Barrie Schwortz Announces Latest Changes to the Shroud of Turin Website (STERA, Inc.)

Here is the latest update from STERA. I have edited out links to the Private Subscriber Page and to email addresses. Those links are available to subscribers and individual recipients. You really should subscribe to updates.

 

The Shroud of Turin Website

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STERA, Inc.
The Shroud of Turin Website

Long Overdue (and rather large) Update Finally Online

August 26, 2012

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Dear . . .

Just a short note to let you know that a long overdue update is now available online. Rather than listing everything new in this e-mail, just go to to the Home Page and click on the Latest Update date link to see the details.

This update is actually the largest single update in the history of shroud.com! So grab your reading glasses and pack a nice lunch! This update should keep you busy for a long time! And don’t forget to visit the Private Subscribers Page for exclusive offers not available to the general public.

You received this e-mail because you signed up as a subscriber to the Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List.  As always, unsubscribing from this list is simple.  Just click on the SafeUnsubscribe link at the bottom of each e-mail and your name will be permanently removed immediately.  If you need to update your personal information or your e-mail address, just click on the Update Profile/Email Address link at the bottom of each e-mail and follow the instructions provided.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you can contact me directly by e-mail at the address listed at the end of this letter.  Please be patient as I receive large volumes of mail.  Although I do my best to answer most of the letters I receive, a response is not always possible.  Your patience and understanding are appreciated.

Warmest regards,

Barrie Schwortz

Editor & Founder, Shroud of Turin Website
President, STERA, Inc.

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35 thoughts on “Barrie Schwortz Announces Latest Changes to the Shroud of Turin Website (STERA, Inc.)”

  1. Congratulations to you , Kelly Kearse, for your very beautiful and comprehensive review of the immunology of the blood.
    I have learned many things, especially the details of Bollone’s studies which unfortunately are not available in English (or French).

    It’s exactly the kind of balanced and honest paper we need.
    I fully agree with your conclusion.

    Thanks again and bravo !

    1. Regarding the blood studies, can anybody confirm the alleged XX chromosom found in the blood as recently mentioned by James Redford in this blog? Or is this something like the aragonite issue where no traceable studies can be found?

      1. For my upcoming paper that will follow my recent paper concerning the evidence of the bloodstains, I have analyze the subject in dept and I came out convinced that the aragonite “issue” that you mention is much more serious and credible than the XX chromosom thing !!!

        The comparative results of aragonite dirt found on the Shroud and aragonite dirt found in an ancient rock tomb in Jerusalem was first published in 1985 by Riccardo Levi-Setti of the University of Chicago’s Enrico Fermi Institute. This man is a well-respected scientist in his field and in his paper (that was published in the Scanning Electron Microscopy journal under the title “Progress in high resolution scanning ion microscopy and secondary ion mass spectroscopy imaging microanalysis”), he was able to scientifically CONFIRMED the conclusion of Joseph A. Kohlbeck (an optical cristallographer) and Eugenia L. Nitowski (an archaeologist) that they finally published one year layer (in 1986) in an article of the Biblical Archaeology Review but that they already found before Setti published is own results. In fact, Kohlbeck and Nitowski were working on that study since 1982 ! Here’s a link to the article of Kohlbeck and Nitowski: http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=12&Issue=04&ArticleID=01&UserID=0&).

        And the conclusion reached by Kohlbeck and Nitowski that was independently confirmed by Levi-Setti is really important and too often neglect concerning the authenticity of the Shroud : The sample of aragonite found in the region of one heel on the Shroud have almost the same chemical signature than a sample of aragonite taken by Nitowski inside a 1st century tomb near the Damascus gate in Jerusalem, which makes a very good “match”. And there’s 2 things that are very important to note about this study of the aragonite dirt : 1- No aragonite dirt with the same chemical signature than the one coming from the Shroud and from Jerusalem has been found elsewhere in the world. 2- Kohlbeck and Nitowski also analyzed eight more samples of limestone dirt taken in different site in Israel (Emmaus, Jericho, Qumran, Beth Shan, Sepphoris, two samples from Beth She’arim and Mt Carmel) and found that from as close as 30 miles from Jerusalem, the aragonite chemical composition changes and does not match either Jerusalem or Shroud samples.

        I have not found a direct link for the article of Levi-Setti (for a summary or a complete downloadable version) but it was put in reference of at least 2 papers he wrote in 1988 and in 1992 (links : http://www.biolcellusa.org/boc/063/0077/boc0630077.pdf / see reference #8 and http://www.biolcellusa.org/boc/074/0051/boc0740051.pdf / see reference #12) and the same reference can also be found in the 1986 article of Kohlbeck and Nitowski. From all these references, there’s no doubt that this article was really published in 1985…

        And concerning the XX chromosom claim, you should never forget that there was already a DNA study done in Texas by doctor Trion in the 1990s from a blood sample taken on the Shroud and his conclusion was that the DNA was so degraded that all it was possible for him to confirm was this : 1- The blood is human blood. 2- The blood was from a man.

        I didn’t mention this DNA study in my recent paper about the bloodstain evidence because it was an unautorized study. Nevertheless, from what I’ve learn from Barrie Schwortz, this was a real scientific study from a real blood sample from the Shroud.

