Saturday, September 17, 2022

Prehistory of the Shroud (701-1354). Turin Shroud Encyclopedia

Turin Shroud Encyclopedia
Copyright © Stephen E. Jones

Prehistory of the Shroud #17

This is the fourteenth installment of "Prehistory of the Shroud (701-1354)," part #17 of my Turin Shroud Encyclopedia. See also 24Jul16. For more information about this series, see part #1 and part #2. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.

[Index #1] [Previous: Prehistory of the Shroud (AD 29-700) #16] [Next: History of the Shroud (1355-) #18]

Eighth century (701-800)

c. 710 Estimated completion during the reign of Justinian II (685-695, 705-711) of the eighth century Christ Pantocrator fresco[WS00, 110]

[Above (enlarge)[24Feb17a]: Bust of Christ Pantocrator from the Catacomb of Pontianus, Rome[CPW]. Note in particular the Vignon marking on this 8th century fresco[WI86, 105; SD91, 189, 191; IJ98, 152]: "(2) three-sided [topless] `square' between brows" [WI78, 82e]. See 25Jul07, 29Jul08, 11Feb12, 22Sep12, 14Apr14, 09Nov15, 15Feb16, ...]

in the style of Byzantine iconography[WI79, 102], found in the depths of the Catacomb of Pontianus, Rome[WI86, 105-106; SD91, 189], which had been closed since 820[WI79, 102].

But as can be seen below, this "topless square" is merely a flaw or change in the weave of the Shroud[SD91, 185; WI91, 166], which runs all the way down the cloth (see 22Sep12), and explains its "starkly

[Above (enlarge): Extract from ShroudScope "Face only Vertical" Shroud photograph showing outlined in red the `three sided' or `topless square' Vignon Marking no. 2, superimposed on the above 8th century bust of Christ in the Catacomb of Pontianus, Rome: ShroudScope and Wikipedia.]

geometrical" shape[WI86, 105; WI98, 159; WI10, 142]. Other Byzantine portraits of Christ which have the same `topless square' marking include the eleventh-century Daphni Pantocrator, the tenth-century Sant'Angelo in Formis fresco, the tenth-century Hagia Sophia narthex mosaic, and an eleventh-century portable mosaic in Berlin[WI79, 104]. And since this catacomb had been closed in 820 (see above) and only opened in 1619, a 14th century forger could not have known of the Vignon markings on this Pontianus fresco[WI91, 167, 169].

That the Shroud, as the Image of Edessa "doubled in four" (tetradiplon), is the original of which this early eighth century Byzantine icon was a copy, is evident in that it has at least eight[MR86, 77], and by my count eleven Vignon markings [18Mar12, 22Sep12 & 27Apr14]!

730 St. St John of Damascus (c.675–749), aka St John Damascene, in his De Imaginibus (On

[Left (enlarge)[24Feb17b]: A "himation was with the ancient Greeks ... a loose robe ... worn over [clothes] ... alike for both sexes"[HMW].]

Images), writing in defence of images at the outset of the Iconoclastic Controversy[OM10, 26, 30], mentioned "sindons" ("shrouds") among the relics of the Passion to be venerated on account of their connection with Jesus[BP28, 146; BA34, 52; AF82, 17; CN84, 16]. That John was referring to the Edessa Cloth/ Shroud is evident in that he cited the Abgar V legend [see "50"] in support of its significance as an image[OM10, 26.]. John also referred to the Edessa image as a "himation" (see above), a Greek outer garment [see imation in the following verses: Mt 5:40; 9:20-21; 14:36; Mk 5:27-30; Jn 19:2; Ac 12:8][ZS92, 773-774] about two yards (183 cms) wide by three yards (274 cms) long[DR84, 39; IJ98, 110; WI98, 152, 266; AM00, 132; WI10, 153; DT12, 186], which means that the full length size of the Eddessa Cloth/Shroud was known in the early 8th century[OM10, 27, 36]! Finally John referred to the Edessa Image as "the miraculously imprinted image" that it "has been preserved up to the present time"[DR84, 62].

754 A copy of the Image of Edessa/Shroud called the Acheropita, a

[Right (enlarge)[24Feb17c]: "The Acheropita 'holy face' that for at least twelve hundred years has been preserved in Rome's Sancta Sanctorum chapel, originally the popes' private chapel before papal residence shifted to the Vatican. The icon's cover is thirteenth-century, and its 'face' a crude over-painting, but beneath lies an intriguing though near totally-effaced original that dates at least as far back as AD 754"[WI91, 46C]. Note that the head is centred in landscape aspect, exactly as it is on the Shroud[WI79, 120; WI91, 141; WI98, 152; WS00, 111; WI10, 140] and the icon's proportions appear close to the Shroud's 4:1.]

Latinization of acheiropoietos[WI91, 143]("not made with hands" - Mk 14:58; 2Cor 5:1; Col 2:11) was in the Sancta Sanctorum Chapel of the Vatican's Lateran Palace by at least 754[WI91, 162]. That is because when Rome was threatened by the Lombards after their capture of Ravenna in 751, Pope Stephen II (r. 752-757) in 754 personally carried this Acheropita barefoot at the head of a huge procession in Rome, praying for this icon to be instrumental in the deliverance of their city[WI79, 144]. Yet it is probably much earlier than that, being reliably regarded as having been brought to Rome in the last years of the sixth century by Pope Gregory I the Great (r. 590-604)[WI91, 143]. Before he became Pope, Gregory had been the papal legate in Constantinople at the court of the Byzantine Emperor Tiberius II (r. 574-582), when interest in acheiropoietic images, after the discovery of the Image of Edessa in 544[WI91, 140] [see "544"], was at its peak in Constantinople[WI91, 143]. Tiberius II's throne had a majestic image of Christ, since destroyed, derived from the Image of Edessa, which had been set there by his predecessor, Justin II (r. 565-574)[WI91, 143]. It is therefore very likely that this Acheropita icon now in the Sancta Sanctorum Chapel in Gregory's Lateran Palace in Rome, was specially commissioned by Gregory before 590 for him to take back to Rome[WI91, 144]!

769 [24Feb17d] In his Good Friday sermon delivered in Rome at the Lateran Council of 769[IJ98, 110; SD02, OM10, 27], Pope Stephen III (r. 768–772), opposing the Iconoclast movement[SD89a, 318], spoke in favor of the use of sacred images[GV01, 4; SD02]. In that sermon, Stephen referred to the Abgar V legend [see again "50"] mentioning the Edessa towel with its miraculous facial image[SD89a, 318]. Stephen quoted Jesus' supposed response to Abgar's request for a cure:

"Since you wish to look upon my physical face, I am sending you a likeness of my face on a cloth ..."[SD89a, 318]
And as we shall see in a twelfth century updated version of Stephen's 769 sermon [see "pre-1130"[WI98, 270], a copyist had interpolated a reference to Jesus' "whole body" being visible on the Edessa cloth, reflecting the later discovery in Constantinople that Jesus' body was imprinted on the Edessa Cloth/Shroud, not just His face[WR77, 94; SD89a, 88.

