Saturday, November 22, 2008

Re: There is compelling evidence it is the burial cloth of Christ, or a man crucified during that time #2


Continuing from Re: There is compelling evidence it is the burial cloth of Christ, or a man crucified during that time #1 with this

[Left (click to enlarge): The only place on Earth, near Jerusalem (blue), where three plant species on the Shroud are found close together: Gundelia tournefortii (green), Cistus creticus (red) and Zygophyllum dumosum (dotted): Based on Danin, A., et al., "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, 1999, p.41, and Danin, A. & Guerra, H., 2008, "L'uomo della Sindone," Edizioni ART, Rome, p.88 (see below)]

part #2 of my multi-part response to your comment to my post: Bogus: Shroud of Turin? #10: The Shroud's blood and pollen closely matches the Sudarium of Oviedo's.

Your words are bold to distinguish them from my comments. I have split my reply into multiple parts because of the size of my response (which involves a lot of quote material as documentation).

----- Original Message -----
From: Anonymous
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:00 PM
Subject: [The Shroud of Turin] New comment on Bogus: Shroud of Turin? #10: The Shroud's blood an....

>.... I am a Christian who has drawn no real definitive conclusions about the authenticity of the Shroud. There is compelling evidence, however, that it is the burial cloth of Christ, or a man crucified during that time and in that area. ...

Continuing with 18-21 of the at least twenty-three (23) separate and independent features on the Shroud of Turin that match the gospel's depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus. My conservative estimates of the proportion of Roman crucifixion victims that had each particular feature are in square brackets:

18. The body left an imprint on the Shroud like no other known [1 in 1,000] (HJ1983p220; IJ1998p10; S&H1990p127; VP1970p44);

19. The feet have limestone dust that has the same rare chemical composition as dust in the tombs around Jerusalem [1 in 1,000] (AM2000p109; P&M1996p206; RC1999p103; WB2006p129; WI1998p104; W&S2000p93);

20. The Shroud has images and pollen of flowers that together

[Above (click to enlarge): Distributions of Zygophyllum dumosum (blue), Cistus creticus (red) and Gundelia tournefortii (green): Danin, A. & Guerra, H., 2008, "L'uomo della Sindone," Edizioni ART, Rome, p.88]

occur only around Jerusalem [1 in 1,000] (AM2000p112; DA1999p18; IJ1998p25; ML2005p94; SD1999Aug3; WM1998p78; W&S2000p92);

21. The Shroud has images and pollen on it from plants that flower only March-April, in the afternoon, and Jesus was crucified early April in the afternoon [1 in 1,000] (AM2000p113; DA1999p18; IJ1998p25; WM1998p78);

Continued in part #3 of "Re: There is compelling evidence it is the burial cloth of Christ, or a man crucified during that time".

Quotes below are hyperlinked to inline references above (my emphasis bold).

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & Jesus is Jehovah!

"An important indication that the events depicted on the Shroud of Turin occurred not just in Palestine, but specifically in Jerusalem, is supported by an examination of the limestone in the Ecole Biblique tomb in Jerusalem. The Ecole Biblique provided researchers with access to the same rock shelf as the Holy Sepulcher and the Garden Tomb, both of which are considered the most probable choices for the actual tomb of Christ. Tombs in the Palestine/Transjordan area were carved out of limestone, which remains wet and pliable and which rubs off easily with the slightest contact. [Nitowski, E.L., "The Field and Laboratory Report of the Environmental Study of the Shroud in Jerusalem," Carmelite Monastery: Salt Lake City UT, 1986] Calcium carbonate is the major component of limestone. The limestone in the Jerusalem tomb was determined to be in the form of travertine aragonite, rather than the more common travertine calcite. [Kohlbeck, J. & Nitowski, E., "New Evidence May Explain Image on Shroud of Turin;" Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 12, No. 4, July/August 1986] Aragonite is less common than calcite and is formed under a much narrower range of conditions. The Jerusalem sample also contained small amounts of strontium and iron. [Nitowski; Kohlbeck & Nitowski] A calcium sample taken from a Shroud fiber on the foot has been compared to the calcium sample from the Jerusalem tomb. The Shroud sample was found to be in the form of aragonite, not the more common calcite, and also exhibited small amounts of strontium and iron. [Kohlbeck & Nitowski] This match was confirmed by Dr. Ricardo Levi-Setti [Levi-Setti, R.G., et al., "Progress in High Resolution Scanning Ion Microscopy and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry Imaging Microanalysis;" Scanning Electron Microscopy, Vol. 2, 1985, pp.535-552] of the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago. Dr. Levi-Setti analyzed the calcium from both the Shroud fiber and the Jerusalem tomb with a high-resolution scanning ion microprobe. The resulting graphs show that these samples are an unusually close match, except for minute pieces of flax that could not be separated from the calcium sample taken from the Shroud fiber and that caused a slight organic variation. [Kohlbeck & Nitowski] Limestone samples taken from other tombs located at nine different test sites in Israel were also analyzed by Dr. Levi-Setti - but only the sample taken from the Jerusalem tomb matched the limestone on the Shroud." (Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, p.109).