  2. MAN! You’ve got to hand it to Barrie, he is TIRELESS! Awesome update and sure worth the wait.

    A huge THANK-YOU to our good friend Barrie Schwortz and anyone else involved in keeping shroud.com the place to go for Shroud studies.

    R

  3. I thought Simon Joseph’s paper raises some interesting issues. Essentially he makes a plea for the Shroud to be more seriously considered by those involved in the movement, “Searching for the ‘Historical Jesus’ “. However the rigour demanded by historians demands that their sources are beyond reproach, and must be acceptable to their other colleagues working within this discipline. As yet, I think it is fair to say that the Shroud cannot qualify as being a legitimate historic document, despite all the advances made in Shroud research, although it might do at some time in the future. No historian is going to run the risk of compromising his reputation by using the Shroud as such a resource. It does not as yet meet the required criterion of rigour. Any historian using the Shroud as a source for his assertions, would be moving outside the limits imposed by the discipline. It can only be used in a conditional or possibly corroborative way, and then only with the required reservations, possibly to the point of ineffectiveness.

    There are also some technical issues in the paper which are questionable. The presence of Jerusalem aragonite limestone for instance, still remains an open question, despite the work of Kohlbeck & Nitowski, Simon Joseph also asserts the presence of both X & Y chromosomes despite the work of others that suggested that there were only XX chromosomes. This illustrates the danger of using the Shroud as a kind of document resource in historical work, when so many questions are still debated or questioned.

    1. I think the open question concerning the aragonite dirt concern much more the fact that it is possible to think that elsewhere in the world, there could also be aragonite dirt with the same kind of chemical signature than the one found on the Shroud and in a Jerusalem tomb. I really don’t see any good reason to doubt the fact that there really is a good chemical matching that was found (firstly by Kohlbeck and then confirmed by Levi-Setti) between the sample from the heel region on the Shroud that was collected by Ray Rogers in 1978 and one particular sample collected by Nitowski in a rock tomb of the first century A.D. near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Honestly, because this good match was indepently confirmed by a well-respected specialist in the field of spectroscopy (which is a very precise test to confirm or not the chemical signature of a dirt sample).

      Of course, more confirmation of this good match with new chemical and spectroscopic analyses would be great but nevertheless, presently, I don’t see a good reason why we should doubt this good chemical match that was found in the 1980s… That’s why I will consider this in my upcoming paper concerning the question of the identity of the man of the Shroud…

      Here’s the way I see this finding (this is taken from my upcoming paper) : “…while this is a fact that no aragonite dirt with the same chemical signature than the one coming from the Shroud and from Jerusalem has been found elsewhere in the world, there is still a slim possibility that this same kind of aragonite dirt can really exist somewhere else. Because of that, it is scientifically impossible to be 100% certain if the man of the Shroud was really executed and buried in Jerusalem, even thought the chemical signature and the particular location of the aragonite dirt present on the Shroud must be considered as a very important clue that point in that direction.”

      I really think it’s a very fair and honest way to see things concerning this aragonite “issue”…

      1. Yannick you may want to add this line to your paper from Kolbeck’s paper dealing with the travertine aragonite; “acknowledging that this is not absolute proof that the shroud was in Jerusalem and that there might be other places in the world–though none are known and it is STATISTICALLY UNLIKELY any will be found –where travertine aragonite has the IDENTICAL trace chemical composition” …Reading between the lines, it seems obvious what Kolbeck was actually saying but could not, and that is; It is in all probability the aragonite on the Shroud is from the tombs found outside the Jerusalem gates.

        R

      2. Thank you my dear Ron for your advice but guess what ? This quote from Kohlbeck is ALREADY INCLUDED in the same footnote in which you’ll find the extract I gave you and that start with : “while this is a fact…” !!! ;-) Effectively, it’s a great quote from this researcher that speak loud ! And while I was writing my own quote from my upcoming paper, I decide to make a little addition in order to be more precise and I think you’ll like it. Instead of “Because of that, it is scientifically impossible to be 100% certain if the man of the Shroud was really executed and buried in Jerusalem”, it is now written : “So, if we base our judgement strickly on this aragonite evidence alone, it is scientifically impossible to be 100% certain if the man of the Shroud was really executed and buried in Jerusalem.”

        I think this phrase is much more true and precise in this new form. And right after that, here’s what I wrote : “But when we take a more global view of the data from the Shroud and really put together all the relevant facts (i.e. the very particular chemical signature and location of the aragonite dirt that was found on the cloth, the complete absence of a wool contamination on the cloth, the “Masada” type of stitching, etc.), we have no other choice than to conclude that if the Shroud is really the product of a “natural” forgery (note: this quote is taken from the part where I analyze the first scenario that you find in my paper about the bloodstains evidence, i.e. a “natural” forgery), the man of the Shroud was most probably tortured, crucified and buried in the region of Jerusalem.”

