Friday, May 10, 2013

The Shroud of Turin: 2.6. The other marks (5): Coins over eyes

This, belatedly, is "The other marks (5): Coins over the eyes", being part 16 of my series, "The Shroud of Turin." The previous post in this series was part 15, "2.6. The other marks (4): Plant images." For more information about this series see the Contents page. See also 05Feb17 and 18Apr20.

© Stephen E. Jones

Introduction As previously explained, by "other marks" is meant those significant marks on the Shroud of Turin which are not wounds (see "2.4. The wounds") or bloodstains (see "2.5. The Bloodstains"). Also the order in which these other marks are presented is from the most to the least obvious, not from the most to the least important.

A `button' over each eye In 1977, at a Shroud conference in Albuquerque New Mexico[1], future STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) members, John Jackson, Eric Jumper, Bill Mottern and Ken Stevenson (hereafter "Jackson, et al."), reported on their discovery, that using a VP-8 Image Analyzer, a computer which displayed shades of grey on a photograph as three-dimensional degrees of relief[2], that there was three-dimensional information encoded in the Shroud of Turin's image[3]. We will examine that further in "6. Science and the Shroud." Jackson, et al. also reported that, over each eye of the man on the Shroud, there appeared to be an object resembling a small button[4].

[Above (enlarge): Display of three-dimensional information encoded in the face of the man on the Shroud[5]. The original source is probably Prof. Giovanni Tamburelli (1923-90) [see 18Apr20] of the Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni (CSELT) S.p.A., Turin, Italy[6]. Note the small, round, raised, object over each eye.]

Coins After considering various alternatives, Jackson, et al. concluded that the objects were what they appeared to be, two solid objects resting on top of each eyelid[7]. This agreed with ancient Jewish burial custom where pottery fragments or coins were sometimes placed over the eyes of their deceased[8]. Since the images of the two objects were nearly circular and each about the same size, between 1-5 mm thick, with an average diameter of about 14 mm[9], Jackson, et al., proposed that they might be coins[10]. They noted that if they were coins, it would be a way of dating the Shroud image[11]. But the small Shroud photographs they were using could not be magnified sufficiently to provide that level of detail[12]. Nevertheless, Jumper, Stevenson, and Jackson, submitted an article to the coin magazine, The Numismatist, which appeared in its July 1978 edition[13], proposing the theory that the three-dimensional images of objects over the eyes on the man of the Shroud of Turin might be coins[14].

Leptons Historian Ian Wilson then suggested several Judean lepton(Greek lepton, Hebrew prutah)[15] bronze coins which were about the size as the button-like images[16]. Wilson noted that a lepton coined by Pontius Pilate (the Roman governor of Judea from AD 26 to 36) in AD 30-31, the `widow's mite' of the Gospels (Mk 12:42 & Lk 21:2 KJV)[17], was an especially close match[18].

Prof. Giovanni Tamburelli In 1978, Prof. Giovanni Tamburelli of the University of Turin, after seeing Jackson, et al.'s three-dimensional images from poor-quality photographs of the Shroud, commenced his own computer processing of higher quality Shroud photographs[19]. Tamburelli's own independent computer processing of three-dimensional information contained in the Shroud's image found that there was a "circular mark on the right eyelid probably left by a coin"[20]. However, Tamburelli was unable to determine whether the object over the left eye was a coin and so he interpreted it as a "wrinkled clot on the left eyelid"[21]. After Prof. Tamburelli's death in 1990 his work was continued by a University of Turin team supervised by Prof. Nello Balossino[22].

Prof. Francis Filas In 1979, Fr. Francis Filas (1915-85)[23], Professor of Theology at Loyola University of Chicago"[24], while looking at an enlargement of the Shroud's face image on an Enrie 1931 sepia print, happened to notice a design over the right eye[25]. Filas had presented a paper at the 1977 Shroud conference where Jackson, et al. reported they had found what might have been images of coins over the eyes of the man on the Shroud[26]. Filas showed the print to Michael Marx, a Chicago numismatist (coin expert), who examined the right eye under his magnifier and confirmed the presence of four Greek capital letters in a curve, which appeared to be "ECAI"[27]. Filas obtained F.W. Madden's "History of Jewish Coinage and of Money in the Old and New Testament" (1864)[28]. Filas was aware that Ian Wilson had suggested that the size and shape of Jackson, et al.'s button-like objects over the man's eyes fitted several coins from the time of Pontius Pilate, so he consulted the catalogue of all Pontius Pilate coins in the British Museum[29]. Filas and Marx came to the conclusion that the "E" was actually a "U" and so the four letters they could detect over the right eye of the man on the Shroud were "UCAI"[30].

