Home > Carbon 14 Dating, News & Views, Press Coverage > Los Alamos National Laboratory team of nine scientists prove carbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin wrong

Los Alamos National Laboratory team of nine scientists prove carbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin wrong

August 19, 2008

carbon14 Using some of the most advanced analytical equipment available, a team of nine scientists at the famed Los Alamos National Laboratory confirmed that the material used for radiocarbon dating of the shroud in 1988 was not part of the shroud’s fabric. Previously, micro-chemical tests had demonstrated that the cloth is at least twice as old as the medieval date determined by the now discredited carbon 14 tests. This gives new life to historical and forensic arguments that suggest that the shroud might be the burial cloth of Jesus.


COLUMBUS, Ohio, August 15 — In his presentation today at The Ohio State University’s Blackwell Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) chemist, Robert Villarreal, disclosed startling new findings proving that the sample of material used in 1988 to Carbon-14 (C-14) date the Shroud of Turin, which categorized the cloth as a medieval fake, could not have been from the original linen cloth because it was cotton. According to Villarreal, who lead the LANL team working on the project, thread samples they examined from directly adjacent to the C-14 sampling area were “definitely not linen” and, instead, matched cotton. Villarreal pointed out that “the [1988] age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case.” Villarreal also revealed that, during testing, one of the threads came apart in the middle forming two separate pieces. A surface resin, that may have been holding the two pieces together, fell off and was analyzed. Surprisingly, the two ends of the thread had different chemical compositions, lending credence to the theory that the threads were spliced together during a repair.

LANL’s work confirms the research published in Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) by the late Raymond Rogers, a chemist who had studied actual C-14 samples and concluded the sample was not part of the original cloth possibly due to the area having been repaired. This hypothesis was presented by M. Sue Benford and Joseph G. Marino in Orvieto, Italy in 2000. Benford and Marino proposed that a 16th Century patch of cotton/linen material was skillfully spliced into the 1st Century original Shroud cloth in the region ultimately used for dating. The intermixed threads combined to give the dates found by the labs ranging between 1260 and 1390 AD. Benford and Marino contend that this expert repair was necessary to disguise an unauthorized relic taken from the corner of the cloth. A paper presented today at the conference by Benford and Marino, and to be published in the July/August issue of the international journal Chemistry Today, provided additional corroborating evidence for the repair theory.

Source: GOD, CHRIST: QUESTIONS & FAITH: Team of scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory prove the carbon 14 dating of the Shroud of Turin was invalid.

  1. buttonfresh
    May 20, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Seriously Mr Porter, you would not know journalistic accuracy if it came up and bit you on the patoot.

    Also, the fact that you have a monopoly on shroud devotee sites (meaning the majority of them are either run, directed, administed or owned by you, does not make the drivel you post on the internet as “proof” valid.

    You should be ashamed at your dishonesty.

  2. Steven Schafersman
    September 1, 2011 at 2:53 am

    Ask yourself: Which groups of scientists analyzed samples of the Shroud of Turin that were NOT representative of the whole? Was it the three world-renowned dating labs at Oxford, Zurich, and Arizona who had relatively large swatches of the Shroud given to them by the official Vatican team who sampled the Shroud under the observation of numerous witnesses and video cameras and who got their samples from an area of the Shroud that was carefully studied for months to be sure it was representative? Or was it the group of Los Alamos scientists (or engineers?) who had three threads (!) of cotton (!) when the Shroud is well-known to be composed of linen and who got their threads from a sample taken unofficially (!) and against the wishes of the Vatican and without proper chain of custody? Really, be serious: Who do you wish to believe?

  3. Vivine
    September 18, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Radio dating procedure itself was not wrong. No one questioning the validity of research from those three world-renowned dating labs.

    @Buttonfresh: pardon me, but I’ve read no dishonest on this article, as it simply report the press release presented in event held by a respected university.

    @Steven: The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is one of two laboratories in the United States where classified work towards the design of nuclear weapons is undertaken. LANL is a United States Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory. It’is one of the largest science and technology institutions in the world. It conducts multidisciplinary research in fields such as national security, space exploration, renewable energy, medicine, nanotechnology, and supercomputing.

    The team for this research is consists of 9 scientists, lead by Robert Villarreal. He worked for U.S. Department of Energy for 45 years, began as a Research and experimental Chemist and Nuclear Reactor operator in 1962. As a Research Chemist, he provided technical support to several Nuclear Reactor projects. In 1991, he began work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as a Section Leader and Team Leader and continued to work as a Nuclear, Analytical, Instrumental and Radiochemist. He has received numerous achievement awards for innovative performance, including the Director’s Distinguished Performance Award for an individual, both from Argonne National Laboratory and LANL, and he was honored with the DOE Analytical Laboratory Manager’s Hall of Fame Award. He is the author of numerous technical reports and publications, of which the most recent is entitled “Compilation of Less-Known Nuclear Material Characteristics and Verification Techniques,” June 2006. In February of 2008, he published “Technical Guide to the Observation and Recognition of an Actinide Nuclear Weapons Material.