        In order for you to understand easily all my quote, here it is again (in his full version) : “…while this is a fact that no aragonite dirt with the same chemical signature than the one coming from the Shroud and from Jerusalem has been found elsewhere in the world, there is still a slim possibility that this same kind of aragonite dirt can really exist somewhere else. So, if we base our judgement strickly on this aragonite evidence alone, it is scientifically impossible to be 100% certain if the man of the Shroud was really executed and buried in Jerusalem, even thought the chemical signature and the particular location of the aragonite dirt present on the Shroud must be considered as a very important clue that point in that direction. But when we take a more global view of the data from the Shroud and really put together all the relevant facts (i.e. the very particular chemical signature and location of the aragonite dirt that was found on the cloth, the complete absence of a wool contamination on the cloth, the “Masada” type of stitching, etc.), we have no other choice than to conclude that if the Shroud is really the product of a “natural” forgery, the man of the Shroud was most probably tortured, crucified and buried in the region of Jerusalem.”

        I think it’s a pretty good footnote…

      3. Erratum : In the quote from my upcoming paper, you should read “even though” and not “even thought”. Sorry.

      4. Additional note (it’s important to understand this) : Even if the quote from my upcoming paper concern the “natural” forgery scenario, it is also plainly valid for the 3rd and 4th scenarios of my first paper (which consider the Shroud as the authentic Shroud of Jesus). We could say that when we put all the evidences together concerning the Shroud, it appear highly probable that the man of the Shroud (whoever it was) was tortured, crucified and buried in the Jerusalem area… Note that this give us no clue about the era when that happened.

    2. By the way Dave, I agree with you when you say : “Essentially he makes a plea for the Shroud to be more seriously considered by those involved in the movement, “Searching for the Historical Jesus“. However the rigour demanded by historians demands that their sources are beyond reproach, and must be acceptable to their other colleagues working within this discipline.” You’re right about that.

    3. I was very happy to see a paper by a Ph.D. on this topic! It is amusing that the topic of historical rigor is being questioned here when the author of the article is an historian! Anyone familiar with academia understands the difference between how scientists assess physical evidence and how historians reconstruct history. Historians deal with levels of possibilities and probabilities and rarely have access to evidence that is “beyond reproach,” especially in relation to ancient historical figures like Jesus. That is why different historians will interpret the same data differently – no matter how “rigorous” they are.

      I think the point of Dr. Joseph’s paper is that the physical evidence of the Shroud, in conjunction with the problems of the 1988 test and new research findings, makes the case for a first-century date much stronger.

      1. I agree mostly with what you say. Of course, history is different than a hard science like physic or chemistry. But I think there is often a common base among credible historians about some accepted historical facts and it is on that base that the hypothesis should be built. Also, it is important to note that other scientific fields can be called in to back up some historical hypothesis. In the case of the Shroud, it’s risky (scientifically speaking) for an historian to call it to back up the historical Jesus case because it’s scientifically impossible to get a 100% sure match between the identity of the man of the Shroud and Jesus of Nazareth. There will always be some door left open for the possibility that the man could have been the unwilling victim of a forger who wanted to produced a false relic of Christ while using a real body to do so (first possible scenario that you can find in my recent paper) and also for the possibility that the man of the Shroud could be a real crucifixion victim of the Romans other than Jesus but who suffered the same tortures than him (second possible scenario that you can find in my recent paper).

        If I was an historian, I would avoid relying on the Shroud to back up the case of the historical Jesus. Of course, it could be mention in an article on the subject but it should not be consider as some kind of proof that can back up the case. Potential proof, yes. Unquestionable proof, no.

      2. Yannick Clément :
        I agree mostly with what you say. Of course, history is different than a hard science like physic or chemistry. But I think there is often a common base among credible historians about some accepted historical facts and it is on that base that the hypothesis should be built. Also, it is important to note that other scientific fields can be called in to back up some historical hypothesis. In the case of the Shroud, it’s risky (scientifically speaking) for an historian to call it to back up the historical Jesus case because it’s scientifically impossible to get a 100% sure match between the identity of the man of the Shroud and Jesus of Nazareth. There will always be some door left open for the possibility that the man could have been the unwilling victim of a forger who wanted to produced a false relic of Christ while using a real body to do so (first possible scenario that you can find in my recent paper) and also for the possibility that the man of the Shroud could be a real crucifixion victim of the Romans other than Jesus but who suffered the same tortures than him (second possible scenario that you can find in my recent paper).
        If I was an historian, I would avoid relying on the Shroud to back up the case of the historical Jesus. Of course, it could be mention in an article on the subject but it should not be consider as some kind of proof that can back up the case. Potential proof, yes. Unquestionable proof, no.

        Ok, let’s be clear here – historians and scholars do not “need” the Shroud to prove the historical existence of Jesus. The point is that there are many things about the Shroud that have yet to be adequately explained or accounted for – like the image itself, how the blood was applied, etc – and these features are consistent with our understanding of Jesus’ crucifixion. But again – historians do not need the Shroud to prove the existence of the “historical Jesus.” It may end up being more the case that we need the “historical Jesus” to explain the existence of the Shroud!