[Above (enlarge): Enrie 1931 negative photograph of right eye area of the man on the Shroud [31], with shepherd's crook or astrologer's staff (L. lituus) feature only found on Pontius Pilate lepton coins minted during his governorship of Judaea and tiny letters (see next)]

Pontius Pilate Filas then realised that the four letters "UCAI" curved from 9:30 o'clock to 11:30 o'clock around a Roman astrologer's staff called a lituus[32] The lituus was a constant motif in Roman coins minted by Pontius Pilate between AD 29-32, but not anywhere else in the Roman world except occasionally as a minor side decoration[33]. Filas theorised that the letters "UCAI" were part of the inscription "TIBEPIOUKAICAPOC" ("Of Tiberius Caesar") or of the abbreviation "TIOUKAICAPOC" ("Of Caesar") with the "C" being an alternative spelling of "K"[34].

[Above (enlarge): Coin area of right eye magnified (left), clearly showing letter "A" to the left of the lituus (red arrow), near the top of the lituus. Note also the curled top of the lituus (orange arrow) and its tail (yellow arrow). The bottom half of a letter "K" above and to the right of the "A" and a letter "I" to the left and below the "A" can also be seen, each in the correct relative position to the lituus on a Pontius Pilate lepton. Because Enrie's 1931 photograph is a negative, the lituus and letters are laterally inverted[35]. Allowing for this, the relative positions of the lituus and the letter "A", "K" and "I", which were part of the inscription, "TIBERIOU CAICAROC" (Tiberius Caesar, Roman Emperor from AD 14-37) closely match.]

[Above (enlarge): Pontius Pilate lepton with "UCAI" variant of usual "UKAI", given to Fr. Francis in 1979 by numismatist Bill Yarbrough[36]. Note the coin's lituus is in the shape of a reversed question mark, which numismatist Mario Moroni correctly pointed out (see below) cannot be the lepton version which made the imprint on the Shroud. The written letters "IOUCAI" are Filas', therefore Filas interpreted the "A" as being vertically above the staff of the lituus.]

Another numismatist, Bill Yarbrough, in 1979 gave Filas a Pontius Pilate coin which closely matched that which is over the right eye of the man on the Shroud and its inscription was (Filas thought) the abbreviated "TIBERIOUKAICAROC"[37]. It wasn't until 1981, when Filas had a photograph of this coin enlarged 22 times, that he realised what he thought was a "K" in the "UKAI" part of the inscription was actually a "C"[38]. So Filas had in his possession a Pontius Pilate lepton[39] coin with the rare variant "UCAI" spelling that had previously not been known to have existed[40]. In the next two years Filas was shown two other Pontius leptons with the "K" in "KAICAPOC" misspelled "C"[41]. Filas noted:

The pattern of the coin in question has six elements: an astrologer's staff called a lituus; a diagonal clip off the coin from 1 to 3 o'clock; and four Greek letters, "UCAI," from 9:30 to 11:30 o'clock. The respective locations, dimensions, angles, selection, and order of the Greek letters fit both the Shroud imprints and those on the Pontius Pilate coin. Father Filas adds, "This fit is so close that I was able to superimpose the imprints of the Shroud and the coin on a projection screen, so that they coincided."[42]

Probability For the "Mathematical Appendix" of his 1980 monograph[43], Filas had engaged a Professor of Mathematics to determine the probability of a chance appearance in the weave over the right eye of the Shroud the lituus and the letters "UCAI", in the correct positions relative to each other, instead of them being an imprint of an actual Pontius Pilate coin[44]. The result was "an astronomical number that staggers the imagination" (my emphasis):

All these probabilities should now be combined with the earlier calculation for the lituus to occur by random in its own position, upright, and with a turning of its crook to the right: (1.827 x 106) x (3.4085 x 1036) = 6.2273 x 1042 This is approximately one chance in 6 with 42 zeroes following it that the lituus and UCAI are fallacious patterns on the weave of the Shroud, accidentally duplicating markings on the coins of Pontius Pilate. It certainly is possible that individual steps in this calculation can be challenged in favor of some other calculation of probabilities, but there can be no reasonable doubt that the chance of random appearance is one chance in an astronomical number that staggers the imagination, suggested here as 6 million times a trillion times a trillion times a trillion[45].

Log/E Interpretations Systems In 1981, Filas commissioned Log/E Interpretations Systems to digitise photographs of both eye areas of the Shroud[46]. Their enhancement for the right eye area showed clearly the letters UCAI, the curving staff and the coin outline[47].