"In 1985, Whanger detected what he believed to be a clear flower image near the head of the Shroud image, whose presence was first suggested by Oswald Scheuerman's observations in 1983. After finding other similar images, Whanger thought they might have great relevance, so he acquired a six-volume set of the definitive study on the botany of Israel. Whanger spent the next four years painstakingly comparing the faint images on Shroud photographs with life-size drawings in the botany books, and using his Polarized Image Overlay Technique to check his findings. By 1989, he had tentatively identified twenty-eight species of plants that grow in Israel. [Whanger, M. & Whanger, A., "The Shroud of Turin: An Adventure of Discovery," Providence House: Franklin TN, 1998, p.78] Although Whanger showed his findings to other Shroud researchers, he did not publish them until they could be confirmed by Dr. Avinoam Danin, professor of Botany at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a world-renowned authority on the flora of Israel. Danin not only confirmed almost all of Whanger's identifications, but he also discovered a large number of additional flower images that were not found by Whanger. [Ibid., p.80] Of the twenty-eight plants, twenty-seven grow within the close vicinity of Jerusalem, where four geographical areas containing different specific climates and flora can be found. (The twenty-eighth plant grows at the south end of the Dead Sea.) All twenty-eight would have been available in Jerusalem markets in a fresh state, and most would have been growing along the roadside or in nearby fields. While three of these plants grow in France and nine grow in Italy, `half are found only in the Middle East or other similar areas and never in Europe' (italics added). [Ibid., p.79] One of these plants grows only in Israel, Jordan, or the Sinai, with its northernmost boundary between Jerusalem and Jericho. Danin concluded that there is only one place in the world where all of these flowers can be collectively found-Jerusalem. [Interview of Dr. Danin, CBS Evening News, April 12, 1997; Danin, A., Lecture at the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO, June 6, 1997; Whanger, A., "Flowers on the Shroud: Current Research," CSST News Vol. 1, No. 1, November 1997; Danin, A. et al., "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, 1999, p.18] Furthermore, the blooming season for all these plants is March and April. [Ibid.]" (Antonacci, 2000, p.112).

"Interestingly, one of the floral species on the Shroud that grows in Jerusalem and blooms in the Spring, Capparis aegyptia, provides further corroborating information of the events depicted on the Shroud. Damn, Baruch, and Whanger state: `Capparis aegyptia is also significant as an indicator for the time of the day when its flowering stems were picked. Flowering buds of this species begin to open about midday, opening gradually until fully opened about half an hour before sunset. Flowers seen as images on the Shroud correspond to opening buds at about 3 to 4 o'clock in the afternoon. This was confirmed by a two day experiment with, first, Capparis aegyptia, and later with Capparis spinosa Veillard.' [Danin, A., et al., "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, 1999, p.22] Furthermore, after examining flowers at various stages after they've been picked, Whanger concluded that their images most closely matched those that had wilted for twenty-four to thirty-six hours. [Whanger, M. & A., "The Shroud of Turin: An Adventure of Discovery," Providence House: Franklin TN, 1998, pp. 74-75, 80] This gives an indication of when the flower images might have been formed. This time frame is consistent with the formation of the body images, which occurred within two to three days after the body was placed within the Shroud, due to the lack of decomposition. These flower images, like the possible coin images, do not contain all of the unique features found on the body image and are very difficult to discern. They are most likely secondary images that also formed at the time the primary images formed. Further study should be undertaken to confirm the flower images, but so far, all evidence points toward corroboration. Danin has identified flowers and thorns on the photos of Pia, Enrie, and Miller, as well as on the ultraviolet fluorescent photos. He has even been able to identify two floral images on the Shroud itself with binoculars. [Danin, A., et al., "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, 1999, p.16] The implication of their identifications are enormous. In addition to confirming Frei's identifications, they could confirm the Jerusalem location, the period as the spring or Easter season, that different types of thorns were involved, that the flowers were picked around 3 to 4:00 in the afternoon, and that the images were encoded before two days had elapsed." (Antonacci, 2000, pp.113-114).