      3. MayaP: My comments relate to a specific particular movement “The Search for the Historical Jesus”. The so-called Jesus seminar is one example of this, but it is way too reductionist in teh view of many scholars working i this field. To understand what I’m driving at, I’d refer you to such a work as “A Marginal Jew” by John P Meyer. He is extremely stringent in his choice of sources, and criteria. I have little doubt that Meyer would reject the Shroud as a primary source of information

      4. MayaP, I agree with your reply concerning my first comment. The last part is interesting in the sense that it’s truly possible (probable I dare to say) that we need the historical Jesus to explain adequately the Shroud and his image !!! That’s a great line from you…

  4. Yannick, I am afraid that the aragonite issue is much more doubtious than it seems.
    The only two original papers that everyone mentions and gives for granted are only two:

    1. The one by Kohlbeck in Biblical Archaoelogy Review largely quoted everywhere as supporting the issue of the aragonite.
    Biblical ARcheological review is not a scientific journal and does not belong to the JCR either. I would
    not expect either that BAR’s aragonite spectra had gone through peer-review.

    2. LEVI-SETTI R.,CROW C., WANG Y. L.: Progress in high resolution scanning ion microscopy and secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging microanalysis. (PMID:3931206)
    ”, Scanning Electron Microscopy 2, 1985; 535-552

    As I mentioned in a previous comment, this journal does not belong to the JCR system but, surprisingly enough, at least in its abstract, the authors do not even get any close to the aragonite or Shroud issue. Their work seems to focus on the skull bone of neonatal mice!!
    http://www.atgcchecker.com/pubmed/3931206

    The spectrum we see in BAR is supposed to come from this second paper.I have tried to get the original of this second paper from my institution’s library and they have not obtained a result in three months. They are still on it but the true fact is that the original study on the match is far from being confirmed.
    If someone has access to the original paper it would be great if he/she could share a comment in this blog.
    As I mentioned when commenting Lucotte’s paper of Fanti’s journal, it would also be interesting if the author could provide a spectrum of the aragonite he has found and check it with the spectra of BAR.
    I have the impression that from these two very dubtious original papers, everyone has quite uncritically admitted the story and since then a snowball has been growing and growing.
    However, I may be wrong and if someone knows additional papers and studies I am ready to change my mind.

  5. I have the entire Levi-Setti paper.
    This paper is only about IMAGING. In the paper we can only see some photographs of the distribution of Ca, O, Cl and K on Shroud fibers and some comments. No spectrum.
    Therefore the reference itself is misleading.

    However, it is true that later Levi-Setti did the positive and negative secondary ion mass spectrometry of the samples for Kohlbeck and Nitowski. I have read that someone (I can’t remember who exactly) asked him if it was true and that he confirmed this fact but never published himself anything on the subject. I do not know if the sentence about the “good match” is from him or rather from Nitowski or Kohlbeck. Looking at the spectra in high resolution, the good match is obvious (at least for me).

    I can provide privately the Levi-Setti paper as well as the report by Nitowski and Kohlbeck (“the environmental study of the Shroud in Jerusalem”, chap.3) in which the spectra are very clearly seen.

  6. Thibault, thanks a lot for your comment. I agree that the spectra as we see in the BAR paper, shows a very close match. It would be great if the results could be replicated with other samples. Thanks again.

    1. Looking at the spectra results (closely), and stating it is a ‘close match’ is a complete understatement! The two spectrum are almost INDENTICAL! More then enough to conclusively say it is a definate match. Remember Levi-Setti or Kohlbeck (whomever made the statement), being the scientists they are, could not state this so emphatically, they must be ‘scientific’ in their statements. Sometimes one must read between the lines… Even though it cannot be stated ‘precisely’ that the Aragonite found on the Shroud are from the tombs surrounding Jerusalem, one must recognise it is definately not the type found anywhere in Continental Europe either! This is good evidence towards a non-European provenance of the Shroud.

      R

      1. Ron, the problem here is the traceability of the spectra. In the original paper of Levi-setti, so often mentioned, Thibault has confirmed that there were no spectra. So the spectra we see in close match as published in BAR and allegedly published in the original paper of Levi-setti……where do they comen from? How were they obtained? If Kohlbeck in his paper simply lies regarding the origin of the spectra he shows, why should we believe him in his conclusions? I hate to put things this way but honestly, it is exactly the point where we are regarding the aragonite issue. However, I am open to other points of view because perhaps I am missing something…… In my view, if everything around the aragonite could be confirmed independently in a more scientific way, the authenticity of the Shroud could be firmly established.

  7. Barries new site has a huge wealth of information in regards to the Shroud. 2nd to none. This is where immaculate details and facts regarding the Shroud can be found. On this site alone a person could learn everything that we currently know regarding the Shroud of Turin and the Head Cloth in Spain. (Items from the same tomb) The deeper a person goes into the research, eventuallly they will find themselves backed into a corner where only 1 possibility remains The Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus. Think of all the odd items of historical significance that people save. Sports Memorabilia, items from famous people, I cannot in my wildest imagination visualize someone actually disposing of the burial cloth of Jesus and NOT PRESERVING IT. The fact that the burial cloth of Jesus still exists should not come as a surprise, but something you would expect would be intact and preserved to this day, And it is. We have items much older than the Shroud that no one disputes as being authentic on far less evidence and scientific study.