Haralick report In 1983, Fr. Filas arranged with Dr. Robert M. Haralick, then Director of the Spatial Data Analysis Laboratory of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, to do a full-scale three-dimensional computer image analysis of Filas' Enrie 1931 photographs of the Shroud[48]. Filas also gave Haralick a Pontius Pilate lepton[49] and a 1978 STURP colour photograph of the Shroud taken by Vernon Miller[50] Haralick spent about 6 months doing a variety of digital enhancements to the photographs[51] publishing his findings in 1983 in a 66-page monograph, "Analysis of Digital images of the Shroud of Turin"[52]. Haralick's report included (my emphasis):

A number of digital enhancements were performed on imagery digitized from the 1931 Enrie photographs of the Shroud and a 1978 S.T.U.R.P. photograph taken by Vernon Miller. The enhancements provide supporting evidence that the right eye area of the Shroud image contains remnants of patterns similar to those of a known Pontius Pilate coin dating from 29 A.D. [p.2]

... Thus, in the enlargement of the right eye image we find supporting evidence for a bright oval area: a shepherd's staff pattern as the main feature in the bright area; and bright segment patterns just to the side and top of the staff pattern, which in varying degrees match to the letters OUCAIC. [p.34]

... This evidence cannot be said to be conclusive evidence that an image of the Pontius Pilate coin appears in the right eye of the Enrie Shroud Image ... however, the evidence is definitely supporting evidence because there is some degree of match between what one would expect to find if the Shroud did indeed contain a faint image of the Pilate coin and what we can in fact observe in the original and in the digitally produced images. [p.34][53]
Dr Alan Whanger Duke University Professor of Psychiatry, Dr Alan Whanger (whose discovery of plant images on the Shroud was covered in a previous post) was aware of Jackson, et al.'s proposal that two button-like objects, one over each eye of the man on the Shroud, as revealed in a three-dimensional representation of a Shroud photograph in a VP-8 Image Analyzer, might be coins[54], and that Ian Wilson had pointed out that there were several coins from the time of Pontius Pilate which would correspond to the size of the "buttons"[55]. Whanger had pioneered a "Polarized Image Overlay" technique which enabled points of congruence between features on the Shroud's early artistic representations of Jesus (e.g. on coins and icons) to be determined[56]. So when Whanger read that Filas claimed to have found a lituus and the curving letters "UCAI" consistent with a Pontius Pilate lepton, he contacted Filas offering to examine his evidence[57]. Filas was so pleased that someone in the Shroud community was taking him seriously enough to examine his evidence that he sent Whanger copies of photographs of his lepton coins and also the Log/E Interpretations Systems computer enhancements[58].

Polarized Image Overlay Dr Whanger's Polarized Image Overlay technique revealed 74 points of congruence (PC) between the image on the right eye of the Shroud and Filas' lituus lepton[59]. For the object over the left eye see below. Such points of congruence between the object over the right eye of the Shroud and the Filas coin included: a clipped edge on one side; the letters on both are about 1.5 mm high; the letters match in that both have about half of the letter "U", all of the letter "C", two-thirds of the letter "A", the lower half of the letter "I" and the same parts of other letters[60]. Both the object over the Shroud's right eye and Filas' coin have the same circular die defect at the base of the letter "A"[61]. Therefore, Whanger concluded that the Filas coin must be a die-mate of the coin that made the image on the right eye of the Shroud[62]. Whanger subsequently claimed that he had found 211 points of congruence and 86 discordant points between the object over the right eye of the Shroud and Filas' "UCAI" lepton[63]. And all in an area smaller than a finger print[64]!

[Above (enlarge): Obverse of a Pontius Pilate lepton showing letters "LIH" (in red border) indicating that it was minted in AD 29 AD: the 16th regnal year of Tiberius Caesar (see below)"[65]

[Above (enlarge): Diagram of Pontius Pilate lepton with "LIH" in the centre of the obverse side[66]. Although it says that "L. IH" means the 18th regnal year = AD 31, it also says that the coin was adopted by Pontius Pilate in AD 29.]

Using his Polarized Image Overlay technique, Dr Whanger was able to identify the letters "LIH" on a photograph of the obverse side of Filas' coin[67]. Dating of Roman coins then was according to the regnal year of the Emperor and Greek letters were used as numbers[68]. The letters "LIH" stand for: "L" the letters following have numerical value, "I" number value of ten, and "S" is the number value of six, therefore the sixteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, which is AD 29[69]. This AD 29 date of Filas' coin was independently confirmed by William Pettit, Research Specialist for the Standard Catalog of World Coins[70]. It follows that if the object over the right eye of the Shroud is a coin that is a die-mate of the "UCAI" coin owned by Fr. Filas, and the latter has the date "LIH" on its obverse side, then that would be further evidence (if not proof) that the Shroud of Turin is Jesus' burial sheet.

