Copyright © Stephen E. Jones
This is "Introduction: Yarn," part #7 of my series, "The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!" As can be seen on the "Introduction #2" page, "Yarn" should logically have preceded "Weave #4," but at the time I did not think of the significance of the
[Above (enlarge): Ultraviolet-fluorescence photograph of the Shroud man's hands, showing colour banding of different hanks of yarn in the linen, both weft (widthwise) and warp (lengthwise) on the loom.]
yarn's banding (see below). This is an example of how the chronological order of posts in this series will not necessarily be the same as their logical order in the index pages.
- Introduction #2
- Yarn #7
Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, including weaving.
Retting is the process of separating the fibre from the rest of the plant in water. It relies on the fermentation action of microorganisms and moisture to rot and dissolve away the cellular tissues leaving the almost pure cellulose of the flax fibres. Ancient retting of linen was in natural bodies of water, whereas its medieval counterpart could also have been in large vats of water. A consequence of ancient retting of linen in natural bodies of water like rivers and lakes, is that the linen takes up ions of strontium, calcium and iron from the water.
Bleaching Ancient linen yarn was, as described by the Roman natural historian Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79), after spinning laid out in hanks to be mildly bleached by the sun. Medieval linen was, by contrast, mildly bleached in the sun as the whole cloth, mostly in "bleach fields" in the Low Countries, hence the name "Holland cloth" for the medieval
[Above (enlarge): Medieval Holland Cloth backing of the Shroud, visible in its bottom left-hand corner. As can be seen, this medieval linen cloth is homogeneous and has no variegated colour banding, unlike the Shroud (see photograph above and to its right in this photograph).]
linen backing of the Shroud. Each hank of ancient linen yarn was bleached separately, and so they each have slightly different, banded, colours. Medieval linen, again by contrast, was bleached as a whole cloth after being woven, not before, and so is homogeneous, with no bands of different coloured yarn
The Shroud shows bands of different-colored yarn in its weave (see photograph above), unlike medieval linen which is homogeneous (see photograph of the Holland cloth above). The Shroud also has particles of strontium, calcium and iron uniformly distributed throughout its fibres, which can only have come from ion exchange during retting in a natural body of water. While the latter is consistent with the Shroud being either medieval or ancient, the former is consistent only with the linen of the Shroud having been spun in antiquity and not the Middle Ages.
Problem for the forgery theory That the linen yarn which comprises the Shroud's weave is banded in variegated colours and therefore was spun from flax in antiquity, not the Middle Ages, is yet another problem for the medieval forgery theory (see #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 & #6). Again (see #5 & #6), an anti-authenticist could still (like a drowning man clutching at a straw) cling to to the pre-1988 fall-back position of the late leading anti-authenticist Walter McCrone (1916-2002), that:
"... a first century cloth could have been found and used by a 14th century artist to paint the image".But then again that would be then admitting that the "1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud" claim:
"The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390"was wrong. Whether anti-authenticists admit it or not, because of this Shroud yarn colour banding, and a mountain of other evidence (see for example parts #3, #5 and #6 of this series and much, much, more to come), the "mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390" radiocarbon date of the Shroud was wrong (and indeed the result of a computer hacking)!
Continued in part #8 of this series.
1. This post is copyright. Permission is granted to quote from any part of this post (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this post. [return]
2. Rogers, R.N., 2008, "A Chemist's Perspective on the Shroud of Turin," Lulu Press: Raleigh, NC, p.19. [return]
3. Zugibe, F.T., 2005, "The Crucifixion of Jesus: A Forensic Inquiry," M. Evans & Co.: New York NY, p.176. [return]
4. "Yarn," Wikipedia, 1 October 2015. [return]
5. "Spinning (textiles)," Wikipedia, 11 October 2015. [return]
6. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, p.196. [return]
7. "Linen," Wikipedia, 17 October 2015. [return]
8. "Flax," Wikipedia, 19 October 2015. [return]
9. "Retting," Wikipedia, 21 May 2015. [return]
10. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, p.91. [return]
11. Ibid. [return]
12. Case, T.W., 1996, "The Shroud of Turin and the C-14 Dating Fiasco," White Horse Press: Cincinnati OH, p.36. [return]
13. Wilson, 1986, p.91. [return]
14. Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.174. [return]
15. Rogers, 2008, p.18. [return]
16. Extract from Latendresse, M., 2010, "Shroud Scope: Durante 2002: Vertical.," Sindonology.org. [return]
17. Rogers, 2008, p.18. [return]
18. Ibid. [return]
19. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London, p.110. [return]
20. Rogers, 2008, p.18. [return]
21. Rogers, 2008, p.18; de Wesselow, 2012, p.110. [return]
22. Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.187. [return]
23. Wilson, 1986, p.91. [return]
24. Rogers, 2008, p.18; de Wesselow, 2012, p.110. [return]
25. McCrone, W.C., 1999, "Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, p.141. [return]
26. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp.611-615, p.611. [return]
Posted: 20 October 2015. Updated: 29 October 2016.