New dating technique might help with the Shroud of Turin

The Telegraph, this morning, reports:

The Turin Shroud could finally be dated accurately thanks to new technique that determines the age of ancient artefacts without damaging them, claim scientists.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Published: 7:31AM GMT 24 Mar 2010

New dating technique could establish age of the Turin Shroud
The new method does not involve removing a sample of the object
The researchers said the new method was so safe it could allow scientific analysis of hundreds of artefacts that until now were off limits because museums and private collectors did not want the objects damaged.

“This technique stands to revolutionise radiocarbon dating,” said Dr Marvin Rowe, who led the research team at the Texas A&M University.

“It expands the possibility for analysing extensive museum collections that have previously been off limits because of their rarity or intrinsic value and the destructive nature of the current method of radiocarbon dating.

“In theory, it could even be used to date the Shroud of Turin.”

Traditional carbon dating involves removing and burning small samples of the object.

Scientists remove a small sample from an object, such as a cloth or bone fragment.

Then they treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base and finally burn the sample in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas to analyse its C-14 content.

Although it sometimes requires taking minute samples of an object, even that damage may be unacceptable for some artefacts.

The new method does not involve removing a sample of the object.

Scientists place an entire artefact in a special chamber with a plasma, an electrically charged gas similar to gases used in big-screen plasma television displays.

The gas slowly and gently oxidises the surface of the object to produce carbon dioxide for C-14 analysis without damaging the surface, he said.

Dr Rowe and his colleagues used the technique to analyse the ages of about 20 different organic substances, including wood, charcoal, leather, rabbit hair, a bone with mummified flesh attached, and a 1,350-year-old Egyptian weaving.

The results match those of conventional carbon dating techniques, they say.

The chamber could be sized to accommodate large objects, such as works of art and even the Shroud of Turin, which some believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, Dr Rowe said.

The origins of the shroud and its image are the subject of intense debate among scientists, theologians, historians and researchers.

Some contend that the shroud is the cloth placed on the body of Jesus Christ at the time of his burial, and that the face image is the Holy Face of Jesus.

Others contend that the artefact postdates the Crucifixion of Jesus by more than a millennium.


New dating technique could establish age of the Turin Shroud – Telegraph.

More on the History Channel’s 2 Hour Shroud of Turin Special

I just received an email from Ray Downing, the show’s co-producer and it sounds as if this is going to be a great Shroud of Turin documentary. I recommend the following:

1) First of all be sure to visit the website for Ray Downing 3D DIGITAL ILLUSTRATOR AND ANIMATOR

2) While there, check out the Q & A.

3) Set your DVR or TIVO for March 30, 9:00 to 11:00 ET/PT, but do check local listings for the History Channel just to make sure.

4) Email your friends; twitter and blog about this show.

5) Come back after you have seen the show to comment on it.

Here are some pictures from the show that the History Channel has released for publicity purposes:

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Breaking News – Two Hour Special on the History Channel: The Real Face of Jesus from the Shroud of Turin

PRESS RELEASE from History (History Channel)

THIS EASTER HISTORY(TM) ENTERS UNCHARTED TERRITORY – WILL MODERN TECHNOLOGY AND AN ANCIENT CLOTH REVEAL THE REAL FACE OF JESUS?

Premieres Tuesday, March 30, 8-10pm ET/PT

Premieres Tuesday, March 30, 9-11pm ET/PT (Corrected Time)

New York, NY, March 18, 2010 – On Tuesday, MARCH 30, 8-10pm ET/PT, HISTORY(TM) will premiere a very special two-hour event, a quest no one has ever before attempted – come along for this thrilling journey as a team of graphic experts seeks to bring to life the image contained on the holy relic many believe to be Jesus’ shroud. Will the team’s work reveal THE REAL FACE OF JESUS?

For the devout and curious alike, this documentary feature may bring us the closest we have ever come to seeing what Jesus actually looked like.

Science and religion join together, bringing cutting-edge computer technology to an ancient stretch of fabric, and creating a living, moving 3D image of the man many believe to be Jesus Christ.