However, while I accept that Dr Whanger has found points of congruence between the image over the right (and left-see below) eye of the Shroud and a Pontius Pilate lituus (and Julia-see below) lepton, I was already sceptical of Whanger's claims to have found so many PC's in such a small area. But again, as Moroni correctly pointed out (see below), Filas, and therefore Whanger, were comparing a Pontius Pilate lepton coin with a reversed question mark shaped lituus when the coin which made the imprint over the right eye of the Shroud, must have had a lituus shaped like a question mark. If this is correct, then it exposes a major problem of false positives in Whanger's Polarize Image Overlay method. If Whanger can find 211 points of congruence between the object over the right eye of the man on the Shroud and the wrong coin then clearly his Polarized Image Overlay method is unreliable, at least when pushed to extremes. The fundamental problem seems to be that it is only Whanger who decides what is a point of congruence. But then there is the danger that, "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"[71].

Mario Moroni Italian numismatist Mario Moroni in 1988 identified on the actual linen of the Shroud over the right eye a lituus shape similar to a question mark[72]. And as Moroni has correctly

[Above (enlarge): Enlargement of lituus and letter "A" (as well as part "K", "I" and "C") from right eye of Enrie sepia negative in plate 1 of Vignon (1939) [left] compared with Mario Moroni's correct interpretation of the lituus as a question mark shape on a photographic negative of the Shroud [right][73], based on the relative location of the letter "A" on the opposite top side of the lituus from its vertical shaft.]

pointed out, that and the fact that a negative photograph of the Shroud, such as that of Enrie 1931, shows a lituus with a question mark shape, means the lituus on the coin that made the image over the right eye of the Shroud must also have had the shape of a question mark[74] (see below). But this is the opposite of Filas' "UCAI" coin (see above).

[Above (enlarge): Illustration how, since the lituus on Enrie's negative photograph is in the shape of a question mark (left), then the positive lituus image on the right eye of the Shroud must be a reversed question mark shape (centre). Which in turn means that the lepton coin which made the imprint on the Shroud must be in the shape of a question mark (right). Readers can verify this for themselves by clicking on the above illustration, printing it, and cutting out each of the three circles with their `lituus' question marks. Place the "Coin lituus" circle over their right eye with the printing side uppermost to represent the coin face close to the Shroud. Then facing a light, superimpose the "Shroud right eye" circle over the "Coin lituus" circle with the two printing sides facing each other, to represent the Shroud over the coin. It will be seen that "Shroud right eye" reversed question mark matches the "Coin lituus" question mark. Then confirm that the "Enrie negative" question mark lituus must be a question mark because it would be laterally inverted from the "Shroud right eye" reversed question mark. This simple experiment proves that Filas (and Whanger) used the wrong coin to compare with the object over the Shroud's right eye[75].]

Moroni has found five examples of a dilepton with a lituus shaped like a question mark[76], which were struck by Pontius Pilate in AD 29-31[77] (see below). Moroni also claimed that because Filas wrongly thought the lepton coin's lituus was a reversed question mark shape, he mistook what was the curved end of the lituus for a letter "C" when in reality there is part of a letter "K" next to the "A", making the four letters "UKAI", which is part of the inscription "TIBERIOU KAICAROC" ("of Tiberius Caesar")[78].

[Above( enlarge): Pontius Pilate AD 29 dilepton with rare reversed lituus shaped like a question mark[79].]

[Above (enlarge): "Pontius Pilate Reverse Lituus ... LIZ Crucifixion Prutah 30-31AD (Rare)": (photo no longer online)]

Left eye The object over the left eye, unlike that over the right eye[80], is not recognizable by the human eye[81]. Nevertheless, Filas on the minimal evidence on an enlargement of a 1931 Enrie photograph of the Shroud face, of three short curving lines that spread away from each other, suggested that the object over the left eye was also a Pontius Pilate lepton, but with the design of a sheaf of barley instead of a lituus[82]. This design is found on a Pontius Pilate coin known as the Julia lepton, which was minted only in AD 29 in honor of Julia, the mother of Tiberius Caesar[83]. When Whanger applied his Polarized Image Overlay system to a copy of Filas' photograph he found 73 points of congruence between the left eye image and a Julia lepton[84].

[Above (enlarge): Julia lepton with three barley sheaves on one side and a simpulum (Roman sacrificial vessel) and letters meaning "Tiberius Caesar" on the other: Edgar L. Owen, Ltd.]

[Above (enlarge): Location of Pontius Pilate Julia lepton (AD 29) over the left eyebrow, and Pontius Pilate lituus lepton (AD 31) over the right eye, of the man on the Shroud, as revealed by three-dimensional computer enhancements of a Shroud photograph[85].]