"The physical location of the bouquet containing Zygophyllum dumosum appears on the body image's upper chest (Figure 6, 10). Here, two young but well-developed succulent leaves are visualized. Each leaf has a terete petiole and a pair of flat leaflets (Figures 10 to 12). Such leaves, in the Near Eastern flora, are found only in the genus Zygophyllum. The images of two single petioles marked in this area are of at least 1-year-old leaves. The only species of Zygophyllum in Israel and its neighboring countries that sheds its pair of leaflets annually is Z. dumosum (Zohary, 1972; Feinbrun-Dothan & Danin, 1991). The top leaf in Figures 10 and 11 was seen in all the five kinds of photographs dealt with in Table 5. The fact that the Zygophyllum leaf image is black in the fluorescence photo means that the image is made up of the image-linen type fibrils that do not fluoresce. The chronological significance of Z. dumosum in the phenologic stage of bloom seen on the Shroud (it has a flower and two kinds of leaves) is that it was cut between the months of December and April (in the context of the Judean Desert). This is the particular season when both leaf types and flowers are found together on the plant. The geographical implications of Z. dumosum are significant beyond that of other species associated with the Shroud because the plant is endemic (Figure 9). Zygophyllum dumosum grows only in Israel, Sinai, and a small area of Jordan ... This assemblage of Z. dumosum and additional species such as Gundelia tournefortii, Cistus creticus, and Capparis aegyptia occurs in only one rather small spot on earth, this being the Judean mountains and the Judean Desert of Israel, in the vicinity of Jerusalem ... The distributional areas of the most significant species are used here to determine the proposed place of origin of the Shroud (the geographical fingerprint of the Shroud of Turin). Their significance is based on the following criteria: the highest frequency of pollen, endemism, and from which side of the Jordan river the first two were taken. A plant assemblage composed of two species is used for the first geographic approximation. These are Gundelia tournefortii, which has the highest frequency of pollen grains derived from the Shroud, and Zygophyllum dumosum, images of which are documented in both photographs and on the Shroud itself. Those biogeographic areas where the two species coexist are bounded by longitudinal lines linking Jerusalem and Hebron in Israel and Madaba and Karak in Jordan. Adding Cistus creticus as a third species to this plant assemblage anchors the area of origin toward the Jerusalem-Hebron zone. Future investigation of additional pollen grains from the Shroud may further pinpoint the place of origin indicated by the Shroud's flora. The species examined here have precise reproductive intervals or periods of times of blooming or of carrying leaves. Their phenology may serve as an indication of the time of year when they were brought to the Shroud. Table 6 indicates floral anthesis, after Feinbrun-Dothan and Danin (1991), for the eight most significant plants associated with the Shroud. For all eight plants, their concurrent blooming times fall in the months of March and April" (Danin, A., Whanger, A.D., Baruch, U. & Whanger, M., 1999, "Flora of the Shroud of Turin," Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis MO, pp.18,.21-22).

"The images are the result of dehydrative acid oxidation of the linen. The blood is human blood. How the images got on the cloth is a mystery. We would love to have the answer to this mystery, to explain the science of it. If it turns out that some form of molecular transport we have not been able to fathom is the method whereby the images of the scourged, crucified man were transferred to the linen, we shall have solved only another little micropart of the puzzle. We do know, however, that there are thousands on thousands of pieces of funerary linen going back to millennia before Christ, and another huge number of linens of Coptic Christian burials. On none of these is there any image of any kind. A few have some blood and stains on them, but no image. The Shroud bears the images of a man who has had incredible, violent damage done to his body, yet whose face is filled with serenity and peace. It is an extracanonical witness to what happened to Jesus Christ, whether the man in the Shroud was Jesus or not." (Heller, J.H., 1983, "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, p.220).

