© Stephen E. Jones
This is the October 2015 issue of my Shroud of Turin News. See the April 2015 issue for more information about this series. Following my editorial, I will add excerpts from Shroud-related October news articles to this post, latest uppermost, with the articles' words in bold to distinguish them from mine.
items of news about the Shroud in October were about this DNA study on the Shroud in the paper, Barcaccia, G., et al., 2015, "Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud," Nature, Scientific Reports 5, 5 October. I have started an in-depth commentary on that paper (see my posts "`Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud' #1" and #2, but I now have to interrupt that and comment on these news articles about that study, otherwise they will become stale. a burial cloth that's traditionally thought to have covered Jesus. Not only "traditionally" but the evidence, scientific, historical, artistic and Biblical, is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic! That is, it really does bear the image of Jesus' crucified and resurrected body! Previous analyses of the shroud have traced its origin to between 1260 and 1390 AD, This was the 1988 "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," but the evidence is that the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking! though the chemistry of the linen fibers and the production method used doesn't suggest such a medieval origin, the researchers note. On "the chemistry of the linen fibers" one of the footnotes is to a 2005 paper by Ray Rogers, in which the abstract stated, the "between A.D. 1260 and 1390" radiocarbon date of the Shroud "came as a surprise in view of the technology used to produce the cloth, its chemical composition, and the lack of vanillin in its lignin" which "prompted questions about the validity of the sample":
"In 1988, radiocarbon laboratories at Arizona, Cambridge, and Zurich determined the age of a sample from the Shroud of Turin. They reported that the date of the cloth’s production lay between A.D. 1260 and 1390 with 95% confidence. This came as a surprise in view of the technology used to produce the cloth, its chemical composition, and the lack of vanillin in its lignin. The results prompted questions about the validity of the sample. Preliminary estimates of the kinetics constants for the loss of vanillin from lignin indicate a much older age for the cloth than the radiocarbon analyses. The radiocarbon sampling area is uniquely coated with a yellow - brown plant gum containing dye lakes. Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud" (my emphasis)But, they add that some scholars say the shroud traveled from Jerusalem to Constantinople in 944 AD via Edessa, and from there to Athens and was later in France from 1353 to 1357 and then in Italy, where it's been since 1578. And as I point out in my "#1" post on the article:
"... 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 [when the backing was sewn on to the Shroud] 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 the team led by Università di Pavia's Antonio Torroni writes in Scientific Reports, they examined DNA obtained from dust vacuumed from the cloth, As previously mentioned, these "dust particles ... [were] vacuumed from the interspace between the Shroud and the Holland Cloth sewn to it" in 1534:
"In 1978 and 1988, dust particles were vacuumed from the interspace between the Shroud and the Holland Cloth sewn to it as reinforcement"This vacuuming was carried out by Turin microanalyst Prof. Giovanni Riggi (1935-2008):
"In 1978 ... Giovanni Riggi di Numana was authorized, among other things, to vacuum dust samples from the back of the Shroud, samples that have been widely used in the alternative dating methods ... A particular head attached to a vacuum cleaner has been inserted, facing the Shroud's cloth, in the interspace between the sheet and the reinforcement Holland cloth, thus in correspondence of not visible areas. So the machine has vacuumed up the powder contained in this interspace ... During the important analyses performed by STURP in 1978 and the cutting of the Shroud's fabric strip in 1988 further vacuum suctions were performed on the relic."finding DNA belonging to plants, The plant DNA was displayed on a graph superimposed over a map of each species' centre of origin. As