In 1996 Professors Pierluigi Baima-Bollone and Nello Balossino of the University of Turin announced that on the arch of the left eyebrow they had detected by three-dimensional enhancement the outline of a coin later identified as a lepton simpulum, or Julia lepton, struck by Pontius Pilate in AD 29[86]. They also claim to have detected the inscription "TIBERIOU KAICAROC" ("of Tiberius Caesar")[87] followed by the three letters "LIS" which means "sixteenth year", where L stands for year, I for 10 and S for 6[88]. That is, the 16th year of the Emperor Tiberius, which corresponds to the AD 29.[89]. So there appears to be an unresolved issue between Filas and Whanger who claimed to see over the left eyelid of the man on the Shroud evidence of the sheaf of three barley ears side of a Julia lepton, and Baima-Bollone and Balossino who claimed to see evidence of the other simpulum side of the same type of coin. Perhaps they are both right and, either there were two Julia leptons placed over the left eye of the man on the Shroud? Or the Julia lepton over the left eyebrow is a reflection or second image of the same Julia lepton over the left eyelid?

[Above (enlarge): Enlargement of object over the left eyebrow of the Shroud showing a simpulum which is the major feature of a Julia lepton[90].]

Jean-Philippe Fontanille Jean-Philippe Fontanille is a Pontius Pilate coins specialist[91] in Montreal, Canada[92]. He scanned a colour photograph of the Shroud face in a French magazine, Dossiers d'Archéologie[93]. Fontanille then employed an image extraction method to identify coin images from his scanned photograph of Shroud right and left eye areas (see below)[94]. Fontanille then, using an image extraction process, took out the the high spots on the coin as the most likely to have leave an image on the Shroud[95]. Fontanille claimed his approach was "scientific" and "unbiased"[96], thereby implying that other approaches were not. But there are questions about the suitability of the photograph Fontanille used[97], and although he claimed his image extraction method was scientific, Fontanille has never provided details, nor allowed independent verification, of it[98]. And as can be seen below, Fontanille's image and letter identifications showed the coins placed horizontally across the eyes on the Shroud, not vertically as identified by Filas and all other Shroud coin experts[99]. And since it can be seen above that the lituus shape in the object over the right eye is vertical, not horizontal, Fontanille's identification must be rejected as obviously wrong.

[Above: Right and left eye enhancements of a Shroud colour photograph, compared with a Pontius Pilate lepton, by Jean-Philippe Fontanille[100].

Image formation In 1982 Dr Alan Whanger showed an overlay of the Filas coin and the computer enhancement of the right eye area to STURP member the late Dr. Alan Adler, a Professor of Chemistry at Western Connecticut State University[101]. Prof. Adler realised that he was seeing a clue to the image formation[102]. The image over the Shroud's right eye was only of the high points and rough spots of the coin, which is a characteristic corona discharge[103]. The electrical energy is then discharged as ionized streamers from irregular or elevated areas of the object rather than from smooth surfaces[104]. In corona discharge, ionizing electrical energy spreads over the surface of any object in the electrical field, whether it be flesh, hair, cloth, metal, etc[105]. Whanger then contacted Oswald Scheuermann, a high school physics teacher in Germany who had experimented with corona discharge (see part 15). Whanger sent Scheuermann a lituus lepton, and Scheuermann returned a piece of linen bearing a corona discharge image of the lepton (see below), which was similar to that over the right eye on the Shroud[106].

[Above: Image of Pontius Pilate lituus lepton imprinted on linen by Corona image of lepton on film by Oswald Scheuermann using corona discharge[107.] But note that while there are similarities with the object over the right eye of the Shroud there are also differences. The image on the Shroud is much fainter and less detailed, for one. And it does not follow that the coin (and plant - see part 15) images on the Shroud were formed by the same process which formed the body image. We will examine this in more detail in "10. How was the Image Formed?"]

Objections Devout Jews wouldn't follow the pagan practice of placing coins over the eyes of their dead The pagan Greeks placed coins in the mouths of their dead to pay the mythical ferryman Charon to carry their souls across the River Styx to Hades[108]. But the Jews had no such belief, and placing coins on their dead for that reason would have been anathema to them[109]. However, it was a Jewish custom to close the eyes of their deceased and the placement of coins over their eyelids was a practical way of keeping them shut[110]. The lepton was actually a Jewish coin, even though minted by the Romans[111], and since it was acceptable as a Temple offering (see above on "widow's mite")[112], it bearing no idolatrous image of the Emperor, there would be no religious reason for Jews not to use leptons to ensure the eyes of their dead remained closed. And Jewish skulls have been found with at least one coin over their eye sockets or inside their skulls[113]. But coins inside the skull can only have fallen through from the eye sockets as coins in the mouth would fall out of the skull[114]. In 1970, at at `En Boqeq, a second-century excavation in the Judean Desert, a skeleton of a man who had been buried in about AD 133 was found with silver coins placed over both his eye sockets[115]. Since the area was a zone south of Jerusalem where Jews were permitted after the Bar Kokhba revolt of AD 132, it is likely the man was a Jew[116]. In 1979, Jewish archaeologist Rachel Hachlili reported that she had found in a Jewish community cemetery[117] outside of Jericho dated from the first century BC to the first century AD, skulls with coins inside them[118]. One skull contained two bronze coins of Herod Agrippa I (AD 37-44), another skull tomb, a bronze coin of Herod Archelaus (4 BC-AD 6) was found in a damaged skull and a coin of Jewish king John Hyrcanus II from 63-40 BC was found in the same tomb[119].

