[Paleopsych] Scotsman: New research shows Turin Shroud is no medieval fake

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New research shows Turin Shroud is no medieval fake

    Fri 28 Jan 2005
    New research shows Turin Shroud is no medieval fake

    THE Turin Shroud, dismissed as a medieval fake after scientific
    studies in 1988, could actually date back to 1000BC, according to new
    A study based on new analysis of the shroud, believed by many to be
    the burial cloth used to wrap Jesus Christ after his crucifixion,
    suggests it is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.
    In 1988, analysis using radiocarbon dating techniques concluded it was
    a medieval fake. But this was dismissed by the new study, published in
    the US peer-reviewed journal Thermochimica Acta, which claims the
    sample used in that research was taken from "an expertly rewoven
    patch" used to repair fire damage and, as such, does not give a true
    measure of its age.
    The shroud is a large piece of linen showing the faint full-body image
    of a blood-covered man on its surface. Because many believe it to be
    the burial cloth of Jesus, researchers have tried to determine its
    origin through numerous modern scientific methods, including the 1988
    Carbon-14 tests at three radiocarbon labs which dated the artefact
    from between 1260 and 1390AD.
    But Raymond Rogers, a chemist at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New
    Mexico, who conducted the tests, said: "As unlikely as it seems, the
    sample used to test the age of the Shroud of Turin in 1988 was taken
    from a rewoven area.
    "Pyrolysis mass spectrometry results from the [new] sample area,
    coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations, prove that
    the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original shroud. [That
    sample] has completely different chemical properties than the main
    part of the shroud relic."
    He went on: "The 1988 sample tested was dyed in Italy at about the
    time the Crusaders' last bastion fell to the Mameluke Turks in AD
    1291. The radiocarbon sample cannot be older than about AD 1290,
    agreeing with the age determined in 1988. However, the shroud itself
    is actually much older."
    Since its existence was first recorded in France in 1357, it has been
    damaged in several fires, including a church inferno in 1532. It is
    said to have been restored by nuns, who patched the holes and stitched
    the garment to a reinforcing material known as the Holland cloth.
    The 1988 study, co-ordinated by the British Museum, which acted as the
    official clearing house for all its findings, apparently ruled out the
    possibility that the shroud wrapped the body of Christ. It led to the
    then Cardinal of Turin, Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, saying the
    shroud was a hoax.
    Since then, several attempts have been made to challenge the
    authenticity of that analysis. Perhaps the greatest corroboration of
    the new study will be if the shroud's custodians permit further
    samples of the original, unrepaired cloth to be taken for radiocarbon
    analysis. If they do, these tests could confirm the new study. If not,
    people may draw their own conclusions.
    Michael Minor, the vice-president of the American Shroud of Turin
    Association for Research, said: "This is the most significant news
    about the Shroud of Turin since the C-14 dating was announced in 1988.
    The C-14 dating isn't being disputed. But [the new research] is saying
    that they dated the rewoven area."
    Father Paul Conroy, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland,
    said: "In order to prevent irreparable damage, only very tiny samples
    were made available [in 1988]. It seems they were taken from a more
    recent piece of cloth that was used to try and reinforce the original
    or repair it after fire damage.
    "Although the winding cloths themselves are not primary evidence and
    are more circumstantial, across the centuries this shroud has had a
    very close association with Christ and the extraordinary event which
    lies at the heart of the Christian Gospel, Jesus rising from the

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