  8. I want to thank Thibault for the good information he provide us about the Levi-Setti paper and I agree with him on the fact that “looking at the spectra in high resolution, the good match is obvious (at least for me).” For me also but anyway, since I’m no expert in this field, I prefer to trust the judgement of Kohlbeck AND Levi-Setti. Despite the fact that Levi-Setti has not published his spectra, it’s obvious that the information pretending that he was able to independently confirmed the first results obtained by Kohlbeck is solid. In his paper with Nitowski, Kohlbeck refers to the results obtained by Levi-Setti with his ion mass spectroscopy imaging microanalysis technique and if the information he gave was really untrue or incorrect, I think it’s fair to assume that Levi-Setti would have strongly denied this assertion. Since he didn’t do it (in fact, as Thibault said, it looks like it’s precisely the opposite), I don’t see why we should put so much doubt versus these matching results obtained by Kohlbeck first and then by Levi-Setti…

    In my mind, here’s 3 very good reason why we should trust this reported good chemical match between the sample from the Shroud and the sample taken inside a rock tomb in Jerusalem :

    1- There is no good reason to doubt the validity of the samples that were analyzed (unlike the validity of the DNA sample supposedly from the Shroud that gave a so-called positive result for a XX chromosome). The sample from the Shroud was taken by Ray Rogers in 1978 and that’s him who gave it personally to Kohlbeck in 1982 (less than 4 years after) for some analyses. In that case, the “chain of custody” can easily be established and I don’t think there’s any doubt that Rogers was able to make sure his samples suffered no external contamination.
    2- There is no good reason to doubt the honesty, the expertise and/or the validity of Kohlbeck and Levi-Setti or the techniques of analysis they used on those dirt samples.
    3- The sample taken in Jerusalem was not the only aragonite sample that was provide by Nitowski for comparative analysis with the Shroud sample. In fact, she took 8 others samples from 7 other places in Israel and all these other samples too were analyzed by Kohlbeck and Levi-Setti and nevertheless, the only sample that offered a good match with the Shroud sample was the one coming from inside a tomb in Jerusalem. That was good enough for Nitowski to state this : “From as close as 30 miles from Jerusalem, the limestone changes and does not match either Jerusalem or the Shroud of Turin. Therefore, the match between Jerusalem and the shroud is a valid one. The Shroud of Turin was indeed in Jerusalem at one time during its history.” To me (Yannick), the fact that they analyzed other aragonite samples from different locations provide very good “control” samples that offers a very good insurance against the possibility of a “false positive” result concerning the sample from Jerusalem. The simple fact that the chemical signature of the aragonite dirt changed so much as close as 30 miles away from Jerusalem is a very good indicator that the Jerusalem aragonite possess some very distinct chemical characteristics that can be offer good points of comparison for a comparative analysis. Again, the fact that the aragonite from Jerusalem is so distinct from the other regions of Palestine offer a pretty good insurance against “false positive” results.

    Of course, I agree with Gabriel that more comparative analyses should be done to confirm more firmly the result obtained by Kohlbeck and Levi-Setti, but presently, I don’t see any good reason to really doubt the good chemical match that was found.

    And I have to say that I disagree a bit with another quote from Gabriel who said : “In my view, if everything around the aragonite could be confirmed independently in a more scientific way, the authenticity of the Shroud could be firmly established.”

    Even if the chemical match could be indepently confirmed one day, that would be enough in my mind to scientifically established the authenticity of the Shroud as being the one of Jesus of Nazareth because :

    1- This confirmation of a good match between the aragonite from the Shroud and the aragonite from Jerusalem would not be an absolute proof that there is not another place in the world where the same kind of aragonite could be found. On the website shroudofturin4journalists.com created by Dan, we can read a comment made by Kohlbeck himself where he confirm this point of view. Here’s the quote: “Kolbeck acknowledges that this is not absolute proof that the Shroud was in Jerusalem and that there might be other places in the world — though none are known and it is statistically unlikely any will be found — where travertine aragonite has the identical trace chemical composition. It is also slightly possible though highly implausible that this dirt was applied by a forger.” (link : http://www.shroudofturin4journalists.com/terms/travertine-aragonite.htm).
    2- Even if there could be an absolute confirmation that there is no other place in the world where we can find the same kind of aragonite, as we could read on Dan’s website, there would still be the possibility that a forger (while making a “natural” forgery using a real crucified corpse) could have taken some dirt in Jerusalem and put some on the cloth later on. Of course, this idea is highly unlikely, but nevertheless, it’s scientifically impossible to discard it completely.
    3- Even if there could be an absolute confirmation that there is no place in the world where we can find the same kind of aragonite and if we could be 100% that a forger could not have artificially put some dirt from Jerusalem of the cloth, all this piece of evidence could really tell us is this : The man of the Shroud was most probably really beaten, scourged and crucified in the immediate region of Jerusalem. In itself, this fact wouldn’t be enough to give us the identity of this man (without any doubt). Effectively, this fact may apply to another person than Jesus who would have suffered the same exact tortures than him (scenario #2 in my paper) in the region of Jerusalem (most probably done by the Romans during the time crucifixion was still legally practice by them)… It may also apply to the unwilling victim of a forger who wanted to use a real body to produced a false relic of Christ (scenario #1 in my paper). In this case, the tortures and crucifixion of this victim would have been done in the Jerusalem area by this forger (or by the authorities who were conniving with the forger). Scientifically speaking, even if these 2 ideas appeared quite unlikely at first sight, it’s impossible to reject them completely.