[Above: Extract from "Figure 1: Plant DNA species found on the Turin Shroud"]can be seen in this extract from that graph, DNA from plants (red) are found around Jerusalem and Constantinople and the edge of their distribution does not include Turin, let alone Chambéry and Lirey. And moreover, the red group includes the second and third most abundant species. The DNA of the yellow group species includes in its centre of origin, Constantinople, Sanliurfa (formerly Edessa) and Jerusalem, but does not include Europe. In particular, the "Plantain" (Plantago lanceolata), is "a native of Palestine":
"About 100 samples were amplified through this technique and it was possible to reconstruct the nucleotidic structure of about 60 of them, identifying 24 different plant species ... Many of the species detected, like clover (Trifolium repens and Trifolium fragiferum) and rye-grass (Lolium multiflorum), are widespread in the Mediterranean basin, including in the Palestine; others originate from Central Asia but spread up to the Middle East, like the pear tree (Pyrus) and the plum tree (Prunus). The latter two are related to the species Pyrus Cossonii, a tree native of Algeria, and Pyrus syriaca, a pear tree spread in Turkey and Syria. Even more interesting for the reconstruction of the historic journey of the Shroud of Turin is the English plantain (Plantago lanceolata), a native of Palestine. There are then other species, spread over vaster areas (including Europe), which attest the exposition of the Shroud in different geographical areas"but also to people representing a range of Western Eurasian mitochondrial haplotype groups. These are "differences in human mitochondrial DNA" which "represent the major branch points on the mitochondrial phylogenetic tree":
"In human genetics, a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup is a haplogroup defined by differences in human mitochondrial DNA. Haplogroups are used to represent the major branch points on the mitochondrial phylogenetic tree."The most abundant plant species the team identified belong to the genus Picea, which includes a number of species native to Europe like spruce trees. This is to be expected, since the spruce tree sheds its pollen in the Northern Spring (March, April and May), and the Shroud was exhibited in the open air in France and Italy every year for centuries on its feast day, 4th May, from 1495 in Chambéry and then in Turin from 1578:
"In 1958 Pope Pius XII declared that the Feast of the Holy Winding Sheet of Christ (now usually known as the Turin Shroud) was to be kept on the day before Ash Wednesday. ... History ... A Feast of the Holy Winding Sheet of Christ originated about 1495 at Chambéry, in Savoy, to honour the so-called sudario of Christ. It came there in 1432 from Lirey in Burgundy, and is the sheet venerated from 1578 in the royal chapel of the cathedral of Turin. This feast was celebrated on 4 May ... and was approved in 1506 by Pope Julius II; it was kept in Savoy, Piedmont, and Sardinia as the patronal feast of the royal House of Savoy ..." And before that, the Shroud was publicly exhibited in the open air every Easter for ~19 years by Marguerite de Charny (c. 1390–1460) on the banks of the River Doubs at St Hippolyte in far Eastern France:
"1418 6 July. Because of security risks arising from the wars with England, the Shroud is moved from Lirey to the castle of Montfort, owned by Margaret de Charny's second husband, Humbert, Count de la Roche. A few years later it is moved to St Hippolyte sur Doubs, in Alsace-Lorraine, close to Switzerland. While at St Hippolyte sur Doubs public showings of the Shroud are staged each Easter Sunday in a meadow on the banks of the river Doubs."They also identified DNA from plants native to the Mediterranean basin, but also DNA from some New World plants. The DNA from some New World (i.e. the Americas) plants are explained in the study as "introduced in a historical interval later than the Medieval period", although the listing of them in Fanti & Malfi, 2015, pp.404-405 shows that they were also present in Africa and Asia. And again, the Mediterranean Basin does not include Turin, let alone Chambéry or Lirey. So the plant DNA found in the interspace between the underside of the Shroud and its Holland cloth backing which (as previously mentioned) was sewn on in 1534 and only partially opened by STURP in 1978, inside Turin Cathedral, cannot be plausibly explained as having been deposited on the Shroud in the ~274 years between its claimed earliest possible radiocarbon date of 1260 and 1534 (let alone the ~209 years between 1325, the date claimed by anti-authenticists as the date of the Shroud, and 1354), when the Shroud was then entirely in northern and eastern France. And according to the lead author of study, University of Padua plant geneticist, Prof. Gianni Barcaccia, "the importance of the DNA analysis lies in the great diversity of the species identified, which is atypical" and is "an indication that the Shroud was displayed in very different areas":
