jesus' crucified and resurrected body!
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. Genomic DNA (gDNA) is chromosomal DNA, in contrast to extra-chromosomal DNA like mitochondial DNA (mtDNA). The paper covered gDNA of plants and mtDNA of humans found in the dust particles which were vacuumed from the interspace between the Shroud and its Holland Cloth backing in 1978 and 1988. The Holland cloth backing was sewn on to the Shroud in 1534, following the 1532 fire. So the interspace between the underside of the Shroud and the Holland cloth backing was effectively a sealed time capsule until 1978, so the DNA found in that space cannot have entered it between 1534 and 1978. Which effectively leaves only 209 years between ~1325 and 1534 (or at most 274 years between 1260 and 1534) if the radiocarbon date of 1260 -1390, or 1325 ±65 was correct. But since this first part of this series covers only the abstract, to avoid repeating myself, I will save most of my comments until I get to those sections of the article in future parts of this series.
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. This seems ambiguous, so I will save my comments until I get to that section of the paper. Except to say that the "Americas" DNA may have been introduced in 1978 by the American STURP team, including by the presumably American vacuum cleaner they used (see a later part of this series).
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 Again, I will save my comments for later parts. Except to say that a wide variety of plant and human DNA found in the dust particles within the space between the underside of the Shroud and its Holland cloth backing, which was created in 1534 and only partially first opened in 1978, is far more compatible with the Shroud having had in 1534 a ~1500 year history in its journey from Jerusalem, Syria, Turkey, Greece and France, than a then ~209-274 year history in France alone. As Stevenson and Habermas pointed out, "any individual factor that takes it [the Shroud] outside of medieval France, automatically increases its longevity":
"Thus, the documented history of the cloth is well established by the controversy surrounding it. After all, from the first public display of the Shroud in medieval France, the Shroud's whereabouts has been heavily documented precisely because its authenticity has been so hotly debated. Therefore, any individual factor that takes it outside of medieval France, automatically increases its longevity. For example, the cotton found on the cloth raises greatly the probability that the Shroud was woven in the pre-medieval Middle East. Other factors, such as pollen, coins, and cloth weave, also point to a much older and non-European origin for the Shroud."
Continued in part #2 of this series.
1. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp. 611-615, p. 611. [return]
2. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, p.62. [return]
Posted: 18 October 2015. Updated: 4 December 2015.