The starting point of this journey is an ancient 14-foot linen cloth known as the Shroud of Turin, believed by millions to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. Imprinted on the fabric is a faint, ghostly image of a crucified man. The question of whether this man is or is not Jesus has been debated for centuries. But when 3D computer graphics artist Ray Downing decided to use today’s most sophisticated electronic tools and software to recreate the face of Jesus, the Shroud of Turin is the first place he turned.

While there have been many documentaries about the shroud, most have centered on the shroud’s authenticity. HISTORY’s THE REAL FACE OF JESUS? presents something very different: an attempt to reveal the image embedded in the fibers of the fabric, to turn the faint, unfocused, two-dimensional image into a living, moving, 3D creation – if they are successful, this may be the most accurate depiction ever made of the man many believe to be Jesus Christ.

HISTORY worked with CG artist Ray Downing of Studio Macbeth to attempt this reconstruction. Downing and his team are not strangers to CG resurrection – they brought back the person of Abraham Lincoln using CG reconstruction techniques for the Lincoln bicentennial. However, in recreating Lincoln Downing had the luxury of working from over 100 photographs, while the Shroud of Turin is a single faint image on cloth, covered with blood, dirt, water stains, burn holes and other distortions.

As the starting point for a 3D model of Jesus, the Shroud provides an amazing advantage: the image of the man is mysteriously encoded with three-dimensional information. An astonishing discovery was made in 1976, and a property no other painting or artwork has — “The presence of 3D information encoded in a 2D image is quite unexpected, as well as unique,” says Downing. “It is as if there is an instruction set inside a picture for building a sculpture.” But can today’s technology and man’s skill in using it build this sculpture, resurrecting the man in the shroud for all to see?

The encoding of 3D information onto an ancient piece of cloth has fascinated believers and skeptics alike, not least among them John Jackson, a professor of Physics at the University of Colorado. In 1978, Jackson led a team of American scientists which was given exclusive access to the cloth for five days of intensive scientific examination. Jackson has continued his analysis of that data until the present time. In late 2009, Downing and HISTORY traveled to Jackson’s Turin Shroud Center in Colorado to learn more about the science of the cloth from the man who has studied it first-hand. But despite decades of intense scientific investigation, the mechanism underlying the mysterious encoding of this three dimensional data within the Shroud remains elusive. Against the background of Shroud history and information, HISTORY’s team is seen grappling with the faint Shroud image to wrestle out the hidden face within.

Coaxing the image from the cloth proves to be no easy task. After months of work, a breakthrough: Downing focuses on the fact that the cloth would have been wrapped around the face of the man buried beneath. (The Mona Lisa would look quite different if DaVinci’s canvas had been wrapped around his model’s head.) In THE REAL FACE OF JESUS? Downing is able to account for that distortion in the image and remove it, leaving an accurate, undistorted, never-before-seen, moving 3D portrait of the image presented on the Shroud of Turin.

Finally, HISTORY is ready to present to viewers a face both hidden and preserved in time. But for Downing, there are two stories here. “There is the story of the Shroud which, artistically and scientifically, is the story of a transition from two dimensional to three dimensional. But there is as well the story of the man in the Shroud, and a record of His transformation from death to life”, Downing observes, “The two stories are intertwined, they seem to be one and the same”.

Permanently stored and out of public view, this year The Shroud of Turin will have its first public exhibition in 10 years. Between April 10 and May 23, 2010, millions of people from all over the world are expected to visit it at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. According to the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI plans to visit the Shroud on May 2, 2010.

THE REAL FACE OF JESUS? is produced by Left/Right in conjunction with Studio Macbeth for HISTORY. Executive Producer is Ken Druckerman, co-Producer is Ray Downing. HISTORY Executive Producer is Carl H. Lindahl.