787 [24Feb17e] The Iconoclasm of the Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (r. 717–741), was continued by his son Constantine V Coproymos (741–775)[CD82, 27], and grandson Leo IV the Khazar (r. 775–780)[OM10, 30]. It was only after the death of Leo IV that the first period of iconoclasm was brought to an end in 787 by the Second Council of Nicaea[OM10, 30], the last of the first seven ecumenical councils of the whole Christian church, both East and West[SCN]. The Council debated the veneration of holy images[FM15, 54] and in particular about the Image of Edessa not having been produced by the hand of man[FM15, 54]. A different Leo, the Lector (Reader) of Constantinople's Hagia Sophia Cathedral, reported to the Council that he had visited Edessa and seen there "the holy image made without hands and adored by the faithful"[WI98, 267; OM10, 27, 30; WI10, 154]. The Council endorsed the veneration of images[GV01, 4], and in particular the Image of Edessa, the "one `not made by human hands' [acheiropoieton] that was sent to Abgar"[IJ98, 111; GV01, 4; OM10, 30]. It was the main argument used by the bishops to defend the legitimacy of the use of sacred images[GV01, 4] and to which the iconoclast bishops had no reply[GM69].

c. 820 Stuttgart Psalter (see below), presumably painted by a

[Above (enlarge)[25Mar17a]: Extract from folio 43v of the 9th century (c. 820) Stuttgart Psalter.]

Byzantine artist during the Carolingian period (780-900), in the Aachen, Germany capital of Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (r. 800–814)[SPW]. Jesus is depicted fully naked from the back, being scourged with realistic bleeding scourge marks, realistically by two scourgers (as was discovered in the 20th century using the modern science of goniometry)[15Jul13], wielding two realistic three-thonged Roman flagrums[see below].

[Above (enlarge): Close-up of the left scourger's, three-thonged, metal ball tipped, Roman flagrum in folio 43v of the 9th century (c. 820) Stuttgart Psalter. Compare its historical accuracy with the flagrum at 27Dec21, which is a copy of one excavated in the 18th century from the Roman city of Herculaneum, which had been buried in the AD 79 eruption of Mt Vesuvius.]

Moreover, as pointed out by a cryptologist, Max Patrick Hamon, on Dan Porter's blog [see 21Oct13], the two scourgers' fingers closely match the shape of the `reversed 3' or Greek letter epsilon shaped bloodflow on the Shroudman's forehead (see 30Dec19 and below):

"And last but not least, by means of a very curious tailed-Epsilon hand sign each time, the executioner on the left seem to point with his left hand index finger to his own head while the executioner on the right does point to Christ’s head with his left hand index finger too. Both left hand signs cryptically echoe [sic] the tailed-Epsilon-shaped like small blood rivulet we can observe on TS man’s forehead, just above his left eyebrow."

[Above (enlarge): Fingers of the scourger on the left of Jesus on the Stuttgart Psalter (left); the reversed 3 bloodstain on the Shroud horizontally flipped (because the scourgers' fingers are at the back of Jesus but the reversed 3 bloodstain is at the man on the Shroud's front) (centre); and the fingers of the scourger on the right of Jesus on the Stuttgart Psalter (right). As can be seen there is a close match between the shape of reversed 3 bloodstain on the Shroud and the fingers of the scourger on the right.]

So this unknown c. 820 artist must therefore have seen and studied up close the full-length Shroud, which was then in Edessa [see "544" and "944"]! Or as Hamon put it:

"... the bloodied body burial cloth now kept in Turin was already in existence early in the 9th CE. The Stuggart Psalter miniature Shroudlike Christ does predate the radiocarbon date [1260-1390 or 1325 ± 65] by no less than half-a-millennium [510-515 years]"!
And evidently by the 9th century, Edessan clergy were aware that behind the face-only Image of Edessa was the full-length Shroud!

842 [25Mar17b] The second iconoclast period (814–843) ended with the death of Emperor Theophilos (r. 829–842) in 842 and his two year-old son Michael III (r.842-867) succeeding him[MTW]. During Michael III's minority the Empire was governed by his mother, the Empress Theodora (r.842-855) [TEW], as his regent[MTW]. Theodora

[Above (enlarge)[MTB]: Solidus coin issued by Empress Theodora in 843, showing on the obverse (left) the face of Christ with Shroud-like "Vignon markings" features[PM96, 194] and on the reverse (right) Michael III and Theodora, indicating her regency during her son's minority.]

was an iconodule[TEW] and in 843 she reintroduced the minting of coins bearing the face of Christ, with Shroud-like features (above)[PM96, 194; FM15, 116-117].

943 [13May17a]. In the Spring (March-May) of 943, Byzantine usurper Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos (r. 920–944)[WI79, 255; WI98, 267; OM10, 31] sends an army led by his best general, John Kourkouas (fl. 915–946)[WI79, 148; WI98, 148], to Edessa to negotiate with its Muslim emir ruler for possession of the Edessa cloth[SD89a, 84; OM10, 31], to add to his collection of Christian relics[MR80, 36; SD89a, 84; DW99, 4]. In exchange for the Cloth, Kourkouas offered on behalf of the Emperor, a guarantee of perpetual immunity of Edessa from Byzantine attack, 12,000 pieces of silver and the release of 200 Muslim prisoners[MR80, 36; WI98, 267-268; AM00, 130; GV01, 4-5; TF06, 24; WI10, 300].

944a After lengthy consultations with his superiors in Baghdad[WI98, 148; AM00, 130; TF06, 24; OM10, 31; WI98, 158], in the Summer (June-August) of 944[WI79, 255; TF06, 24], Edessa's emir accepts Kourkouas' terms and Bishop Abraham of nearby Samosata[WI79, 149, 255; AM00, 130; TF06, 24; OM10, 32; WI10, 159], enters Edessa to receive the cloth, and despite the resistance of Edessa's Christians[WI79, 149-150, 255; OM10, 32; WI10, 159-160], he is

[Above (enlarge)[SMW]: "The surrender of the Holy Mandylion" (the Image of Edessa), one of 574 miniatures, which may be copies of earlier Byzantine images, in the 12th Century "Madrid Skylitzes," which was based on the Synopsis of Histories by John Skylitzes (c. 1040s – aft. 1101)[JSW]. The persons on the left are wearing turbans and the buildings on their side have no Christian crosses, hence they are Muslims. The buildings on the right have Christian crosses, which means that the artist depicted both the Image being handed over by muslims in Edessa and its arrival in Christian Constantinople. Note that behind the face-only Image of Edessa is depicted the full-length Shroud! So by at least the 12th century the Image of Edessa/Mandylion was known to be the full-length Shroud[SD91, 193-194; TF06, xxvii]!]

satisfied that he has the original, as well as two copies of the Image[19] and Abgar V's letter from Jesus (see "50" and 08Jan19)[20]. After a short stay in Samosata[21], the bishop travels with the Image, escorted by Curcuas' army[22] across Anatolia back to Constantinople[23].

To be continued in the fifteenth installment of this post.