"The Shroud was moved to Saint Hippolyte .... Each year the Shroud was displayed in a field called `The Lord’s Field' on the banks of the river Doubs. ... The Shroud had stayed in St Hippolyte for 34 yrs. [sic. from 1418-37 = ~19 years]"
"In agreement with Professor Barcaccia, the importance of the DNA analysis lies in the great diversity of the species identified, which is atypical if compared with similar studies that always present a much reduced number of species. They can be related to Asian, African, and European areas. This is an indication that the Shroud was displayed in very different areas ranging from cultivated plains to mountainous areas, from arid to more myths [sic moist?] environments."Again, this only to be expected if "the shroud traveled from Jerusalem to Constantinople in 944 AD via Edessa, and from there to Athens and was later in France from 1353 ..." (see above). But it is definitely not to be expected, if according to the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, "the year the flax had been harvested that formed its linen threads was 1350 AD" (or even 1260 AD), "from the time its historic record began" in c. 1355:
"Based on these 10 one minute runs, with the calibration correction applied, the year the flax had been harvested that formed its linen threads was 1350 AD-the shroud was only 640 years old! It was certainly not Christ's burial cloth but dated from the time its historic record began."So again, this is yet more evidence that the 1260-1390 radiocarbon date of the Turin Shroud was the result of a computer hacking!
In addition, Torroni and his colleagues identified mitochondrial DNA that belonged to numerous individuals - some six subgroups of haplotype H were present as well as representatives from haplogroups U2, U5, R0a, R7, R8, L3c, M39, and M56. As with the plant DNA, this wide diversity of human mtDNA in the interspace between the underside of the Shroud and its
[Above: Extracts from "Figure 2: Human mtDNA haplogroups found on the Turin Shroud."]
Holland cloth backing, which (again) was sewn on in 1534 in Chambéry, France, and only partially opened in 1978 and 1988 inside Turin Cathedral, is consistent with the Shroud having had at least ~15 centuries history up to 1534, including Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Greece and France. But it is inconsistent with the Shroud having had only a ~2-3 centuries history, in France only, from 1260 up to 1534, as the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud claimed:
"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 ..."
Haplogroup H1, the researchers note, is common among Western Europeans, while haplogroup U2 is mostly found in South Asians, though a subgroup of that haplogroup is present in about 1 percent of Europeans, and haplogroup R0a is mostly found among people from the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. As can be seen in Figure 2 above, like the plant DNA, there is a wide variety of human mtDNA haplogroups on the Shroud. Only H1, H3, H4 and U5 are fully consistent with the Shroud having had a ~2-3 century history in France alone (as the 1988 radiocarbon dating of 1260-1390 claimed-see above), yet they occur with the lowest frequency. The remainder of the haplogroups are consistent with the Shroud having had at least a ~19 centuries history up to 1534, including Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Greece and France. Indeed, as can be seen in the lower extract of Figure 2, the high frequency mtDNA haplogroups, H13 and H33 have a centre of origin including Jerusalem, Sanliurfa (Edessa) and Constantinople. Of medium frequency is R0a which also includes Jerusalem and Sanliurfa. The highest frequency mtDNA haplogroups are M56, R8 and U2, as well as the medium frequency M39, the centre of origin of which includes India. The high frequency of these latter four mtDNA haplogroups suggests that the flax and/or the linen was manufactured in India, and indeed Barcaccia, et al. point out that the word "Sindon" derives from "Sindia or Sindien, a fabric coming from India." It is no problem for the authenticity of the Shroud if its flax or linen came from India, but there would be a problem for the anti-authenticity alternative because there is no record, and it would seem highly unlikely (to put it mildly) that Indians in any great numbers (indeed any at all) had access to the Shroud in the period 1260-1534, when the Shroud was in France. The Shroud was in the 13-16th centuries, as it is today, displayed but not allowed to be touched by the public.