    This aragonite evidence versus the identity of the man of the Shroud is a perfect example of all the things I have to analyzed in the paper I’m currently writting that will deals with the second part of the question of the authenticity of the Shroud, i.e. the question of the identity of the man of the Shroud. For this paper, I do an exhaustive analysis of every pertinent data versus each one of the possible scenario I have described in my first paper.

    It’s a very long and hard task…

    1. Yannick, the only difference I see with the “XX male” issue is the chain of custody of the samples. However, all we know about the spectra’s origin is someone who talked to Levi-Setti and says that he confirms that he -without any independent confirmation-made a spectrum analysis. Everything has been published in obscure or non-technical journals like BAR, and I would like to stress this, Kohlbeck lied in his BAR paper because as Thibault has confirmed, in the Levi-Setti’s paper there is no spectra. However, Kohlbeck says there is. To say the less is far from being honest science.
      All we know is that later on, someone (who?, When?) remembers a conversation with Levi-Setti in which he says that he did those spectra……
      I think all this is very obscure to say the least, including a plain lie by Kohlbeck in his paper.
      Just like the XX male issue….and very, very far from all the solid facts that regarding the blood you have so clearly summarized in your comments and papers in this blog.The big difference is that ADler, Rogers, Heller and the rest never said a lie regarding previous results (e.g. spectra) by themselves or their colleges.
      In my view, that makes a strong difference so as to the degree of plausibility for the blood and for the aragonite. One is science, made according to standard scientific methodologies and the other (aragonite and XX male) is not.

      1. I previously wrote ” I have read that someone (I can’t remember who exactly) asked him if it was true and that he confirmed this fact but never published himself anything on the subject.”

        I just found it in SSG messages from a very credible SSG member :

        “I recovered this subject because I got in contact with Dr. Levi-Setti. He
        confirmed he was the author of the SIMS spectra included in the BAR issue
        (New evidence may explain�” by Kohlbeck and Nitowski). The spectra are
        the original even though they are labelled with “Adapted by E.Nitowski”
        But the most astonishing answer from Dr. Levi is that he never analyzed
        several samples of limestone from the nine Israeli sites. According to him,
        this is not true…”

        In “the environmental study of the Shroud in Jerusalem”, Nitowski/Kohlbeck are referring to the “Levi-Setti’s charts” of the other sites.
        1) Levi-Setti never performed this comparison
        2) The tool used for the comparison was not SIM but energy-dispersive electron microscopy (certainly performed by Kohlbeck) and the quality of the graphs is very poor
        3) The energy-dispersive graph of the Jerusalem tomb is simply not shown for comparison with the other sites in this paper.

        Too bad ….

        What can we conclude for sure from the “aragonite studies” ?
        1) Some of the calcium containing particles found on the Shroud are very likely aragonite
        2) Some of those particles have a chemical signature consistent with that found in the limestone of a tomb in Jerusalem (SIMS spectra from Levi-Setti).

        No more and this needs to be confirmed.

        Nevertheless, if confirmed, it should be difficult to explain how and why a medieval forger would have placed on the Shroud some dirt containing aragonite (from France ?) having by chance the same composition than the aragonite found in Jerusalem !

  9. Gabriel :Ron, the problem here is the traceability of the spectra. In the original paper of Levi-setti, so often mentioned, Thibault has confirmed that there were no spectra. So the spectra we see in close match as published in BAR and allegedly published in the original paper of Levi-setti……where do they comen from? How were they obtained? If Kohlbeck in his paper simply lies regarding the origin of the spectra he shows, why should we believe him in his conclusions? I hate to put things this way but honestly, it is exactly the point where we are regarding the aragonite issue. However, I am open to other points of view because perhaps I am missing something…… In my view, if everything around the aragonite could be confirmed independently in a more scientific way, the authenticity of the Shroud could be firmly established.

    As to your last statement; Isn’t that the case for many issues with the Shroud? I agree things such as the aragonite need confirming. Thats why a STURP2 in a sense is seriously needed, more then ever.

    Thanks for your comment.

    R

  10. Here’s a reply to Thibault’s recent comment that we found here : https://shroudstory.com/2012/08/26/barrie-schwortz-announces-latest-changes-to-the-shroud-of-turin-website-stera-inc/#comment-15619

    If that’s not true that Levi-Setti analyzed the other samples from other Palestinian site, then I agree : more analyses need to be done. But on the other hand, here’s a quote from Nitowski : “Limestone (calcium) samples were collected from as far south as 30 miles from Jerusalem to as far north as the Galilee and Mt. Carmel. As previously reported, Kohlbeck and Damian had matched a heavy calcium concentration from the foot area on the Shroud of Turin to samples collected in Jerusalem. This evidence was called into question, so sampling around Israel was performed to assertain if such a test was valid. From as close as 30 miles from Jerusalem, the limestone changes and does not match either Jerusalem or the Shroud of Turin. Therefore, the match between Jerusalem and the shroud is a valid one. The Shroud of Turin was indeed in Jerusalem at one time during its history.”