AF82. Adams, F.O., 1982, "Sindon: A Layman's Guide to the Shroud of Turin," Synergy Books: Tempe AZ.
AM00. Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY.
BA34. Barnes, A.S., 1934, "The Holy Shroud of Turin," Burns Oates & Washbourne: London.
BP28. Beecher, P.A., 1928, "The Holy Shroud: Reply to the Rev. Herbert Thurston, S.J.," M.H. Gill & Son: Dublin.
CD82. Crispino, D.C., 1982, "The `Crucifixion' of Santa Maria Antiqua," Shroud Spectrum International, No. 5, December, 22-29.
CN84. Currer-Briggs, N., 1984, "The Holy Grail and the Shroud of Christ: The Quest Renewed," ARA Publications: Maulden UK.
CPW. "Catacomba di Ponziano," Google Translate, Wikipedia, 16 July 2022.
DR84. Drews, R., 1984, "In Search of the Shroud of Turin: New Light on Its History and Origins," Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham MD.
DT12. de Wesselow, T., 2012, "The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection," Viking: London.
DW99. Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U. & Whanger, M., 1999, "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO.
FM15. Fanti, G. & Malfi, P., 2015, "The Shroud of Turin: First Century after Christ!," Pan Stanford: Singapore.
GM69. Green, M., 1969, "Enshrouded in Silence: In search of the First Millennium of the Holy Shroud," Ampleforth Journal, Vol. 74, No. 3, Autumn, 319-345.
GV01. Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL.
HMW. "Himation," Wikipedia (Danish), 30 November 2014.
IJ98. Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY.
JSW. "John Skylitzes," Wikipedia, 12 July 2022.
MR80. Morgan, R.H., 1980, "Perpetual Miracle: Secrets of the Holy Shroud of Turin by an Eye Witness," Runciman Press: Manly NSW, Australia.
MR86. Maher, R.W., 1986, "Science, History, and the Shroud of Turin," Vantage Press: New York NY.
MTW. "Michael III," Wikipedia, 28 September 2022.
OM10. Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK.
MTB. "Michael III - Byzantine Coinage," SB 1687,, October 25, 2016 (no longer online).
PM96. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta; Fanti, G. & Malfi, P., 2015, "The Shroud of Turin: First Century after Christ!," Pan Stanford: Singapore, pp.116-117.
SCN. "Second Council of Nicaea," Wikipedia, 5 September 2022.
SMW. "File:Surrender of the Mandylion to the Byzantines.jpg," Wikimedia Commons, 25 February 2021.
SPW. "Stuttgart Psalter," Wikipedia, 29 January 20212.
SD89a. Scavone, D.C., 1989, "The Shroud of Turin: Opposing Viewpoints," Greenhaven Press: San Diego CA.
SD89b. Scavone, D., "The Shroud of Turin in Constantinople: The Documentary Evidence," in Sutton, R.F., Jr., 1989, "Daidalikon: Studies in Memory of Raymond V Schoder," Bolchazy Carducci Publishers: Wauconda IL, 311-329.
SD91. Scavone, D.C., "The History of the Turin Shroud to the 14th C.," in Berard, A., ed., 1991, "History, Science, Theology and the Shroud," Symposium Proceedings, St. Louis Missouri, June 22-23, 1991, The Man in the Shroud Committee of Amarillo, Texas: Amarillo TX, 171-204.
SD02. Scavone, D.C., 2002, "Joseph of Arimathea, The Holy Grail & the Edessa Icon," BSTS Newsletter, No. 56, December.
TEW. "Theodora (empress)," Wikipedia, 29 September 2022.
TF06. Tribbe, F.C., 2006, "Portrait of Jesus: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin," Paragon House Publishers: St. Paul MN, Second edition.
WI78. Wilson, I., 1978, "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London.
WI79. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," [1978], Image Books: New York NY, Revised.
WI91. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London.
WI86. Wilson, I., 1986, "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London.
WI98. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY.
WI10. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, 142.
WR77. Wilcox, R.K., 1977, "Shroud," Macmillan: New York NY.
WS00. Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London.
ZS92. Zodhiates, S., 1992, "The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament," AMG Publishers: Chattanooga TN, Third printing, 1994.
19. Wilson, 1979, p.255; Antonacci, 2000, p.130; Tribbe, 2006, pp.24, 39.
20. Wilson, 1979, pp.286-287; Oxley, 2010, p.32; Wilson, 2010, pp.159-160.
21. Wilson, 1979, p.255; Tribbe, 2006, p.24.
22. Wilson, 1998, p.148; Wilson, 2010, p.159.
23. Wilson, 1979, pp.149, 255; Tribbe, 2006, pp.24, 39; Oxley, 2010, p.32; Wilson, 2010, p.159.

Posted 17 September 2022. Updated 3 October 2022.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

2. A Linen Cloth #4: Shroud of Turin quotes

Shroud of Turin quotes
2. A Linen Cloth #4

Copyright © Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is "2. A Linen Cloth," part #4 of my Shroud of Turin quotes series. See the Main Index #1 for information about this series.

[Index] [Previous: 1. What is the Turin Shroud? #3] [Next: 3. The man on the Shroud #5]

  1. A linen cloth
    1. Linen
The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth of herringbone weave. It is

[Right (enlarge): "The Holy Shroud" by Giovanni Battista della Rovere (1561-1627)[06Aug07]. "A seventeenth-century painting, by Giovanni Battista Della Rovere, shows the way in which the Shroud must have been wrapped lengthwise, under, over and around; this explains the position of the images on the Shroud: the dead body that left the two impressions was laid out on one-half of the Shroud, which was then folded over the head and stretched down to the feet"[PM96, 164].]