"Some consider the images to have been formed by some as yet unknown `natural phenomena.' However, as ... Robert Wilcox states that `even if (researchers) come up with some `natural' process, the failure, so far, to find anything like the Shroud amongst the world's body cloths and artifacts leaves them with the further problem of why the process occurred only once in the history of the world, so far as is yet known.' [Wilcox, R.K., "Half of Shroud Scientists Say Image Is Authentic," The Voice, 5 Mar. 1982, p.13]" (Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.10).

"Floral Images on the Shroud? During his studies in 1983, Oswald Scheuermann made an observation that there seemed to be flowerlike patterns around the face of the Man of the Shroud. Two years later, Dr. Alan Whanger, while examining photographs of the Shroud with a magnifying lens, suddenly saw out of the corner of his eye the image of a large chrysanthemum-like flower on the anatomic left side about fifteen centimeters lateral to and six centimeters above the midline top of the head. [Whanger, A. & M., "Floral Coin and Other Non-Body Images on the Shroud of Turin," Duke University: Durham NC, 1989] ... While there are vague or partial images of many flowers on the Shroud, Dr. Whanger and Oswald Scheuermann believe that they have tentatively identified twenty-eight plants whose images are sufficiently clear on the Shroud to make a good comparison and to be compatible with the drawings in Flora Palaestina . Of the twenty-eight plants identified on the Shroud, twenty-three are flowers, three are small bushes and two are thorns. All twenty-eight plants grow in Israel and twenty grow in Jerusalem itself (i.e., the Judean mountains). The other eight plants grew either in the Judean desert or the Dead Sea area or in both. Hence, these plants or flowers would have been available in Jerusalem's market in a fresh state. [Whanger, ibid]. They noted that a rather high percentage of the flower images identified have corresponding Pollen found on the Shroud by Dr. Max Frei. Of the twenty-eight plants whose images they believe they have identified, Dr. Frei had already identified the pollen of twenty-five of them. In addition, they noted with great interest that twenty-seven of the twenty-eight plants bloom during March and April, which would correspond to the time of Passover and of the Crucifixion. Dr. Whanger also states that the age of the flowers between the time they were picked and the time that the image was formed can be reasonably determined. He notes that the evidence indicates that the image of the body was formed (mysteriously) in a very brief time by some type of high energy process sometime between twenty-four and forty hours after death when decomposition (not seen on the Shroud image) would have begun to be apparent. Whanger believes that most of the flowers whose images are on the Shroud would be between twenty-four and thirty-six hours old after picking." (Iannone, 1998, pp.25-26).

"During another visit to the Whangers, Danin identified leaves and flowers of bean caper plants, Zygophyllum dumosum, in the image of a bouquet on the chest area of the figure of a man on the Shroud. At that time Danin didn't know that Frei had reported pollen of Z. dumosum on the Shroud tapes. Similarly, an image of a bouquet of Rock Roses [Cistus credicus] was found near the left cheek of the figure. Frei had found Rock Rose pollen on the tapes too. Although pollen and images from many other plants that grow in the Middle East have been recognised on the Shroud, the independent identification of both pollen and images of Gundelia tournefortii and Zygophyllum dumosum are the most significant. The thorn G. tournefortii is insect pollinated and flowers from February to May. Such great numbers of pollen from this species could only have arrived on the Shroud from a flower being placed on it. Zygophyllum dumosum is restricted to Israel, western Jordan and Sinai, and its northernmost distribution occurs between Jerusalem and Jericho. [Danin, A. & Baruch, U., "Floristic indicators for the origin of the Shroud of Turin," in Minor, M., et. al., eds., "The Shroud of Turin: Unraveling the mystery," Proceedings of the 1998 Dallas Symposium, Alexander Books: Alexander NC, 2001, pp.202-214] The natural distributions of G. tournefortii and Z. dumosum overlap in two small areas, both in the Holy Land. From studying distribution grids of all the plants identified by pollen or images, Danin reported that the area the Shroud may have originated from is 10-20 kilometres east and west of Jerusalem." (Milne, L., 2005, "A Grain of Truth: How Pollen Brought a Murderer to Justice," New Holland: Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia, p.94).

