Hugh Farey asks a very intriguing question:
Ray Rogers spent a while analysing the vanillin content of various bits of shroud with a view to establishing some kind of vanillochronology, but I cannot find among the vast literature published on shroud.com that anyone has considered whether lignin might be responsible for the image colour. Rogers declared that it was prominent at the nodes of the fibres, which may well be true, but I wonder if it might not also coat the outside of the fibres as well. During the processing of flax, there is an attempt to remove the lignin from the fibres, but even in modern linen, some lignin remains. Could it be (a constituent of) the ‘impurity layer’? It turns yellow quite readily in quite a short time at quite low temperatures, and with exposure to light, much more easily than cellulose, more easily than starch, and for all I know more easily than sugar as well. Has anyone else looked into this, and if so, with what conclusion?
Rogers loved these sorts of good-thinking questions.
Image is from Scientific Method Applied to the Shroud of Turin – A Review by Raymond Rogers.
If I remember well, Rogers in his book (or in other writings) indicated that some deposit of lignin yes was most probably part of the thin layer of impurities on the top-surface of the fiber (along with starch impurities and also the pectine deposits found by Adler). If that’s correct, that mean that this would have been colored too during the image formation process… It’s truly probable that this layer of impurities was not homogeneous and was composed of many different sorts of impurities mix together.
Here’s the 2 quotes I have found in Rogers book concerning the probable presence of lignin deposits on top of the most superficial fibers on the Shroud :
In page 57 of Rogers book, he talks about a pyrolysis mass spectrometry analysis that he did on different samples from the Shroud. Here’s one important thing he said about this analysis : “Mass 131 appeared at much higher temperatures in all of the spectra, but those are in the range of CELLULOSE, LIGNIN AND HEMICELLULOSE .”
And elsewhere in his book, Rogers also wrote: “All of the bleaching processes used through history remove lignin and most associated flax impurities (e.g., flax wax and hemicelluloses). The bands of different color on the Shroud are the end result of different amount of impurities LEFT FROM THE BLEACHING PROCESS.”
Note : Along with these probable deposits of lignin and the confirmed presence of starch and pectin deposits, it is also truly possible that some residues of saponaria could be present in the thin layer of impurities, but nevertheless, it is very important to understand that the presence of this kind of residue have NOT been scientifically confirmed on the Shroud, whether it be by the STURP team, Rogers himself or other researchers like Adler. Rogers strongly support the hypothesis that some residues of saponaria should be present in the layer of impurities because it “fits” with the sort of low level of fluorescence of the non-image areas of the cloth and also because he thought, based on Pliny the Elder writing and also based on information he got from Anna Maria Donadoni, an ancient textile expert from the Egyptology museum in Turin, that the Shroud had been most probably washed with this natural product at the end of the weaving process. But as we recently discovered, it seems that Pliny didn’t talked about saponaria in his writings but he refers instead to another kind of ancient soap made with olive oil. So, in the end, it’s possible that the washing of the cloth was done with this other type of soap (or another one) and that would explain why the presence of residues of saponaria has never been found by STURP, Rogers, Adler or anyone else. And for the low degree of fluorescence of the non-image areas, this could well be due to the presence of pectin on-top of the cloth instead of the unconfirmed presence of saponaria residues. That’s what Stéphane Mottin in France thought and when Adler confirmed the presence of this kind of residue on the fibers, he agreed with Mottin that this is probably the main cause of the low fluorescence of the non-image areas.
According to Rogers, lignin was partially removed before weaving, during the bleaching, and is responsible for the bands on the Shroud.
I think he didn’t link lignin to the image since he could see image fibers with or without lignin (% of dark growth rings). To put it simply : reflected light = superficial image, transmitted light = ubiquitous lignin.
I really think Rogers included deposits of lignin (along with other kinds of deposits) as probable parts of the thin layer of impurities. As a matter of fact, these deposits of lignin on top of the fibers would have been caused by the retting process of the flax fiber, exactly like the deposits of pectin… And the ancient mild bleeching is responsible for the fact that some of these were not removed on the fibers. It’s really probable that the exact composition of this coating is very non-homogeneous with more pectin in one place and more starch in another and probably more lignin elsewhere. That’s my feeling. Don’t forget that lignin is composed of polysaccharide that can surely be colored by amines.
Here’s a definition of “polysaccharide” I have found somewhere on the net:
“A complex sugar or carbohydrate like a starch, multiple sugars, or a fiber. A polysaccharide is defined as a molecule made of at least three molecules of simple sugar. The classes known as fibers are polysaccharides that include cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and LIGNIN.”
Note that all the different elements that were named (cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and lignin) constitutes the composition of a flax fiber and some of them (lignin and pectin at least) have been detected as deposits on top of the fibers because of the retting process.
The lignina IS NOT a polysaccharide
La lignina es un POLÍMERO del fenilpropano.