approximately 14 feet long and 3 feet wide; it bears the anatomically correct image of a crucified man. The Man of the Shroud was about 5 feet 7 inches [sic] tall; he had a beard and wore long hair gathered in a pigtail at the neck [sic]. He must have been laid on one end of the cloth with the remainder drawn up over his head and across his body to his feet because the Shroud bears his image as seen from the front and from the back (see the painting by Clovio [sic G.B. della Rovere-see above]). A pattern of dumbbell-shaped marks on his back suggest he was scourged with an instrument that could have been a Roman flagra. What appear to be blood spots ring his forehead: a wound on his right side is a sign he was pierced by a lance"[CB78, 235]
"The Shroud of Turin ... is a long strip [sic] of cloth; of which the most commonly agreed upon measurements are fourteen feet, three inches long, and three feet, seven inches wide ... Although the cloth is creased and yellowed, it is still supple and, for the most part, well preserved. It is made of pure linen, woven in a herringbone pattern in what is referred to as a three-to- one twill-that is, the weft, or horizontal, thread passes alternately over three and under one of the warp, or vertical, threads ... According to Virginio Timossi, the textile expert who examined it in 1931, the Shroud bears many signs of primitive manufacture, including irregularities in the pattern and imperfections in the weave. These observations have been confirmed by Professor Silvio Curto, superintendent of the Museum of Egyptology in Turin, who was a member of the commission that examined the Shroud in 1973. Professor G. Raes, director of the Gand Institute of Textile Technology in Ghent, Belgium, examined several samples excised from the Shroud ... He, too, concluded that the linen was made in ancient times. Laboratory tests conducted by Professor Raes showed traces of cotton fiber, indicating that the linen Throud was woven on a loom that also had been used for weaving cotton [No. Because there is no cotton in the sidestrip [see below], yet the sidestrip and main body of the Shroud were part of a larger cloth which was woven on an extra-wide loom [see future below], the cotton was part of a medieval repair (see future "Science and the Shroud").] The cotton fibers are of a type textile authorities call Herbaceum, which was commonly used in the Middle East during the time of Christ"[HT78, 34-35].
"THE SHROUD OF TURIN is a linen cloth, fourteen feet long and three and a half feet wide. The threads were handspun and the fabric hand-woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill. On the long fabric are two faint, straw-colored images, one of the front and the other of the back of a nude man who was apparently scourged and crucified, with the hands crossed over the pelvis. The images appear head to head, as though a body had been laid on its back at one end of the fabric, which was then drawn over to cover the front of the body"[HJ83].
"Physically, the Shroud is a remarkably well-preserved oblong piece of linen cloth 14'3" long (4.36 meters) and 3'7" wide (1.1 meters), weighing approximately 5 ½ lbs. (2.45 kgs. The linen fibers are woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill with a Z-twist and consist of a fairly heavy yarn (34/100 of a millimeter thick) of Near Eastern or Mediterranean basin flax. Down the left side of the Shroud is a border approximately 3½ inches wide (8 centimeters from the edge) running the full length of the linen cloth. Once thought to be a side-strip sewn onto the main cloth, it has now been determined to be a selvedge [this confuses the sidestrip with the selvedge, which are two different parts of the Shroud], that is, a piece of cloth woven into the main cloth so that it will not unravel. It is done in such a manner as to require no hem[IJ98, 1-2].
"Another deduction that Raes was able to make from his samples was that the linen is undoubtedly fine ... By counting the number of threads to the centimetre on his samples, Raes found these to average of 38.6 warpways and 25.7 weftways, a sure indicator of the use of a very fine thread. This again provides no threat to authenticity, it being well recognised that antiquity's weavers could produce fabrics readily rivalling those of the present day for fineness. One cloth from 3600 BC, for instance, is half again as fine as the Shroud"[WI98, 70].
"The Shroud of Turin, the traditional burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, is made of fine linen measuring 4.35 m long by 1.1 m wide. It bears the full-length front and back images of a crucified man and many other less-conspicuous images on the imaged body itself and on both sides of the linen shroud extending to its edges"[DA99, 3].
"The Shroud of Turin is a large linen cloth imbued with a mysterious image of a tortured, crucified man. According to tradition, it was used, along with other cloths, to wrap the dead body of Jesus, and its image, so believers say, is a miraculous imprint of the crucified Lord"[DT12, 12].
"Josephus tells us that, by tradition, the Jewish high priest wore a blue tunic made without any seam[Antiq III.7.1-4]. This may relate to the coats `woven of fine linen' made for Aaron and his sons, the priestly line, in Exodus 39.27. The Shroud's herringbone weave is exceptionally fine, and, given the link with the Masada textiles, it could well represent the sort of linen produced in first-century Jerusalem for the Temple priests"[DT12, 110].