"Aragonite as in Jerusalem ... The study of the area of the feet has been particularly interesting. In the greatly enlarged photographs, taken by Vernon Miller in 1978, one can see that the cloth looks dirty in the region corresponding to one of the heels. There, on the threads, is an exceptional amount of dust which helps one to think that the Man of the Shroud, very probably, had walked barefooted. [Archaeology, Vol. 34, No. 1, January-February 1981, p.41] Joseph Kohlbeck, an American crystallographer with the Hercules Aerospace Division, has identified a much greater concentration of calcium carbonate among the mineralogical particles present on the feet when compared with the other areas of the sheet. This calcium carbonate is, however, not the common calcite but a rarer form, the aragonite, with small amounts of strontium and iron. The comparison with samples of calcium carbonate taken from a tomb in Jerusalem has provided surprising similarities. Even in this case it is aragonite with small amounts of strontium and iron. Further chemical analyses, both on the aragonite found on the Shroud and that from Jerusalem, were carried out by means of a microprobe by Ricardo Levi-Setti of the University of Chicago. The two type samples have furnished extraordinarily similar results, which makes it highly probable that the aragonite on the Shroud came from Jerusalem. [Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 12, No. 4, July-August 1986, pp.23-24]" (Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, pp.206-207).

"Scientists found other interesting features connected with the Shroud. Joseph Kohlbeck, an optical crystallographer working for the Hercules Aerospace Divisions, which makes missiles, found particles of aragonite with small amounts of strontium and iron on the Shroud's fibers on the image of the foot. With the help of archaeologist Eugenia Nitowski, he obtained samples of limestone from inside ancient tombs in and near Jerusalem and subjected them also to microscopic analysis. He found the same substance. The aragonite on the Shroud and in the tombs was an uncommon variety, deposited from springs, typically found in limestone caves in Palestine, but not in Europe. The samples from the Shroud and the tombs provided `an usually close match,' suggesting to him and to Nitowski that the Shroud had once been in one of the `rolling-stone tombs' that were common in Palestine around the time of Christ and for several centuries before. Kohlbeck observed that those who believe that the Shroud is a forgery need to explain how the very rare aragonite found its way to the surface of the Shroud. [Kohlbeck, J.A. & Nitowski, E.L., "New Evidence May Explain image on Shroud," Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August, 1986, pp.23-24]" (Ruffin, C.B., 1999, "The Shroud of Turin: The Most Up-To-Date Analysis of All the Facts Regarding the Church's Controversial Relic," Our Sunday Visitor: Huntington IN, p.103).

"Another plant seen in a clear image on the Shroud is of the Zygophyllum dumosum species, according to the paper. This is a native plant with an unusual leaf morphology, displaying paired leaflets on the ends of leaf petiole of the current year during the beginning of winter. Gundelia tournefortii and Zygophyllum dumosum coexist in a limited area, according to Danin, a leading authority on plants of Israel. The area is bounded by lines linking Jerusalem and Hebron in Israel and Madaba and Karak in Jordan. The area is anchored toward the Jerusalem-Hebron zone with the addition of a third species, Cistus creticus, identified as being placed on the Shroud through an analysis of pollen and floral imaging. `This combination of flowers can be found in only one region of the world,' Danin stated. `The evidence clearly points to a floral grouping from the area surrounding Jerusalem.' Danin stated that the evidence revealing these species on the Shroud suggests that they were placed with the body prior to the process that caused the formation of images on the cloth." (Science Daily, August 3, 1999, "Botanical Evidence Indicates `Shroud Of Turin' Originated In Jerusalem Area Before 8th Century," XVI International Botanical Congress, St. Louis, MO).

"If this type of body-on-cloth action is natural, why are there so many burial garments that have no images of the person buried in them? Surely more than one burial cloth with a contact image on it would have been discovered. But so far as we know, the Shroud is unique in this regard. And even if another burial garment with an image caused by natural contact with a dead body were found, the image would still have to display the characteristics of the Shroud's image, which has been shown to be highly unlikely ... On the other hand, on a purely logical basis, if a completely natural process caused the Shroud image, why are there no others known in the entire world-especially since the Egyptians left us so many burial linens? Numerous sindonologists who believe in a natural process are troubled by this fact." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville TN, pp.127,201).