    This important quote is a proof that there was a comparative analysis done by Kohlbeck and Damian and that they didn’t found any other good chemical match between the sample from the Shroud and the other Palestinian samples. That’a a very important fact concerning this topic. Unfortunatelly, from what Thibault said (and unlike the good match between the Shroud and the Jerusalem samples), this fact still need to be independently confirmed.

    Does anyone know what has happen with these samples ? Where they are ? Who own them ? Did they were preserved correctly to avoid any contamination ? And most importantly : Would they still represent valid samples to be independently analyzed ?

    Anyway, I think that someone specialized in this field should try hard to get new samples from Palestine and other places in the world were travertine aragonite could be found and should try to scientifically confirmed the results obtained by Kohlbeck and Damian. In other words, someone should do the job that Levi-Setti sould have done back then !!!!

    Anyway, no matter what people can think about this issue, I still think the aragonite match is one of the most underated fact that exist concerning the Shroud… I understand the great reserve that exist for the pollen analysis because of the bad state of the samples used, but for this particular issue, I have absolutely no doubt about the validity of the samples that were used in this comparative study and that’s the main reason why I choose to put my trust in the results published by Kohlbeck and Nitowski. I will stuck to this conclusion until another expert in this field can scientifically prove that Kohlbeck and Levi-Setti results were wrong and/or can scientifically prove that the particular type of aragonite that exist in Jerusalem can easily been found elsewhere in the world. I really think that THE BURDEN OF THE PROOF NOW LIES ON THE SHOULDERS OF THOSE (LIKE GABRIEL) WHO DON’T TRUST KOHLBECK AND LEVI-SETTI’S RESULTS. That’s important to understand this aspect of the question.

    One last thing : I agree with Thibault’s own conclusion that if the Shroud is a forgery (remember that it is now a proven fact that it cannot be an artistic forgery and it could only be a “natural” kind of forgery using a real corpse of a crucified man – see my paper on the subject), the idea of a forger who would have put some Jerusalem in the heel region of his false shroud of Christ appeared highly unlikely to say the least. In the present paper I wrote now, here’s what I say about that : “Another possible solution is to think that the forger took some aragonite dirt in the Jerusalem area and put it later on the Shroud in order to create a relic more “authentic” or to sanctify his work, but these reasons are truly speculative in reality. If we replace the situation in the context of an anonymous forger who simply wanted to make a false relic, there seem to be no good and rational reason why this person would have wanted to artificially put some aragonite dirt from Jerusalem in the region of the victim’s heel. This was precisely the opinion of Joseph Kohlbeck, the cristallographer who was the first to analyze this dirt, when he said that this idea was slightly possible though highly implausible. In reality, it seems much more probable that this dirt really stained the heel of the man of the Shroud naturally while he was walking barefoot in the region of Jerusalem. Logically, there’s two moments when this could have happened: 1- during his scourging, when he was completely nude or 2- when he was walking barefoot during the carrying of his cross from the tribunal to the place of execution. Because this conclusion is most likely correct, the idea that the forger would have artificially put some aragonite dirt on the Shroud appears to be untenable. We have to conclude that the chances are very strong that the man of the Shroud was really executed and buried in the region of Jerusalem. Nevertheless, while this is a fact that no aragonite dirt with the same chemical signature than the one coming from the Shroud and from Jerusalem has been found elsewhere in the world, there is still a slim possibility that this same kind of aragonite dirt can really exist somewhere else. So, if we base our judgement only on this aragonite evidence alone, it is scientifically impossible to be 100% certain if the man of the Shroud was really executed and buried in Jerusalem, even though the chemical signature and the particular location of the aragonite dirt present on the Shroud must be considered as a very important clue that point in that direction. But when we take a more global view of the data from the Shroud and really put together all the relevant facts (i.e. the very particular chemical signature and location of the aragonite dirt that was found on the cloth, the complete absence of a wool contamination on the cloth, the “Masada” type of stitching, etc.), we have no other choice than to conclude that if the Shroud is really the product of a “natural” forgery, the man of the Shroud was most probably tortured, crucified and buried in the region of Jerusalem.”

    I think this is a pretty fair comment from me that gives a pretty good summary of the outcome of this finding by Kohlbeck (in the case this finding is correct of course). Be sure of one thing : I tried to stay honest while I was writting it. That’s where I stand right now in my reflection on this particularly interesting subject…

  11. Yannick, in my view the burden of proof is on those who claim that the aragonite comes from a tomb in jerusalem. All we know is that kohlbeck produced a couple of spectra, by the way with alie about their origin as Thibault has confirmed and that nitowsky claimed that they did several tests with aragonite of different origin. I see no science here, no proofs, no independent cpnfirmation, no peer-review about this methodology-comparison of these spectra is the usual method of comparing aragonites?-…..nothing but the plain claims and at this moment one important lie on kohlbeck and nitowsky side: levi-setti never published a paper with those spectra. Sorry, but I see no science here so far.

    1. Hey, Kohlbeck’s finding concerning the match between the Shroud sample and the Jerusalem sample was confirmed by Levi-Setti. That’s a fact and we can all the see the result in Kohlbeck’s paper. That’s a pretty good start in my book. Anyway, you believe what you want and I don’t care.

      1. Error of typing. You should read : That’s a fact and we can all see the result in Kohlbeck’s paper. That’s a pretty good start in my book. By the way, even Thibault agree with this.