The coins and are merely random patterns in the Shroud's weave Filas answered this objection with two points. First, the Shroud has been inspected and:

"Such inspection fails to reveal anything like intelligible patterns. Granted, fanciful and imaginary forms seem to show up, looking like swans or capital or cursive letters in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin form, even apparent faces with two eyes and a mouth. But nowhere does all this add up to a combination of intelligibility that reflects deliberate spelling and rational composition."[120].
Whanger, who has spent many years examining Shroud photographs in great detail, agrees with Filas in this[121].

Filas' second point is that, as we saw above, the probability of the combination of the lituus and the four letters "UCAI" (or "UKAI") to occur by chance over an eye of the man on the Shroud, in the correct order and curving around the lituus as it does on a Pontius Pilate lepton, is about 1 chance in 10 with 42 zeroes after it[122].

Conclusion The bottom line is that: first, there are two round, flat, discs over the eyes of the man on the Shroud as revealed in Jackson, et al.'s three-dimensional VP-8 Image Analyzer `relief map' of the Shroud. Second, these discs are the right size and shape of small, bronze lepton coins minted by Pontius Pilate between AD 29-32. Third, Jews in the first century did place coins over the eyes of their dead to ensure their eyes stayed closed. Fourth, it can be seen above that there is a question mark shaped lituus and at least a letter "A" in the correct location for a dilepton coin struck by Pontius Pilate between AD 29-31. Fifth, the probability that there is a lituus and one letter in the correct position over one of the eyes of the man on the Shroud is 1 in 1.827 x 106 x 6.1389 x 108[123] = 1.1216 x 1015, i.e. 121 with 13 zeroes after it. Therefore the evidence is very strong that there is an image of a Pontius Pilate dilepton minted between AD 29-32 over the right eye of the Shroud. This is true irrespective of whether there is over the left eye the image of one or two Julia leptons, minted by Pontius Pilate in AD 29; and despite the mistake of Filas and Whanger in not realising that since the lituus on the image of the coin in an Enrie 1931 negative photograph over the right eye of the Shroud has a reversed question mark shape, then the Pontius Pilate lepton coin which was the basis of that image must have a question mark shape.

Problem for the forgery theory Finally, this is yet another problem for the forgery theory. A medieval, or earlier, forger would have had to imprint the tiny letters 1.3 mm (1/32 inch), four of which are barely visible, and the rest invisible to the naked eye, on linen, in photographic negative[124, §16], when the very concept of photographic negativity did not exist until the early 19th century[125, §17]. Moreover, these leptons were not identified as being coined by Pontius Pilate until the early 1800s[126], so even in the unlikely event the 14th century or earlier forger knew of these coins, he would have no reason to think they were significant.

Response to Dan Porter In a post, "The Forger and the Coins: One in a Gazillion with 13 Zeroes," Dan Porter, owner of the Shroud of Turin Blog, has criticised my post above, dismissing the evidence for the coins over the eyes of the man on the Shroud as "pure pareidolia":

"... But this is so only if you believe that the images of coins are there. I've spent years considering this question; I don't believe they're there. What people see, I think, is pure pareidolia.

But pareidolia is (my emphasis):

"...a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant ... Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds ..."[127]

"... the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features"[128].
However, in this Porter is simply ignoring the evidence above, for example, that Jackson, et al. found on their VP-8 Image Analyzer three-dimensional `relief map' of the Shroud, images of two, round, flat objects over the eyes, which were the same size and shape of Pontius Pilate leptons. They did not "imagine" them-the images really are there. And this was confirmed by others using different three-dimensional computer processing. Even if the details on the face of those two objects could not be seen, it would still be a reasonable conclusion that they are Pontius Pilate leptons. And Porter is simply ignoring the improbability that a lituus shape and even one letter, in the correct order and angle of rotation around the lituus (both of which can be clearly seen on the Shroud - see above) `just happen' to be chance patterns in the Shroud weave, which `just happen' to be over the eye of the man on the Shroud, is of the order of 1 in 1.1216 x 1015. Not to mention that the `chance patterns' are three-dimensional, round and flat!

From other things Porter has written, for example, his preferring a naturalistic explanation of the Shroud's image, I assume that he does not want there to be images of coins over the Shroud man's eyes because that would be more problems for a naturalistic explanation of the Shroud's image, and further evidence for a supernaturalistic explanation of it. Therefore Porter blithely dismisses all the evidence above that there are Pontius Pilate coins over the eyes of the man on the Shroud with the `magic' word "pareidolia"! But in so doing he goes far beyond what the word "pareidolia" means. However, Porter is welcome to his beliefs and I don't see my role as convincing him, or anyone, but just presenting the evidence and letting my readers make up their own minds.