"The simple fact remains. No such impression on a winding-sheet has ever been found in any tomb, and we may add that it is materially impossible that such a thing should be found. Whatever may be the exact nature of the chemical process by which the impressions were produced, what concerns us now is the organic action exercised between a naked body and a prepared cloth. All such action is restricted by one essential condition, namely, that the body should have remained in contact with the cloth for too short a time to allow of putrefaction. If corruption set in, any impression previously made would be ipso facto destroyed. What indeed is found in a violated sepulchre ? A mummy or a skeleton. In either case the tomb could not have furnished a winding-sheet like the Holy Shroud. On the other hand, it is not possible for any one to have arrived at a method of producing such impressions, and this because of their altogether exceptional character." (Vignon, P., 1970, "The Shroud of Christ," [1902], University Books: New York NY, p.44).

"While there are images of hundreds of flowers on the Shroud, many are vague or incomplete. We feel Alan has identified, tentatively but with reasonable certainty, twenty-eight plants whose images are sufficiently clear and complete to make a good comparison with the drawings in Flora Palaestina. Of these twenty-eight plants, twenty-three are flowers, three are small bushes, and two are thorns. All twenty-eight grow in Israel. Twenty grow in Jerusalem itself, and the other eight grow potentially within the close vicinity of Jerusalem, either in the Judean Desert or in the Dead Sea area or in both. All twenty-eight would have been available in Jerusalem markets in a fresh state. Many would have been growing along the roadside or in nearby fields, available for the picking. A rather unique situation exists in that within Jerusalem and the surrounding twelve miles, four geographic areas exist with their differing specific climates and flora. Nowhere else are so many different types of species found so close together. Of these twenty-eight plants, Frei, working from the sticky tape slides, had previously identified the pollens of twenty-five of the same or similar plants. Twenty-seven of these twenty-eight bloom in March and April, which corresponds to the time of Passover and the Crucifixion. There are at least seven small bouquets in addition to the various bunched flowers. Some species of plants have wide geographic distribution. Using botanical references, Alan determined the ranges of the twenty-eight plants, noting whether they are found in central Europe, including France (botanical Zone I) or in the Mediterranean, including Italy (botanical Zone IV). Only three are found in central Europe. Nine are definitely found in Italy. Five more are found mostly in the eastern Mediterranean, which includes Israel, but might extend into Italy. Half are found only in the Middle East or other similar areas and never in Europe. Some skeptics have suggested that maybe the pollens were blown across the Mediterranean and deposited on the Shroud while it was on display in France or Italy. That is hardly likely, as many of these pollens are heavy pollens with prickly surfaces designed to be carried by insects, not by wind." (Whanger, 1998, pp.78-79).

"Considering that the underside of Christ's burial shroud had been in hard contact with the limestone burial platform of the cave-tomb, the intriguing question was whether the mineral coating on these pollens had come from rock in the same area. This question was taken up in 1986 by optical crystallographer Dr Joseph Kohlbeck, resident scientist at Hercules Aerospace, Colorado. He gained the support of archaeologist Dr Eugenia Nitowski, an expert in ancient Jewish tombs of Israel, who obtained for him some limestone samples from a first-century tomb in Jerusalem. Dr Kohlbeck closely analysed and compared his samples from the underside of the Shroud with Dr Nitowski's samples. In both instances he identified the calcium component to be of the aragonite variety, and in both he also uncovered traces of strontium and iron. In scientific terms, these points meant a close match. [Kohlbeck, J.A. & Nitowski, E.L., "New evidence may explain image on the Shroud of Turin," Biblical Archaeological Review, July/August 1986, p.23] There was still more that Dr Kohlbeck could do to test his evidence. He took his mineral-coated pollen samples and the limestone tomb samples to Dr Ricardo Levi-Setti at the Enrico Fermi Institute in the University of Chicago. The two scientists studied the patterns of spectra produced by the comparative samples through a high-resolution scanning ion microprobe. Although they were unable to prove beyond doubt that the Shroud aragonite had come from the Jerusalem area, the samples were found to be an unusually close match. This led Dr Kohlbeck to assess the strong probability that the Shroud limestone is of Jerusalem provenance." (Whiting, B., 2006, "The Shroud Story," Harbour Publishing: Strathfield NSW, Australia, pp.129-130).