  1. Cotton
"The presence of cotton fibres in the weave is considered by experts to be conclusive in ruling out a European provenance for the fabric of the Shroud, since cotton was not grown or used in Europe in any possible epoch of the manufacture of this cloth. But it is entirely consonant with a Palestinian provenance, as the fibres are of the Gossypium Herbaceum variety which is cultivated in the Middle East. The total absence of wool in the Shroud's composition is instructive to anyone versed in the Mosaic Law with its prohibition of textile mixture, for Leviticus 19:19 commands: `Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.' The presence of even one wool fibre would have excluded this cloth from ever having been a Jewish burial shroud"[MP78, 22]."Setting up fibers from various portions of his samples under the microscope, then viewing them under polarized lights for the best possible contrast, Raes was able to satisfy himself beyond doubt that the substance of both the Shroud itself and its side strip is linen. In his own words "the X- and V-shaped structures examined are very typical and leave absolutely no doubt about the raw material." 8 He also satisfied himself that the sewing thread used for the seam joining the side strip was of linen as well. But as he studied the fibers more closely, he made a hitherto unsuspected discovery. In the slides he had prepared from warp and weft threads of the main fabric he found minute but unmistakable traces of cotton. The consistency of these was sufficient for him to be sure that wherever the weaving of the Shroud had been done, it was done on equipment used also for weaving cotton. Cotton is known to have been in use as early as the Indus civilization of Mohenjo-Daro, circa 2000 B.C. It is also known to have been introduced to the Middle East by the Assyrian monarch Sennacherib during the seventh century B.C. By the time of Christ it would certainly have been established in the environs of Palestine, and therefore offers no difficulty to the authenticity of the Shroud. Cotton fibers are characterized by twists or reversals which vary according to the particular species of cotton. The fibers Raes found in the Shroud correspond to the species Gossypium herbaceum, which is characteristic of the Middle East ... What is significant, however, is that cotton should be found at all, its very presence determining conclusively that the fabric of the Shroud came from the Middle East since cotton is not grown in Europe. Of course, it is possible that a fourteenth-century Western forger might have obtained a piece of genuine Middle Eastern cloth for his purpose, East-West trade being reasonably well developed at the time. To suppose that he did so intentionally, however, would be to credit him with an improbably advanced degree of sophistication, to say the least"[WI79, 69-70].
"Also important is Raes' discovery of minute traces of cotton fibers in the weave, indicating that the fabric of the Shroud was woven on a loom also used for weaving cotton [No. Medieval repair - see above). The cotton found is an Asian variety. G. Herbaceum, not manufactured in Europe before the 8th or 9th century"[BM95, 21].
"Perhaps the most curious feature of the Shroud samples studied by Raes is his observation that they included traces of cotton. These, of the Middle Eastern variety Gossypium herbaceum, suggest that, wherever the weaving of the Shroud was done, it was done on equipment also used for cotton. While this in turn suggests a Near or Middle Eastern manufacture, it has to be acknowledged that during the medieval period cotton was being produced in Italy, and cotton cloth was manufactured in France, Italy, and Flanders. Overall, Raes's evidence is ambivalent. It shows the Shroud could have been produced in first-century Palestine, but equally plausibly it could have been produced in fourteenth-century Europe or a fourteenth-century Muslim country, from which commercially expanding countries like France and Italy were importing heavily. Troyes, only twelve miles from Geoffrey de Charny's Lirey, was one of Europe's most important centers for precisely this form of trade"[WI86, 36].
"The linen and the weave have been carefully studied by an expert from Belgium, Professor Gilbert Raes of the Ghent Institute of Textile Technology. His microscopic examination revealed that the material of the original cloth, of the side-strip, and of the thread attaching the strip to the original cloth is all pure linen (with no admixture of wool), but that particles of cotton are caught between the threads of the original cloth. The cotton particles led Professor Raes to conclude that the loom on which the original cloth was woven had been used for weaving both linen and cotton. On the other hand, the absence of cotton particles in the side-strip suggests that the strip and the original cloth were woven on different looms [No. Medieval repair - see above)]"[DR84, 11-12].
"Yet another of Raes's findings was of minute but unmistakable traces of cotton adhering to the linen threads, suggesting to him that wherever the Shroud had been woven, it had been done on equipment that had also been used for cotton. Since the particular variety of cotton that Raes found 1 was Gossypium herbaceum, a characteristic Middle-Eastern variety, this I initially led him, and as a result myself and others, to regard this as rather good evidence for the Shroud having originated in the Middle East. In the event, such an interpretation was seriously misplaced ... cotton manufacture was introduced into Europe by Arab Moslems when they invaded Spain in AD 711, thus bringing into being a Spanish cotton industry that was quite a flourishing one by the thirteenth century, at which time it was controlled by several Jews"[WI98, 70].
"Raes made another interesting finding: He identified unmistakable traces of cotton fibrils in the portion taken from the main body of the Shroud. This indicates that wherever the Shroud linen was made, it was woven on equipment also used for weaving cotton [No. Medieval repair (see above)]. The cotton was found to be of the Gossypium herbaceum variety, which is characteristic of the Middle East. Cotton was known to have been introduced into the Middle East by the seventh century B.C. Interestingly, microscopic traces of cotton were found on the Shroud, but there were not microscopic traces of wool. Jewish law (Mishnah) prohibited the mixing of linen and wool, as demonstrated by Deuteronomy 22:11 (`You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together') and Leviticus 19:19 (`... nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material'). However, neither Deuteronomy, Leviticus, nor the Mishnah prohibited the mixing of cotton and linen"[AM00, 99].
  1. Flax
"The first presentation was on X-ray fluorescence ... Finally the results were presented. There was calcium on the Shroud - lots of it. It was evenly distributed over the entire length and width. I wondered where in the world it could have come from. It was not concentrated in the image areas, so it couldn't have anything to do with paint, dye, or stain. Next, they found strontium - also evenly spread all over the linen, but in lesser amounts than the calcium. I thought this was peculiar. There is not a great deal of strontium in the environment, but it is so similar in its chemical properties to calcium that it is often found wherever calcium is - in milk, for example. If strontium was also distributed throughout, it couldn't have anything to do with the images, either. Finally, they found iron. Iron was spread uniformly over the whole Shroud except in the bloodstained areas, where there was a significantly higher incidence of iron than elsewhere. `Well, well,' I thought. `That's presumptive evidence that the 'blood' may be real blood. The iron atoms in heme porphyrins would account for the extra iron in those areas ... Then, with a sly look on his face, he [Alan Adler] said, `What do you know about the process of retting linen?' `Isn't that something that you do to the flax plant to get linen fibers from it?' `Yes, but what do you know about it?' `Nothing.' `Well, I do, and it's important. ... it seems that in order to ret linen, you take the flax plant and soak it in a natural body of water, like a river or lake. The useless part of the flax kind of rots away, and the fibers that remain are linen, which is spun into thread ... during the retting, the linen fibers act as an ion exchanger, and do you know what ions they take up selectively from water? ... Calcium, strontium, and iron!'"[HJ83, 135-136, 173-174].
"The retting process involves immersing the flax in water for an extended period of time, during which fermentation and natural ion exchange occur. The ions which bind most strongly to the flax fibers are Ca and Fe, and it is precisely these two elements that are found in the greatest concentrations on the Shroud"[BM95, 48 n.58].
"During the manufacture of linen from flax, it undergoes (up until very recent times) a process called retting. The flax fibers are soaked in water to ferment. Eventually bacteria eat away most of the other constituents of the flax, leaving approximately 98% pure cellulose. This remainder is what the linen is woven from"[CT96, 36-37]
"Secret Commission of 1969 ... Sample threads from the Shroud were taken which showed that the linen fabric was mixed with cotton. This was an interesting discovery, given that cotton does not grow in Europe. The cotton in the cloth corresponds to a Middle Eastern variety known as G. herbaceum. According to the Mosaic law, there was a prohibition against combining linen and wool (cf. Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:11). However, it was licit to combine cotton and wool"[GV01, 55-56].
"In 1988, Turin's then archbishop, Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero, invited Gabriel Vial, curator of the International Centre for the Study of Ancient Textiles (CIETA) at the Textile Museum in Lyon, France, to attend as an expert witness when the sample for carbon dating was taken on 21 April of that year. Vial, who used the opportunity to make a very careful examination of the Shroud's technical features, also wrote a report which remains one of the best available. At much the same time as Vial's involvement, the name of Dr Mechthild Flury-Lemberg of the Abegg Foundation, Switzerland's counterpart to the Lyon Museum, was being put forward as another specialist whose expertise could prove valuable, particularly from the viewpoint of the Shroud's conservation ... From Vial's, Flury-Lemberg's and to a lesser extent the other specialists' published findings, certain reliable facts can be determined about the Shroud. For instance, even to the untrained eye the fabric can be seen to be linen. This means that somewhere, at some point of history, bunches of flax from the plant Linum usitatissimum were harvested and spun into thread to make the linen sheet we now see. As a plant, flax is native to a region from the eastern Mediterranean to India, and was used particularly extensively for linen clothing in ancient Egypt, but also throughout the ancient classical world, including Roman Palestine"[WI10, 70].
  1. Yarn
"Of all archaeological features, however, inevitably the prime and most crucial concern the linen of the Shroud and whether this could indeed be interpretable as from the Near East of the first century A.D. To try to answer this question, in 1973 two small linen samples (one 13 x 40 millimeters, the other 10 x 40 millimeters) were cut off from the Shroud and examined by Professor Gilbert Raes of the Ghent Institute of Textile Technology, Belgium. Raes quickly confirmed earlier opinions that the Shroud's fabric is linen, spun with a Z twist, and woven in a three-to-one (herringbone) twill. He noted the yarn to be very regular, indicative of good-quality workmanship, and the weave density an average of a little over 35 threads per centimeter (warp 38.6, weft 35.5), corresponding favorably with the 30-thread-per centimeter average for the finest Egyptian mummy fabrics"[WI86, 34,36].
"When in November 1973 Belgian Professor Gilbert Raes of the Ghent Institute of Textile Technology was invited to Turin to take part in a one-day specialist examination of the Shroud, he was provided with a 13-mm warp thread, a 12-mm weft thread and two postage- stamp-sized portions (taken from the left-hand corner of the Shroud's frontal half), to take back to his home laboratory for study. From these samples Raes was able to identify the twist of the yarn used for the Shroud as 'Z' twist, meaning that whoever had held the original spindle must have rotated this clockwise. All ancient Egyptians ... spun their linen yarn 'S' twist, that is, by rotating it anti-clockwise. However, this distinction is in fact no more of a determinant of age or provenance than the weave. In the post-pharaonic era [from 30BC] Z twist began to appear in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, and almost all European linen from around 300 BC through to mediaeval times was Z spun. And although most Syrian and Palestinian linen was S spun, there are Z-spun examples from around the time of Jesus that are known from Palmyra (whence we noted one of the herringbone twill silks), and from the desert of Judaea"[WI98, 70].
"Professor Raes found minute fibers of cotton mixed in with the linen. He also noticed that it was spun in a `Z' twist pattern and woven in a three-to-one twill, meaning that the horizontal (weft) thread passes alternately over three and under one of the vertical (warp) threads. The number of threads in each square centimeter is approximately twenty-four in the weft and thirty-six in the warp"[GV01, 58-59].
"That the Shroud was manufactured in antiquity rather than the

[Left (enlarge): UV-fluorescence photo of the Shroudman's hands, showing colour banding of different hanks of yarn in the linen[RR08, 19. See 20Oct15].