"With regard to the sources of human DNA, the detected haplotypes do not cluster randomly on the entire human mtDNA tree, but only on a specific subset of its branches, corresponding to numerous haplogroups from Western Eurasia and surrounding areas ... This finding not only indicates that many individuals have left traces of their DNA on the TS, but also that they most likely belonged to different ethnic groups and were from far away geographic regions, including Europe, North and East Africa, the Middle East and India. Thus, the sources of these sequences fit well the geographic path of the postulated long journey from the Near East, even if they are also fully compatible with the scenario that among the perhaps thousands of worshippers who came into contact with the relic in France and Italy throughout the centuries, there were many coming from the far away geographic areas where these mtDNA haplogroups are common."They clearly favour the first, pro-authenticist, scenario, in which "the sources of these sequences fit well the geographic path of the postulated long journey from the Near East." And as for the second, anti-authenticist, scenario, far from it being "fully compatible" with the DNA and historical evidence, it has the following major (if not fatal) problems:
• This second anti-authenticist scenario is inconsistent with the plant DNA evidence (above).
• This plant and human DNA came from the interspace between the underside of the Shroud and its former Holland cloth backing which (again) was sewn on in 1534, meaning that "worshippers ... throughout the centuries" after that could not leave their DNA in that sealed interspace.
• The second, anti-authenticist scenario, does not have that many "centuries" if it wishes to remain consistent with the 1988 radiocarbon dating of 1260-1390. Then at most it would have less than three centuries, the 274 years between 1260 and 1534, and indeed less than two centuries, the 179 years from 1355 (when the Shroud was first publicly displayed in Europe at Lirey, France) and 1534.
• It is highly unlikely that among the "thousands of worshippers who came into contact with the relic in France and Italy" before 1534, there were many (if any) "from far away geographic regions, including Europe, North and East Africa, the Middle East and India." Europe was in a almost continuous state of war in those centuries, and the idea that "thousands of worshippers" from "North and East Africa, the Middle East and India" would be allowed to pass through numerous borders of countries at war, to attend Shroud exhibitions (assuming that they would even know about them), is both ahistorical and unrealistic. It may be genetically possible, but it is historically highly implausible.
• There is no evidence for, and much evidence against, that there were "thousands of worshippers who came into contact with the relic in France and Italy" before 1534 (or even after it), close enough to the Shroud to leave their DNA on it (especially its underside). All the depictions of public Shroud exhibitions in those centuries, show the Shroud being held by bishops on a high platform, well above the "thousands of worshippers" (see below). The Shroud would have been
torn to pieces if it was allowed to be handled by those "thousands of worshippers," which it would have to have been for them to leave their DNA on it.
• If it were the case, that "thousands of worshippers who came into contact with the relic in France and Italy," left their DNA on the Shroud, then the European-only haplogroups H1, H3, H4 and U2 would have the highest frequency, not among the lowest, since the vast majority of those "worshippers" (not to mention the Shroud's de Charny and Savoy owners and its ecclesiastical custodians) were Europeans.
The pro-authenticist scenario does not have those problems, because "in the ... faraway past," (i.e. the first through fourth centuries) "thousands of worshippers ... from ... geographic regions, including ... Africa, the Middle East and India" in small Christian congregations, could "have touched, kissed, or come in contact with the Shroud ...":
"More accurate analyses in the process of development could, in the near future, be more precise and give us specific data concerning those people who in the past - even in a faraway past - have touched, kissed, or come in contact with the Shroud ..."So this DNA on the Shroud is is yet another item in the already overwhelming evidence that the Turin Shroud is authentic!
I have decided to end this October 2015 issue of my Shroud of Turin News and continue my analysis and comments on the news articles about this DNA study on the Shroud, in a series: "Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud: News articles." I may then (if it is still worthwhile) continue my series, "Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud" #1 and #2, with part #3 of my analysis of the study itself.