    Raymond Rogers was eminently qualified. Rogers was a highly regarded chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He had been honored as a Fellow of this prestigious UCLA laboratory. In his home state of New Mexico, he was a charter member of the Coalition for Excellence in Science Education. For several years he served on the Department of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. He had published over fifty peer-reviewed scientific papers in science journals. He was one of many scientists selected to study the shroud in 1978. He was director of chemical research for the international Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP).

    All of their findings on Shroud of Turin are conform to proper scientific methods and fully accepted by science community (please note that term “fully accepted” doesn’t mean there were no critic against it, the same as “big bang theory” is fully accepted but also contested with several other theories. One greatness of science is it’s openness to be challenged and reexamined).

    For your information, about a year before Rogers’ paper was published, in early 2004, the Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST, U.S. Government Printing Office) published an important paper by Lloyd A. Currie. Currie, a highly regarded specialist in the field of radiocarbon dating and an NIST Fellow Emeritus, wrote a seminal retrospective on carbon 14 dating. Because the Shroud of Turin was such a famous test, Currie devoted much of his paper to it.

    Like Rogers, Currie dismissed any argument that radiocarbon labs had done anything wrong in dating the Shroud of Turin. Currie also rejected, as Rogers also had done, the theories of scorching effects or contamination caused by a bioplastic polymer. Significantly, Currie acknowledged that disguised mending (from which the sample was taken) was a viable explanation. He cited the work of Rogers and Arnoldi. He found it credible.

    So, for conclusion: The Radio Carbon Dating is undoubtedly CORRECT. However, the sample is simply WRONG (or, quoting Robert’s opinion, it’s “the worst possible sample”).

    • Charles Freeman
      September 18, 2012 at 5:35 am

      Vivine. So how do you rate (or did Currie rate) the textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg’s rejection of Ray Roger’s, and others,’reweaving’ theory based on her own meticulous examination of the cloth? There are two reasons for placing her credibility higher than Rogers. 1) Textiles were her specialist field. 2) She was able to examine the shroud as a whole and would have spotted the reweaving if there had been.

      The quotations below are from her article that can easily be accessed on the British Society for the Turin website, Issue No.65, pp 10-27.

      ‘The theory that repairs had been done to the corner areas in the Middle Ages, unfortunately is based on a false presupposition. The necessity of repairs to the corners has been postulated without ever examining the need for it. The real reason for the theory has been the desire to find a plausible explanation for the unsatisfying result of the carbon-14 analysis. Similar wishes, although understandable, have lead all too often in the history of the shroud to untenable theories. . . .

      Though the Turin shroud is burdened with the dust of centuries and with greasy dirt deposits on the corners its weaving structure is cohesive and untouched even at the corners. Therefore at no time has the need to reinforce the corner parts arisen! . . .

      Equally lacking any trace of evidence on the shroud is the hypothesis that a patch fixed onto the same minute spot which had been removed as a sample has falsified the result of the analysis. Where exactly had the patch been attached? How big was it? Was it so small that it covered only the sample area? Answers to these questions are lacking in the hypothesis of Benford/Marino and Rogers. They can only be given in a competent way by textile experts. One of them, who was present when the sample was taken, the late Gabriel Vial, confirmed repeatedly that the sample was taken from the original cloth! This affirmation seems to be unacceptable to a natural scientist [I assume she means Rogers et.al.] even if it comes from such an excellent textile scholar as Gabriel Vial who moreover made this judgment in his very own field of expertise.’

  4. Max Patrick Hamon
    September 18, 2012 at 7:09 am

    “She was able to examine the shroud as a whole and would have spotted the reweaving if there had been. ”

    The TRUE fact is Mechthild Flury-Lemberg examined the Shroud corner YEARS AFTER the C14 sample was taken off…

  5. Max Patrick Hamon
    September 18, 2012 at 7:15 am

    The other true fact is in order to really be able to spot an invisible French reweaving made by a most skillful specialist, the suspected textile area shall be examined under extreme raking light.

  6. Max Patrick Hamon
    September 18, 2012 at 7:19 am

    …and/or alterrnative lights.

  7. Carlos Otal
    September 18, 2012 at 8:33 am

    ¿Puede usted bajar de mi blog la fotografía que muestra la zona de la Sábana ANTES de ser cortada para el C14?

    Creo que es una fotografía POCO conocida

    Se aprecia el GRAN DETERIORO de la zona que fue cortada, sin necesidad de ser experto textil……

    Es suficiente COMPARARLA con la fotografía siguiente en mi blog una vez cortada la muestra.

    Creo que TODOS sabemos distinguir, sin ser expertos, cuando una prenda de vestir tiene su tela DETERIORADA. 

    [no recuerdo de dónde la obtuve, por lo que no puedo poner el link de la fotografía primera]

    Carlos Otal

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