Middle Ages is further indicated by a couple of observations made by STURP scientists. First, Ray Rogers has drawn attention to the 'banding' of the Shroud's linen, due to slight colour variations in the hanks of yarn. He explains this effect in terms of the way linen was produced in Roman times, a process described by Pliny the Elder in his famous encyclopedia, Natural History, composed around AD 77-9. According to Pliny, harvested flax was divided into small sheafs, which were soaked in water, dried in the sun and pounded with hammers, before being carded and spun into threads. The linen threads were then soaked, dried and pounded in turn, to increase their pliability. The sunlight would have had a mild bleaching effect, and, because each hank of yarn would have been treated slightly differently, they would have been slightly variegated in colour. Impurities picked up in the wash may also have affected their colour. So, ancient linen appears faintly striped, due to the way the thread was processed in separate batches. Medieval linen, apparently, is more homogenous, since the material was bleached after being woven, not before"[DT12, 110].

  1. Weave
"In all, Raes had been given four samples, two individual threads, one weft of 12 millimeters, one warp 13 millimeters long from the corner of the cloth to the left of the feet of the frontal image, one irregular 13-by-40- millimeter portion from the same area, and one 10-by-40-millimeter parallelogram-shaped portion from the 8- to 9-centimeter side strip that runs the full length of the cloth. From previous visual study of the Shroud weave, a certain amount of information had already been deduced. The overall style of the weave had been generally agreed to be a three-to-one herringbone twill- each weft thread passing alternately under three warp threads and over one, producing diagonal lines, which reverse direction at regular intervals to create the herringbone pattern. That was in itself interesting, as most known Palestinian, Roman, and Egyptian linens of around the time of Christ tend to `plain weave'- i.e., a simple `one over, one under' style. The more complex three-to-one twill of the Shroud is certainly known from the period, but in silks rather than linen. Silk examples, thought to be of Syrian manufacture, have been found at Palmyra (dated before A.D. 276), and in a child's coffin (ca. A.D. 250) excavated at Holborough, Kent, England. The lack of linen samples by no means invalidates the authenticity of the Shroud, merely suggesting a somewhat costly manufacture, as indeed one would expect of a purchase of the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea"[WI79, 69].
"The weave of the Holy Shroud [is] ... a three-to-one twill, broken at intervals by a forty-thread stripe measuring from 10 to 12 cm. in width, making an overall herringbone pattern on the cloth. No similar three-to-one linen samples seem to have survived, but there are examples of silk three-to- one twills from the Roman era-e.g., fragments from a child's coffin ca. A.D. 250, Holborough, Kent, England, and two examples from Palmyra, Syria, ca. A.D. 276. It would seem likely, according to British textile expert Elizabeth Crowfoot, to be of Syrian origin"[WI79, 160d].
"Several authors have questioned whether the complex weaves found on the shroud were capable of being produced in the first century A.D. However, cloths with Z twist and twill weaves have been dated to times well before the time of Christ, as evidenced by a late - Bronze Age cloak found at Gerumsberg, Germany. In the burial wrappings of the mummy of King Thutmes II (c. 1450 B.C.), fabrics with a 4:1 twill were found. A scarf from the burial garments of King Seti I (1300 B.C.) contained a border with a 1:3 weave. The disposition of threads in the frame and the operation of the loom are identical with 1:3 and 3:1 twills. A piece of fabric from the tomb of Queen Makeri (1100 B.C.) had a 1:3 twill bordered with a 1:10 twill. Similarly, mummy cloth of the high priest Nessita-neb-Ashir from the same period contained weaves with 1:2 twill, 1:3 twill, and 1:6 twill. One particularly striking example of fabric weaving is a linen girdle of Ramses III (1200 B.C) This specimen, which is seventeen feet long, is woven with threads of five colors in a design composed of a 3:1 twill alternating with a 4:1 and 5:1 pattern. William Geilmann, who was a textile expert from the University of Mainz, studied pieces of linen from Palmyra, dating between the first and third centuries A.D., and one of them had the same 3:1 pattern as the Shroud. Herringbone twill examples in silk, thought to be of Syrian manufacture and dating from A.D. 250 and A.D. 276, have been found in Syria and England"[AM00, 98-99].
"In the Shroud of Turin we have a piece of linen made in a 3 to 1 twill weave, broken at intervals by a forty- thread stripe measuring from 3/8 to 7/16 inch (10 to 12 mm.) in width, and making an over-all herringbone pattern in the cloth. Irregularities in the weave and thickness of the fabric, together with dissimilarities in the thread, indicate that it is a piece of hand-woven, hand-spun linen. In the course of the centuries the linen has turned yellow"[BW57, 28].
"Professor Gilbert Raes of the Ghent Institute of Textile Technology ... his microscopic analysis led to a number of conclusions. First, the fabric of the Shroud is definitely linen, in a 3:1 twill weave. The existence of this `herringbone' weave is interesting for the fact that it was not especially common in first-century Middle Eastern linen; examples of the weave from that time and locality are known, but primarily in silk rather than linen. This does not argue against the authenticity of the Shroud, but rather suggests a costly manufacture"[BM95, 21].
"The cloth is a three-to-one herringbone twill technically known as samite from the Latin examitum, a six- thread weave in wool, silk or linen. Most known Palestinian, Roman and Egyptian linens from around the time of Christ tend to be woven in a simple one-over-one-under style. This more complex three-to-one twill is certainly not unknown from this period, but it is usually found in silks rather than in linen. Indeed, the lack of contemporary linen samples does not by itself invalidate the authenticity of the Shroud, though it does suggest that it was of a somewhat morecostly manufacture than was usual for a burial cloth"[CN95, 10-11].
"This [the Shroud's] weave was reliably identified in the 1930s

[Right (original): The Shroud's weave, showing the twill (diagonal parallel ribs) combined with regular offset reversals, creating a herringbone (zigzag) effect: [See 16Jul15].]