1. Stevenson, K.E., ed., 1977, "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY. [return]
2. Jackson, J.P., Jumper, E.J., Mottern, R.W. & Stevenson, K.E., 1977, "The Three Dimensional Image On Jesus' Burial Cloth," in Stevenson, 1977, p.78. [return]
3. Jackson, et. al., 1977, p.74. [return]
4. Jackson, et. al., 1977, p.89. [return]
5: "The 3D image produced by the NASA [sic] image analyser VP-8," Note that if this 3D image was produced by Prof. Tamburelli, then it was not produced by a VP-8 mage analyser but by a different and more advanced computer enhancement process. [return]
6. Tamburelli, G., 1982, "Reading the Holy Shroud, called the Fifth Gospel, with the Aid of the Computer," Shroud Spectrum International, March, pp.3-11. [return]
7. Jackson, et. al., 1977, pp.89-90. [return]
8. Jackson, et. al., 1977, p.90. [return]
9. Jumper, et al., 1978, p.1354. [return]
10. Jackson, et. al., 1977, p.90. [return]
11. Ibid. [return]
12. Wilson, I., 1979, "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus?," Image Books: New York NY, Revised edition, p.231. [return]
13. Jumper, E.J., Stevenson, E.K., Jr. & Jackson, J.P., 1978. "Images of Coins on a Burial Cloth?," The Numismatist, July, pp.1349-1357. [return]
14. Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., 1990, "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, p.65. [return]
15. Baima Bollone, P., 2000, "Images of Extraneous Objects on the Shroud," in Scannerini, S. & Savarino, P., 2000, eds, "The Turin Shroud: Past, Present and Future," International scientific symposium, Turin, 2-5 March 2000," Effatà: Cantalupa, p.133. [return]
16. Jackson, et. al., 1977, p.90. [return]
17. Wilson, 1979, p.231. [return]
18. Jackson, et. al., 1977, p.90. [return]
19. Diocese of Turin, nd, "The Holy Shroud: A three dimensional image". [return]
20. Tamburelli, 1982, p.5. [return]
21. Tamburelli, 1982, p.5. [return]
22. Diocese of Turin, nd. [return]
23. "Rev. Filas, Professor At Loyola," Chicago Tribune, February 17, 1985. [return]
24. "Obituary - Fr. Francis L. Filas, S.J.," British Society for the Turin Shroud Newsletter, No. 10, April 1985. [return]
25. Filas, F.L., 1980, "The Dating of the Shroud of Turin from Coins of Pontius Pilate," Cogan Productions: Youngtown AZ, p.3. [return]
26. Filas, F.J., 1977, "Ideal Attitudes Concerning Research on the Shroud of Turin," in Stevenson, 1977, pp.13-15. [return].
27. Filas, 1980, p.3. [return]
28. Ibid. [return]
29. Ibid. [return]
30. Filas, 1980, pp.3-4. [return]
31. Vignon, P., 1939, "Le Saint Suaire de Turin: Devant La Science, L'archéologie, L'histoire, L'iconographie, La Logique," Masson et Cie. Éditeurs: Paris, Second edition, plate 1. [return]
32. Filas, 1980, p.4. [return]
33. Ibid. [return]
34. Antonacci, M., 2000, "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, pp.102-103. [return]
35. Moroni, M., 1991, "Pontius Pilate's Coin on the Right Eye of the Man in the Holy Shroud, in the Light of the New Archaeological Findings," 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, p.286. [return]
36. Filas, F.L., 1981, "`Missing Link' Coin of Pontius Pilate Proves Authenticity, Place of Origin, and Approximate Dating of the Shroud Of Turin," News Release, Loyola University of Chicago, September 1, p.5. [return]
37. Filas, 1980, p.4. [return]
38. Filas, 1981, p.2. [return]
39. Filas, 1981, p.4. [return]
40. Iannone, J.C., 1998, "The Mystery of the Shroud of Turin: New Scientific Evidence," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.41. [return]
41. Iannone, 1998, p.41. [return]
42. Filas, 1981, p.2. [return]
43. Filas, 1980, pp.11-12. [return]
44. Whanger & Whanger, 2008, p.137. [return]
45. Filas, 1980, p.12. [return]
46. Whanger, M.W. & Whanger, A.D., 1998, "The Shroud of Turin: An Adventure of Discovery," Providence House Publishers: Franklin TN, p.25. [return]
47. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.25. [return]
48. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.30. [return]
49 Oxley, M., 2010, "The Challenge of the Shroud: History, Science and the Shroud of Turin," AuthorHouse: Milton Keynes UK, p.176. [return]
50. Iannone, 1998, p.39. [return]