"And there is one further supportive finding which has come to light ... which also takes us into yet another variety of extraneous material on the Shroud's surface: mineral deposits. ... back in 1982 STURP's Ray Rogers took some of the Shroud sticky-tape samples to his old friend optical crystallographer Dr Joseph Kohlbeck ... Kohlbeck began to take a lively interest in some of the particles of calcium carbonate (or limestone) that he immediately spotted among all the other debris on the tapes. ... these raised in his mind the interesting question of whether the chemical `signature' of these might in any way match that of the stone of the tomb in which Jesus was laid in Jerusalem. As ... the Church of the Holy Sepulchre... is at present so well protected against any further hacking about ... Kohlbeck ... reasoned that limestone rock inside other tombs in the Jerusalem vicinity ought to have roughly the same characteristics. ... archaeologist Dr Eugenia Nitowski ... was able to obtain for Kohlbeck the Jerusalem tomb limestone samples that he needed. He subjected them to microscopic analysis, quickly finding them to have precisely the sort of distinctive characteristics that he had hoped for. As he has explained: `This particular limestone was primarily travertine aragonite deposited from springs, rather than the more common calcite. Calcite and aragonite differ in their crystalline structure - calcite being rhombohedral [i.e. triangular] and aragonite orthorhombic [i.e. with three unequal axes at right angles to each other]. Aragonite is less common than calcite. Aragonite is formed under a much narrower range of conditions than calcite. In addition to the aragonite, our Jerusalem samples also contained small quantities of iron and strontium, but no lead.' [Kohlbeck, J.A. & Nitowski, E.L., "New Evidence May Explain Image on Shroud of Turin," Biblical Archaeology Review, July-August 1986, p.23] ... Kohlbeck proceeded to examine a sample of calcium taken from the Shroud in the very same foot area in which Roger and Mary Gilbert had come across the now famous `dirt'. This was chosen because it showed a larger and therefore potentially more significant concentration of calcium carbonate than other areas. To Kohlbeck's considerable satisfaction, the sample turned out to be of the rarer aragonite variety, exactly as in the case of the samples taken from the Jerusalem tombs. Not only this, but it also exhibited small amounts of strontium and iron, again suggesting a close match. But even these parallels were not enough to `prove' the needed signature, as a result of which Kohlbeck took both the Shroud samples and the Jerusalem tomb samples to Dr Ricardo Levi-Setti of the famous Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago. Here, Levi-Setti put both sets of samples through his high-resolution scanning ion microprobe, and as he and Kohlbeck studied the pattern of spectra produced by each ... it became quite obvious that they were indeed an unusually close match, the only disparity being a slight organic variation readily explicable as due to minute pieces of flax that could not be separated from the Shroud's calcium." (Wilson, I. , 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, pp.104-106).

"For, whatever anyone else may make of Danin's botanical `eye', what cannot be emphasized enough is that the location-type evidence, even from the pollens alone, is quite overwhelming. As Uri Baruch found, there are some instances in which he cannot be as specific about plant species as Frei was, but instead refers to a plant type. Possibly Frei may have been a little over-enthusiastic in his identification in these cases, or (since his death robbed us of ever knowing his full insights), it may have been because he found a way to manipulate the specimen in order to see it better. Either way, such differences are essentially minor, and the sceptics' slurs on Frei's memory are proved to be unfounded. As Danin sums up, particularly from superimposing the known distribution sites of Gundelia tournefortii, Zygophyllum dumosum and Cistus creticus, together with three further specific pollen types confirmed to be on the Shroud, [Lomelosia (Scabiosa) prolifera (L) Greuter et Burdet, Cistus incanus-type and Cistus salvifolius type] the very narrow geographical region that all these plants share in common is the mere twenty miles between Hebron and Jerusalem. [Danin, A., "Micro-traces of plants on the Shroud of Turin as geographical markers," in Scannerini, S. & Savarino, P., eds, "The Turin Shroud: Past, Present and Future," International scientific symposium, Turin, 2-5 March 2000," Effat?: Cantalupa, 2000, pp.495-500] So the conclusion is inescapable, in the very teeth of the radiocarbon dating, that at some time in its history the Turin Shroud positively must have been in the same environs in which Jesus of Nazareth lived and died." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., 2000, "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara Books: London, p.92).