as a three-to-one herringbone chevron twill, a complex variety for which the weaver would have had to pass each weft (or transverse) thread alternately under three warp (or vertical) threads, then over one, creating diagonal lines, the direction of which he or she would then have reversed at regular intervals ... in the case of ancient Egyptian linens, which are overwhelmingly the most common variety of linen to survive from antiquity, all are of plain weave, that is, they have been created in a simple 'one over, one under' style ... So does this mean that the herringbone weave had not even been invented at the time of Jesus? Happily this is not the case. For instance there is a cloth from Palmyra in Syria, known definitely to date from before AD 276, which is in herringbone weave. Another herringbone example, definitely dating from the Roman era, was found in a child's coffin at Holborough, Kent, England. Yet other examples have been found at Trier, Conthey, Riveauville, and Cologne. The complication to all these, however, is that they were woven not in linen, but in silk. And although there are other examples of essentially the same weave, some dating back to the late Bronze Age, these were created in wool. It has to be acknowledged that no actual examples of linen directly matching the herringbone twill of the Shroud survive from antiquity, but this is far from saying that examples did not and could not have existed in this fabric. As any of the world's community of specialists in the history of textiles will readily confirm, the number of surviving specimens of ancient textiles represents but the tiniest proportion of the amount long lost to us, so that what we do not know about them vastly outweighs what we do know"[WI98, 68-69]
"A further highly unusual feature of the Shroud's linen is the weave itself. One of the big sources of frustration for historians of textiles is that relatively few examples have survived from antiquity. Even with regard to those that have survived, another problem is the quite disproportionate number that are mummy wrappings from ancient Egypt - far from representative of the many fabrics from many other ancient cultures that have been irretrievably lost. Egyptian mummy wrappings are almost invariably woven plain weave, that is, in a simple 'one over, one under' style ... The Shroud's weave, by contrast, is an altogether more complex three-to- one herringbone twill ... To make it, the weaver would have had to pass each weft (or transverse) thread alternately under three warp (or vertical) threads, then over on; creating diagonal lines. At regular intervals he or she would then have had to reverse direction to create the distinctive zigzags. In any age prior to the Industrial Revolution this would have been something rare and expensive, the work of a highly skilled professional"[WI10, 74].
"Even among textile experts, therefore, the search for 15parallels to the Shroud, whether from the Middle Ages or from further back in antiquity, has not been easy. This difficulty was made very evident when the British Museum's Dr Michael Tite, the official invigilator for the 1988 carbon dating work, was looking for some historical samples of linen resembling the Shroud's weave to use for controls. His plan was that the carbon dating laboratories should not know which of the samples had come from the actual Shroud. He even sought my help on this. But the plan failed. In order to provide controls that were at least all of linen he had to abandon the requirement that their weave should be herringbone. French specialist Gabriel Vial found much the same difficulty following his hands-on examination of the Shroud in 1988. There was literally no parallel that he could cite from the Middle Ages. Between antiquity and the modern age the closest example he could find, at least one that had been reliably analysed and published, was an artist's canvas from the second half of the sixteenth century. And even this was technically `beaucoup plus simple' (a lot more simple) than that of the Turin Shroud"[WI10, 75].
"Vial found the era of antiquity itself - that is, around the time of Christ - significantly more productive, albeit not quite as much as anyone favouring the Shroud's antiquity might wish. Examples of herringbone weave can definitely be found from the Roman era. One specimen, from Palmyra, Syria, is precisely dateable, from its context, to before AD 276. There is another example from a child's coffin excavated at Holborough in Kent, England. Yet other examples have been found at Trier, Conthey, Riveauville and Cologne. The downside is these were all woven in silk, not linen, but at least they show that this type of weave was used at this early period. As Dr Flury-Lemberg has further pointed out, there are also some good specimens of three-to- one twill dating even closer to Jesus's time which have come to light subsequent to Vial's researches. In the late 1990s French archaeologists were sifting for papyri among ancient rubbish dumps at the Roman fort of Krokodilo, a staging post in Egypt's Eastern Desert between the Nile and the Red Sea, when they came across substantial quantities of discarded textiles. Among these were fragments in wool that had been woven to specifications very similar to those of the Turin Shroud. And from the context in which these fragments were found they have been dated with absolute certainty to between AD 100 and 120"[WI10, 75-76].
"The first serious study of the Shroud as a textile was undertaken in 1973 by Professor Gilbert Raes of Ghent University, who was permitted to take some samples, including a small swatch, the size of a postage stamp, from one of the corners (adjacent to the area subsequently sampled for the carbon dating). Raes confirmed that the cloth was made of linen and that its weave is a rare type known as a three-to-one twill, created by passing each weft thread under three warp threads and then over one, building up a herringbone pattern ... Not much can be gleaned from this, except that the cloth was more expensive than average. Three-to-one twill weaving was practised both in antiquity and in the late Middle Ages, although more examples exist from the earlier period, including ones found in Syria and Egypt, countries bordering Palestine. These are all of silk or wool, but the same technique could well have been used for linen"[DT12, 108-109].

  1. Dimensions
"The Shroud itself is of impressive dimensions fourteen feet,

[Left (enlarge)[08Apr20]: Shroud photo-graph with an 8 x 2 grid overlay showing that the Shroud divides evenly into 16 squares, each 438/8 = 54.75 cm (~21.6 in.) by 113/2 = 56.5 cm (~22.2 in.). The slightly greater (1.75cm = 0.7 in.) width unit is readily explained by the attachment of the sidestrip (see below). These units are too close to the Assyrian cubit of Jesus' day: 21.4-21.8 inches (see 08Apr20) to be a coincidence.]

three inches long and three feet, seven inches wide"[AF82, 4].
"The cloth, marked by various blemishes and stains, measures fourteen feet three inches long and three feet seven inches wide - or, according to the measurement in use in the Middle East in the first century, eight cubits by two[WI91, 181]. Experts in the field of textiles have determined that the threads were hand-spun and the fabric hand-woven in what is known as a `three-to-one herringbone twill.' This was a type of weaving practiced in the Middle East at least as far back as two thousand years ago"[RC99, 11].
"The Shroud of Turin, a large linen cloth 14 feet 3 inches long and 3 feet 7 inches wide (4.34 m x 1.10 m)"[AM00, 1]
"Ian Dickinson, a researcher from Canterbury, England, was struck by the fact that the measurements of the Shroud-14'3" by 3'7"-seemed odd. Research indicated that the international standard unit of measurement at the time of Jesus was the Assyrian cubit (21.4 inches). When measured in Assyrian cubits, the Shroud is 8 cubits by 2 cubits, a strong indication that this standard unit was used to measure the linen cloth"[AM00, 115].
"Measurements of the Shroud's overall dimensions have tended to vary, even during relatively recent decades, because of its traditional storage mode, rolled up around a velvet-covered rod. Every time it was unrolled and rolled up again there was a slightly different calculation of its size. However, following the flat storage method and the stabilization achieved by Dr Flury-Lemberg's conservation measures of 2002, the dimensions should now stay constant at the official fourteen feet six inches long by three feet nine inches wide [442.5cm X 113.7cm] By any standards the Shroud is a cloth of substantial size, and the loom on which it was woven must have been relatively large - a requirement that certainly presents no problem for the Shroud dating from antiquity. For instance, in Turin's Egyptian Museum there is a bed-sheet from the 12th Dynasty - that is, from around the twentieth century BC - that is seven metres long and of much the same width as the Shroud. Twice as old as the Shroud (if it genuinely dates from the time of Christ), the bed-sheet's condition is notably still perfect. It may seem surprising that linen can last so long, but moth grubs ignore the material because it lacks the keratin their diet needs, and most other insects find it too hard to masticate"[WI10, 71, 315].

  1. Sidestrip
"On one side of the Shroud is sewn a strip of linen, about six inches wide, which runs the entire length of the cloth. The weave of this strip is identical to the herringbone of the Shroud, although why, when and by whom it was added is unknown"[HT78, 37].
"It is a single piece of time-faded linen with a strip approximately three and one-half inches wide running the length of the left-hand side"[AF82, 4].
"More precisely the Shroud measures 14 feet 3 inches in length, and 3 feet 7 inches in width. The entire fabric was woven in a single piece except for the left edge. Looking at the top surface, one notices a seam running down the left side of the cloth: a narrow strip, 3 1/2 inches wide, was at some time attached to the cloth, whose original width was therefore only 3 feet 3 1/2 inches. The image is entirely restricted to the original cloth ..."[DR84, 11].
"Finally, along one whole side, a strip of linen cloth has been sewn on. We do not know when, why, or by whom this side-strip was added to the Shroud ... the side strip centers the image on the Turin Shroud. It would make the face appear in the center of the frame rather than off to one side"[SD89, 9, 82].
"Radiographs taken in 1978 have shown that the so-called `side strip,' repeatedly conjectured to have been sewn to the Shroud by the seam, is actually an integral part of the Shroud"[BM95, 39].
"THE Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth of ivory color measuring fourteen feet three inches long by three feet seven inches wide or eight cubits long by two cubits wide, according to first-century Jewish measurements. (A cubit is equivalent to 21.7 inches.) The cloth is made of a three-to-one herringbone weave with a `Z' twist. Parallel to one side of the cloth is sewn a six-inch-wide strip of the same weave pattern"[GV01, 1]
"But this was not the end of Raes's discoveries. As already mentioned, he had two samples of reasonable size, one from the main body of the Shroud, and one from the mysterious side strip ... The type of weave used for both is absolutely identical-i.e., the three-to-one twill ... Raes was unable to find in piece II any of the cotton traces of the main body of the cloth"[WI10, 70-71].
  1. Seam
"Only one seam was used for this attachment[AF82, 4]. "But