HISTORY(TM) and HISTORY HD(TM) are the leading destinations for revealing, award-winning original non-fiction series and event-driven specials that connect history with viewers in an informative, immersive and entertaining manner across multiple platforms. Programming covers a diverse variety of historical genres ranging from military history to contemporary history, technology to natural history, as well as science, archaeology and pop culture. Among the network’s program offerings are hit series such as Ax Men, Battle 360, How The Earth Was Made, Ice Road Truckers, Pawn Stars and The Universe, as well as acclaimed specials including 102 Minutes That Changed America, 1968 with Tom Brokaw, King, Life After People, Nostradamus: 2012, Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed and WWII in HD. HISTORY has earned four Peabody Awards, seven Primetime Emmy(R) Awards, 12 News & Documentary Emmy(R) Awards and received the prestigious Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network’s Save Our History(R) campaign dedicated to historic preservation and history education. Take a Veteran to School Day is the network’s latest initiative connecting America’s schools and communities with veterans from all wars. The HISTORY web site, located at http://www.history.com, is the definitive historical online source that delivers entertaining and informative content featuring broadband video, interactive timelines, maps, games, podcasts and more.

The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved by Ian Wilson

imageStephen Jones reminds us, appropriately, of Ian Wilson’s new book. Published by Bantam Press, it is, like the other recently mentioned books by Corsi and Wilcox, available just about everywhere or will be within days. You can get Wilson’s newest book from Amazon United Kingdom.

The Truth About the Shroud of Turin: Solving the Mystery – Exciting New Book

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From the pen of Robert K. Wilcox, author of Shroud published by Macmillan in 1997, we now have a new book, The Truth About the Shroud of Turin: Solving the Mystery. The scuttlebutt is that it is well-researched, accurate and easy to read. Published by Regnery Publishing, Inc., the countries leading publisher of conservative books, this 262 page book should be a non-fiction bestseller, if not the 2010 bestseller, among Shroud of Turin books.

It is available at 1) Amazon, 2) Barnes & Noble, 3) Borders and 4) bookstores everywhere. The good news, too, is that it is in stock and available for next-day delivery if you order online.

More good news is that you can get the book for your Kindle and other electronic book readers as well.  The bad news is that you must wait until tomorrow, March 9 for the Kindle edition. I ordered it from Amazon for my iPhone but must wait until after midnight tonight to start reading it electronically.

The Truth About the Shroud of Turin: Solving the Mystery

  • $16.95 for trade size (6×9) 262 pages. In stock everywhere.
  • $9.95 for Kindle and iPhone and Apple iPad. (March 9)

The Face on the Shroud of Turin

Software generated image of the Shroud of Turin.
Keep tuned for more information.

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Likely Shroud of Turin Bestseller

imageFrom the five-times New York Times bestselling author, Jerome R. Corsi, whose book The Obama Nation was #1 for a month and on the New York Times list for ten weeks, comes a novel about the Shroud of Turin: The Shroud Codex. Published by Simon & Shuster (available April 13, 2010), this book is certain to be another bestseller.

From a Simon & Shuster press release:

After a priest suffers a near-death experience, he is given a new purpose in life—to unravel the codex hidden within the Shroud of Turin.

A horrific car crash puts Father Paul Bartholomew’s life in jeopardy, until he is given a second chance at life – but not without a divine sine qua non. He must endure three years of intensive rehabilitation before being given thirty days to bring the message behind the Shroud of Turin to humanity. While saying Mass on the first day that he is well enough to return to his church, Father Bartholomew experiences what can only be described as a stigmata. Soon thereafter, he begins to look remarkably like the figure of Jesus Christ on the Shroud of Turin.

As word of the priest’s supposed miracles spreads, the Vatican launches an investigation to make sure the astounding transformation isn’t an elaborate hoax. Soon, Father Bartholomew is being examined and analyzed by Dr. Stephen Castle, a prominent New York City psychiatrist and atheist who has built an international reputation arguing that religion is a figment of human imagination that causes all war and suffering. He is aided by a religious researcher and a chemist who has made a career of debunking supposed miracles. Yet even the team of researchers and experts must admit there are things they can’t rationalize. As the investigation widens to include origins of the Shroud of Turin itself, each man is forced to face mysteries of faith that cannot be explained by sheer reason alone.

Inspired by his lifelong interest in what is surely the most famous of religious relics, Jerome R. Corsi delves into the history and science of the Shroud and takes believing and non-believing readers on an unforgettable journey of possibilities.

The hardcover edition will retail for $26.00, however, you can pre-order the book at Amazon.com for $17.16. Do so.

As soon as possible, I will provide a review of the book.