"Perhaps the most tantalizing glimpse of all, however, came from reflectance spectroscopy work carried out by the husband-and-wife team Roger and Marty Gilbert in the course of the 1978 STURP examination. As they ran their equipment up and down the man of the Shroud's image the spectra they obtained proved relatively regular except when they reached the sole of the foot imprint on the back-of-the-body half of the cloth. Suddenly the spectra changed dramatically. Something in the foot area, and particularly around the heel, was giving a markedly stronger signal than elsewhere, but what? When optical physicist Sam Pellicori was summoned to view the area under the portable microscope the answer proved as chilling as it was obvious. Dead-pan, Pellicori pronounced, `It's dirt!' As might have been expected in an individual who had had even his sandals taken away from him, the man of the Shroud had dirty feet. During the March 2000 Turin sacristy viewing I and others, even with the unaided eye, could see the Shroud is significantly dirtier at the soles of the feet than anywhere else on the cloth, this dirt very visible underlying the serum-haloed bloodstains that otherwise coat the same soles. So had the Gilberts stumbled upon the very dirt from the streets of Jerusalem that had blackened the feet of Jesus of Nazareth two thousand years ago? In fact analysis of particles of limestone also found adhering to the Shroud have been identified by optical crystallographer Dr Joseph Kohlbeck as travertine aragonite that spectrally has a `signature' strikingly similar to limestone samples from ancient Jerusalem tombs, taken by archaeologist Dr Eugenia Nitowski. [Kohlbeck, J.A. & Nitowski, E.L., "New Evidence May Explain Image on Shroud of Turin," Biblical Archaeology Review, July-August 1986, pp.18-29] From such a variety of different directions, there is therefore the most striking evidence that rather than being a `cunning painting', some time in its history the Shroud really was used somewhere in the environs of Jerusalem to wrap the dirty and bloody corpse of a man who had just been crucified." (Wilson, & Schwortz, 2000, p.93).

Updated: 17 July 2015.


Dr. Peter J. Shield PhD said...

Hi Stephen, I'm sure we have never met though I was with Channel 10 in Perth (Good Morning Perth and my Magic Show on Saturday Mornings) in 1989/90.
I enjoyed your article and have been involved with the Shroud research for over 20 years. My book on the Shroud ("In The Image Of His God" ISBN 978-1-4327-2878-6 was launched at the Shroud Convention in Ohio last October. Rex Morgan is a dear friend. You may enjoy my web site or
Sincere regards
Dr. Peter J. Shield PhD,ARP

Stephen E. Jones said...


Thanks for your comment.

>My book on the Shroud ("In The Image Of His God" ... was launched at the Shroud Convention in Ohio last October.

From your Shroud of Turin Research website:

"In `In the Image of His God' Dr. Shield proposes an incredible scenario involving The Knights Templar, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pope John Paul II and a plot by the infamous Illuminati to bring about the downfall of the Catholic Church!"

I agree it is "incredible" in the original sense of "not credible."

Stephen E. Jones

Dawn Wessel said...

The Shroud of Turin can't possibly be an image of Christ. The gospels clearly say that Jesus was wrapped in 'strips' of cloth, except for a a type of hood over his head.

Stephen E. Jones said...


Thanks for your comment.

>The Shroud of Turin can't possibly be an image of Christ. The gospels clearly say that Jesus was wrapped in 'strips' of cloth, except for a a type of hood over his head.

No. As leading evangelical Christian theologian Dr. Gary Habermas (and others) has demonstrated in his two co-authored books, "Verdict on the Shroud" (1981) and "The Shroud and the Controversy" (1990), the Shroud is perfectly in harmony with the Gospel accounts of Jesus burial (as well as His suffering, death and resurrection), when the data in all four Gospels is carefully considered, especially in the original Greek.

The "strips of linen" in Lk 24:12; Jn 11:44; 19:40; 20:5-6 is a mistranslation by the NIV in being too specific when the underlying Greek words can just mean linen cloths.

The KJV more correctly translates those same verses by the more general "linen clothes" and "graveclothes." The NASB translates those verses as "linen wrappings." The NLT of those same verses has "linen wrappings" and "graveclothes" and "long sheets of linen cloth."

Also the NIV is at variance with Jewish burial customs, where bodies were enfolded in a shroud not wound around in strips or bandages like an Egyptian mummy.

The only strips that were used in Jewish burials are those tying the hands, feet and jaw, to keep them in place before rigor mortis set in. That is probably what is meant in Jn 11:44 where Lazarus was still bound by those linen strips, but it does not mean (or say) that he was otherwise naked, which he would be if those strips were all that he was wearing.

See my 2007 post "Bogus: Shroud of Turin? #1" and Does the Shroud Contradict the Gospels?.

Stephen E. Jones