[Right (enlarge): Seam joining the sidestrip (left) and the main body of the Shroud (right), near its left hand corner[24Aug15].]

even more importantly, Dr. Flury-Lemberg found the cloth's finishing, at its hems, and in the joining seam to have been done using an unusual type of stitching very nearly invisible on one side, and as such closely resembling that of ancient Jewish textiles as found at Masada, the Jewish palace-fortress that was overthrown by the Romans in AD 73, never to be occupied again"[WI00].
"Just as interesting are Dr Flury-Lemberg's observations concerning the beautifully crafted seam by which the raw edges were joined up. On the Shroud's exposed or 'face' side - that is, the side that received the imprint - the seam's sewing is so neat and so professional that analysis of its technical details was never possible while the Shroud remained fastened to its sixteenth-century backing cloth. When the conservation work freed it from its backing cloth and opened up its underside, Dr Flury-Lemberg became the first person in modern times to be able to study the seam's underside. And this proved quite a revelation. She found the seam to have some highly unusual technical characteristics that in four decades of working on historic textiles she had come across only once before, on first-century textiles found at Masada, the historic Dead Sea fortress where over nine hundred Jewish rebels who lived just one generation later than Jesus made a famous last stand against the Romans at the end of the Jewish Revolt, in AD 72-3. When the site was excavated by the famous Israeli commander Yigael Yadin back in the 1950s, substantial scraps of the defenders' clothing came to light, the dry air of the surrounding Judaean desert having preserved them well. In 1994 Yadin's successors at last published the technical report

[Left: enlarge: Sketch of `invisible seam' found on cloth fragments at the first-century Jewish fortress of Masada[08Oct16] which is "identical to that found on the Shroud and nowhere else"[DT12, 109].]

on these clothing scraps, and right there in that report is a technical drawing of what the excavators adjudged to be a very unusual seam - one which in Dr Flury-Lemberg's opinion is essentially identical to the one visible on the Turin Shroud. Also found at Masada were examples of exactly the same two double thread selvedge as seen on the Shroud, a mode of construction which Gabriel Vial back in the 1980s had described as 'tout a fait inhabituelle' - most unusual"[WI10, 72-74].

  1. Selvedge
"Down the left side of the Shroud is a border approximately 3 1/2 inches wide (8 centimeters from the edge) running the full length of the linen cloth.

[Right[22Jan15a]: Bottom right hand corner of the Shroud showing part of the selvedge (left vertical border). Along the bottom is one of the two horizontal hems (see below)]

Once thought to be a side-strip sewn onto the main cloth, it has now been determined to be a selvedge [this confuses the sidestrip with the selvedge, which are two different parts of the Shroud], that is, a piece of cloth woven into the main cloth so that it will not unravel. It is done in such a manner as to require no hem[IJ98, 1-2].
"One genuinely big surprise from Dr Flury-Lemberg's findings within the last decade is that the original cloth from which the Shroud derived was very likely substantially larger. The clue to this lies in the beautifully crafted seam that runs the Shroud's full length, just under three and a half inches below its top edge. At the Shroud's top and bottom edges [sic left and right sides] there is selvedge, indicating that these edges formed the cloth's original, weaver-finished 'sides' as it originally grew lengthwise on the loom. When the weaving was finished

[Left (enlarge)[22Jan15b]: Flury-Lemberg's explanation of how the cloth from which the Shroud came was originally woven much wider than the Shroud. Then the cloth was cut lengthwise and the two pieces bordered by the selvedge (shaded) were joined together by a seam (see "Seam" below) to form the Shroud cloth.]

someone seems to have very accurately cut the Shroud along its length, then most expertly joined up the two raw edges left by this process via the beautifully crafted seam. As argued by Dr Flury-Lemberg, the only possible purpose behind such highly professional tailoring would have been that when the original piece of fabric was on the loom, it was woven substantially wider than its present width. In her opinion, it could well have been up to three times the present width, which would have made it eleven feet wide by nearly fifteen feet long. The width was then narrowed to that required for its usage as a shroud by cutting twice along its length, using the two sections with selvedge for the Shroud, then joining up the raw edges ... 'The ancient Egyptians used looms up to eleven and a half feet wide,' Dr Flury-Lemberg explained. 'They needed the wide looms particularly for the production of the tunica inconsutilis, the seamless tunics ... also worn by Jesus Christ, according to the gospel writers [Jn 19:23] ... Naturally these wide looms could be used to produce fabrics of a smaller width. But it made more sense to use the full width of the loom, as only a little more work input resulted in the production of a broad length of fabric which could then be cut into two or three narrower pieces as required.'"[WI10, 71-72].
"So, although any absolutely exact first-century parallel to the Shroud's linen remains elusive, in the light of the most recent textile findings the Shroud actually has rather more going for a manufacture date some time around the time of Jesus than for its being a product of the Middle Ages. The very high degree of professionalism that is evident from the mega-wide loom that appears to have been used, the very expert lengthwise cutting and seaming (to all appearances done while still 'in-factory'), the unusual selvedge, and the very unusual, expensive style of weaving - all of these point to production in a major, sophisticated cloth-making 'factory' of the kind that certainly existed during the Roman era for making the large sheet-like garments that were then fashionable. The Middle Ages, in contrast, were not noted for such operations. As Dr Flury-Lemberg remarked, `During the Middle Ages I do not know of any reason for the use of looms of that kind of width. Tapestries during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were very small - only between three and six feet high - compared to their sixteenth- and seventeenth-century counterparts, precisely because of the looms, the tapestry's height indicating its loom's width. And the tunica inconsutilis was only produced in ancient times, never in the Middle Ages. I doubt that there would have been a linen factory on that kind of scale in the Middle Ages. If you find linen bed sheets from that time (which is rare), you will find a seam in the middle of the sheet. Two loom pieces will have been sewn together at their selvedges to make them wide enough for the bed"[WI10, 76-77].

  1. Hems
"But even more importantly, Dr. Flury-Lemberg found the cloth's finishing, at its hems, and in the joining seam to have been done using an unusual type of stitching very nearly invisible on one side, and as such closely resembling that of ancient Jewish textiles as found at Masada, the Jewish palace-fortress that was overthrown by the Romans in AD 73, never to be occupied again. This alone, therefore, constitutes powerful evidence against the carbon dating result of 1988. As Dr. Flury-Lemberg told the Sunday Times 'In my opinion the Shroud is not a mediaeval fake. The parallels I have found indicate that it could have existed at the same time as Jesus Christ and in what is now Israel'"[WI00].

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Posted 26 August 2022. Updated 30 September 2022.