Editorial. Rex Morgan's Shroud News My scanning and word- processing of issues of Rex Morgan's Shroud News and emailing them to Barrie Schwortz, for him to convert to PDF and eventually put online on his Shroud News archive, continued in October up to issue #30, August 1985. [Right (enlarge)]. It is now up to issue #28 on that archive. Topic index. In my Topic Index, my rate of indexing my old posts has continued to be slow under other pressures, and I am still only up to and including my post of 15 January 2012. In October I blogged 9 posts: "`Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud' #2," "Yarn #7: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!," "Were crowned with thorns #5: Bible and the Shroud: Jesus and the man on the Shroud: Shroud of Turin quotes," "`Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud' #1," "Shroud of Turin News - September 2015," "Were scourged #4: Jesus and the man on the Shroud: Bible and the Shroud: Shroud of Turin quotes," "Jesus and the man on the Shroud #3: Shroud of Turin quotes," "Bible and the Shroud #2: Shroud of Turin quotes," and "Main index #1: Shroud of Turin quotes." Most pageviews. Google Analytics lists as my blog's pages most viewed for the month to date: "The Shroud of Turin: 3. The Bible and the Shroud," June 9, 2013-153; "Re: Shroud blood ... types as AB ... aged blood always types as AB, so the significance of this ... is unclear," Mar 18, 2011-138; "The Pray Manuscript," Jan 11, 2010-111; "Old blood does not always degenerate to type AB, so the Shroud of Turin's and the Sudarium of Oviedo's AB blood group is significant!," Jul 14, 2012-158; "`Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud' #1," Oct 18, 2015-75; "Wasn't Jesus' body washed before putting it in the grave?," Sep 30, 2015 - 80. Comments I deleted two comments in October that I considered sub- standard, as per my longstanding stated policies (see lower right):
"Comments are moderated. Those I consider off-topic, offensive or sub-standard will not appear. Except that comments under my latest post can be on any Shroud-related topic without being off-topic. I reserve the right to respond to any comment as a separate blog post."The first commenter told me to change my language in a post. I reviewed what I wrote and I could see nothing wrong with it. If a reader doesn't like what I write, he/she doesn't have to read my blog. The second deleted comment was just a bare assertion. If a commenter wants to dispute one of my posts, that's OK, but he/she needs to state his/her reasons. [top]
1. This post is copyright. Permission is granted to extract or quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided the extract or quote includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this post. [return]
2. "Shroud Of Turin DNA Indicates Global Origins," Whatevvervideos, October 20, 2015 [no longer online]. [return]
3. Rogers, R.N., 2005, "Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the Shroud of Turin," Thermochimica Acta, 425, pp.189 - 194. [return]
4. Barcaccia, G., et al., 2015, "Uncovering the sources of DNA found on the Turin Shroud," Nature, Scientific Reports 5, Article no. 14484, 5 October. [return]
5. Fanti, G. & Malfi, P., 2015, "The Shroud of Turin: First Century after Christ!," Pan Stanford: Singapore, p.179. [return]
6. Fanti & Malfi, 2015, pp.298-299. [return]
7. "Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup," Wikipedia, 1 September 2015. [return]
8. "Feast of the Holy Winding Sheet of Christ," Wikipedia, 28 June 2015. [return]
9. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.303. [return]
10. Duncan, H., 2006, "The Turin Shroud in a 15th century Fresco in St Hippolyte," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 63, June. [return]
11. Barcaccia, et al., 2015. [return]
12. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.141. [return]
13. McCrone, W.C., 1999, "Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, pp.xxiii, xx, 247; Schafersman, S.D., 1998, "Unraveling the Shroud of Turin," Approfondimento Sindone, Vol. 2; Dutton, D., 2005, "Postscript: Requiem for the Shroud of Turin," Michigan Quarterly Review 23, 1984, pp.243-55. [return]
14. Fanti & Malfi, 2015, p.299. [return]
15. Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," Institute of Physics Publishing: Bristol UK, p.264. [return]
16. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp.611-615, p.611. [return]
17. Barcaccia, et al., 2015. [return]
18. Freeman, C., 2014, "The Origins of the Shroud of Turin," History Today, Vol. 64, Issue 11, 24 October. [return]
19. Fanti & Malfi, 2015, p.301. [return]
Posted: 10 November 2015. Updated: 30 January 2017.