51. Whanger, A.D. & M.W., 2008, "Revisiting the Eye Images: What are They?," in Fanti, G., ed., 2009, "The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma," Proceedings of the 2008 Columbus Ohio International Conference, August 14-17, 2008, Progetto Libreria: Padua, Italy, p.136. [return]
52. Whanger & Whanger, 2008, p.136. [return]
53. Iannone, 1998, pp.39-40 [return]
54. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.22. [return]
55. Ibid. [return]
56. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, pp.16-19. [return]
57. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, pp.23-26. [return]
58. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.26. [return]
59. Ibid. [return]
60. Ibid. [return]
61. Ibid. [return]
62. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, pp.26-27. [return]
63. Whanger & Whanger, 2008, p.137. [return]
64. Ibid. [return]
65. "Ancient Resource: Pontius Pilate-Authentic Ancient Coins for Sale," 6 April 2013]. [return]
66. Madden, F.W., 1864, "History of Jewish Coinage, and of Money in the Old and New Testament," p.149. (Google e-book). [return]
67. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, pp.27-28. [return]
68. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.28. [return]
69. Ibid. [return]
70. Ibid. [return]
71. "Law of the instrument," Wikipedia, 12 March 2013. [return]
72. Moroni, 1991, p.276. [return]
73. Moroni, 1991, p.286 (modified). [return]
74. Moroni, 1991, p.277. [return]
75. Moroni, 1991, p.286. [return]
76. Moroni, 1991, p.277. [return]
77. Moretto, 1999, p.51. [return]
78. Moroni, 1991, p.283-286. [return]
79. Moretto, 1999, p.51. [return]
80. Moroni, 1991, p.276. [return]
81. Oommen, T.V., 2008, "Shroud Coins Dating by Image Extraction," in Fanti, 2009, p.129. [return]
82. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.24. [return]
83. Ibid. [return]
84. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.26. [return]
85. Schiatti, L., 1998, "The Shroud: A Guide to the Reading of an Image Full of Mystery," St Pauls: Staten Island NY, p.31. [return]
86. Moretto, G., 1999, "The Shroud: A Guide," Neame, A., transl., Paulist Press: Mahwah NJ, p.51. [return]
87. Baima Bollone, 2000, p.132. [return]
88. Balossino, N., 2000, "Computer Processing of the Body Image," in Scannerini & Savarino, 2000, p.121. [return]
89. Balossino, 2000, p.121. [return]
90. Schiatti, 1998, p.31. [return]
91. Oommen, 2008, in Fanti, 2009, p.128. [return]
92. Oommen, 2008, p.129. [return]
93. Ibid. [return]
94. Ibid. [return]
95. Ibid. [return]
96. Ibid. [return]
97. Oommen, 2008, p.131. [return]
98. Ibid. [return]
99. Ibid. [return]
100. Fontanille, J-P., 2001, "The Coins of Pontius Pilate," Shangri-La Publications: Ithaca NY, in "The Coinage Evidence", The Holy Shroud of Turin, 7 May 2010. [return]
101. Whanger & Whanger, 1998, p.28. [return]
102. Ibid. [return]
103. Ibid. [return]
104. Ibid. [return]
105. Ibid. [return]
106. Ibid. [return]
107. "Image produced on linen by corona discharge from lepton by Scheuermann," Council for Study of the Shroud of Turin, 29 September 1998 [return]
108. "Charon (mythology)," Wikipedia, 18 April 2013. [return]
109. Ruffin, 1999, p.107. [return]
110. Ruffin, 1999, p.107. [return]
111. Guerrera, V., 2000, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.100. [return]
112. Jackson, et al., 1977, p.90. [return]
113. Antonacci, 2000, p.105. [return]
114. Moroni, 1991, pp.280-281. [return]
115. Ibid. [return]
116. Ibid. [return]
117. Moroni, 1991, p.278, 297. [return]
118. Antonacci, 2000, p.106. [return]
119. Ibid. [return]
120. Filas, 1980, p.9. [return]
121. Whanger, 2009, p.137. [return]
122. Filas, 1980, p.9. [return]
123. Filas, 1980, pp.11-12. [return]
124. Filas, 1981, p.4. [return]
125. "Photography," Wikipedia, 9 May 2013. [return]
126. Baima Bollone, 2000, p.133. [return]
127. "Pareidolia," Wikipedia, 2 May 2013. [return]
128. "Pareidolia," World English Dictionary, 2013. [return]
§16, §17. To be further examined under "9. Problems of the forgery theory". [return]

Continued in part 17, "2.6. The other marks (6): Writing."

Posted: 10 May 2013. Updated: 5 September 2021.