      2. Yannick, you couldn`t put it in a more clear way when you say

        Anyway, you believe what you want

        : Due to the lack of solid evidences anyone can believe at this point what he wants!!
        Unlike the blood or forensic aspects -as clearly described by you on your papers- the current state of the aragonite issue is unacceptable according to scientific methodologies beyond the Shroud circles.

      3. Gabriel, you’re not incorrect in what you say in the case someone really wants to only put his trust on facts that were published in a credible peer-reviewed journal and that were also scientifically and independently confirmed by another scientist and published by himself in another credible peer-reviewed journal.

        In a perfect world, I agree with you, that’s the only data we should trust. But because there was only one true direct series of researches on the Shroud (STURP in 1978), presently, I think we should try to separate what has good chances to be true than what appear to be crap (or at least, what don’t rest on solid bases). By doing this process of filtration, I don’t say we should trust blindly all the things we could evaluate has being “credible”, but at least, we should considere them as good “clues” in this big puzzle that is the Shroud of Turin ! That’s how I try to evaluate data that still need independent confirmation (and there’s a lot). After much reflection, I came out convinced that, for all the reasons I already mention in this paper, that Kohlbeck results and conclusion have some good chanes to be correct. Much more than let’s say the supposed writtings or flower or coin images on the Shroud. My argument here is based on the most probable validity of Rogers and Nitowski’s samples and on the fact that Kohlbeck and Levi-Setti are real experts in their scientific fields and used good scientific methods to analyzed their samples. I couldn’t say the same thing for a guy like Fanti who’s just an engineer and is very far from being considered an expert in chemistry and microscopy the way Rogers was (just an example) ! I hope you understand my method of filtration !!! That’s how I proceed versus all the data coming from the Shroud that still need to get scientific confirmation. If I came out convinced of the validity of the method used, along with the credibility of the researcher who did the testing, I conclude that this particular data should be considered as a good “clue” that can help us to understand part of the mystery of the Shroud.

        Concerning the particular subject of the aragonite, I’m still convinced of the validity of the matching result obtain by Kohlbeck concerning the Shroud and the Jerusalem samples because it was backed-up by Levi-Setti own independent analysis (even if he never published his own result himself). The fact is this : I don’t see any good reason to think that there could be some sort of pro-shroud bias there (or some pro-shroud conspiracy !). And because of what Thibault told us about the lack of confirmation by Levi-Setti for the other samples taken by Nitowski elsewhere in Palestine, I think just have to be more prudent versus the result obtained by Kohlbeck that they did not offer a good match with the Shroud or the Jerusalem samples, but without having to consider these results as “problematic” or “very doubtful”. I don’t see any good reason to think like that.

        Don’t forget that this was Rogers who choose Kohlbeck to analyze the dirt sample he had. If he did that, I’m sure that was because he was convinced that this guy was a real expert in his field of crystallography. Of course, some can say that it was also Rogers who gave many samples to McCrone !!! But before we could learn how anti-shroud this guy was, most of the scientific community was considering him a well-respected scientist in his field of microscopy. How Rogers could have known the great anti-Shroud bias that he had ? All this to say that I don’t see good reasons to doubt the results of Kohlbeck and I don’t see good reasons to doubt his profesionnalism (the fact that he wrongly refers to a paper of Levi-Setti while he should have simply mentioned in his paper the results of the independent analysis on the dirt samples done by this expert is not enough in my mind to doubt his honesty).

        Love it or not, in my upcoming paper concerning the question of the identity of the man of the Shroud, I will used this data to support the probable fact that the man of the Shroud was tortured, crucified and buried in the immediate region of Jerusalem. I know this will leave the door open to criticism but I don’t care. That’s what I think and I’m free to choose which data should be kept (like the aragonite evidence) and which data should be left out (like the so-called pollen evidence) for a study like mine.

        Finally, of course, I agree totally with what you say about the great validity of the bloodstains evidence (that was even backed-up recently by Dr. Kelly Kearse concerning the probable validity of the AB blood typing found by Baima Bollone). That’s precisely why I decided to put the bloodstains evidences at the heart of my argumentation in my recent paper, because this is most probably the topic concerning the Shroud that science possess the best amount of solid data and that science can explain with the most certainty.

        Don’t you think it would be great if that was the case also for all the other issues regarding the Shroud ??? As I say, we don’t live in a perfect world unfortunatelly…

  12. Barry, you probably won’t remember me but a couple of years ago after some ‘daft o’clock’ (at my end) transatlantic telephone calls you sent me your last set of slides of the Atlanta Shroud of Turin exhibition.
    I made a Powerpoint for our Church youth group – Net ONE. Now I’m writing something for the youth.
    I’m trying to find an interview I saw only a handful of years ago on British TV. A man who was a serious skeptic who had been quite abusive to those who wouldn’t bend the knee to the skeptics after the C14 debacle was dying of throat cancer. It was virtually his last interview. I remember almost his exact words
    “The burden of proof is now on those who say the Shroud of Turin is not the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth”.
    Could you point me in the right direction to find this interview?
    Could you display on your website,please?
    Cheers,
    Paul Sullivan

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