I’m afraid my biochemistry is not up to distinguishing between the two, but I am given to understand that while cellulose (for example) is quite chemically robust, lignin is far less so. The shroud is often described as “yellowed with age” all over, without any reference to the image. Indeed “age” itself is often used as if it were a chemical agent. Would a chemist like to say what exactly causes this “age yellowing” in ordinary linen? Does it have to be treated with starches, saponaria, pectin, bleaches, etc., or is air and time sufficient?
That is a very good question.
Some answers from the scientific literature (for some reasons, some years ago, I purchased dozens of peer-reviewed papers about cellulose, aging, lignin …):
Lignin is not a polysaccharide (as said by Carlos)
Raw, non bleached flax contains about 3 % of lignin and about 2% of “extractives” (i.e., waxes, resins). Lignins (plural) in flax is found in the middle lamella (that includes the primary cell wall), cell wall junctions, and in the S1 (external) layer of the secondary wall (a 1 microm. wide band just bellow the primary cell wall).
XPS (analysis of the first 10 nm of a surface) shows that lignin in non-bleached flax is found on about 66% of the surface of the fibers. But “together the AFM and XPS results strongly suggest a surface model where lignin is present on natural cellulose fibers only as clusters and islands thicker than 10 nm”.
Lignin is very sensitive to light. It is the main cause of the yellowing of paper. Near-UV produces chemical reactions (photochemistry) in some chemical groups of lignin producing yellow chromophores, particularly o-quinones.
In the literature, natural aging (and yellowing) of linen textile does not study the role of lignin but the cellulose itself.
“It is well known that cellulosic fibers (…) undergo degradation under the action of external agents, such as light, heat, microorganisms (…), insects and chemicals. In any case, oxygen attack is mainly responsible for cellulose degradation (..). The process is essentially due to the oxidative scission of the cellulosic macromolecule and its rate can be expressed in terms of number of glucosidic bonds broken per unit time”.
In other words, even without light, heat or microorganisms, the oxygen in the air even at room temperature explains the natural (very slow) yellowing of the background of the Shroud. That’s why it is now conserved in an inert gas (argon).
The question is: ” During the processing of flax, there is an attempt to remove the lignin from the fibres, but even in modern linen, some lignin remains. Could it be (a constituent of) the ‘impurity layer’? It turns yellow quite readily in quite a short time at quite low temperatures, and with exposure to light, much more easily than cellulose, more easily than starch, and for all I know more easily than sugar as well. Has anyone else looked into this, and if so, with what conclusion?”
I don’t know but this is a crucial question.
Let me explain:
– We know that the “impurity layer” is about 0.2 to 0.6 microm. thick (Rogers)
– We know that lignin is found in flax fibers as a major component of the PCW, which is about 0.2 microm. thick.
– We know that lignin covers the majority of the surface of flax fibers
– Lignin (photochemistry) degradation produces many molecules with C=C and C=O groups.
A very interesting question.
Just some thoughts (for the moment).
The full quote is :
Do you know what is this quantative mesurement ?
“on the fibrils” means he could directly measure lignin on the surface of flax fibers (and not only % of dark growth rings) ?
I thought sensitive tests for lignin on the shroud were negative.
Are these figure reliable ? Because they legitimate an hypothesis based on an impurity layer.
That is an important question.
I hate to butt in,but if there is absolutely no Indication of artistic meddling on the shroud (organic or inorganic),No protein except maybe in the blood residue,no oils or anything that would be considered a colorant binder,why is there still a debate?Why are there other burial cloths of the same material and same approximate age with no “images” on them?They must have been bleached and woven in the same manner.I don’t believe that anybody in the 12th century or earlier would have the cunning or mechanical ability to apply an undetectable artistic medium that can’t be reproduced even today.Would’t they have wanted recognition as a genius?Wasn’t Christianity already a major religion?What was the motivation?My question to everyone out there is…was anyone else in history ever crucified in this manner?How often did they use spikes to fasten people to the crucifix?Were criminals required to carry a part of the cross the the execution site?Were all corpses wrapped in a cloth?
As the question has still not been answered this calls for more research.
First of all, if lignin is not an polysaccharide, excuse me because I really thought it was the case. Anyway, that doesn’t mean for one second that some lignin deposits are not present in the most probable thin layer of impurities and could not have been colored as well by the amines coming out of the dead body that was under the Shroud. For Rogers, the image formation process acted as a dehydration of the thin layer of impurities and not as an oxidation of it (on the contrary to most supernatural hypotheses that relies on a burst of energy of some sort).
Both process (oxidation or dehydration; alone or combined) could have produced the coloration on the Shroud, but in the hypothesis postulated by Rogers and preliminary tested by himself, no oxidation was at work but only a dehydration process. I’m almost convinced that if there was some lignin deposits present in the thin layer of impurities, the dehydration process thought by Rogers would also have colored it, as well as the starch deposits and the pectin deposits. Of course, I’m not a chemist and it would be nice if a real expert could confirm my idea.
Here’s another important quote from Rogers that make me think that some lignin deposits (as well as some possible deposits of hemicellulose, which is another part of the PCW) could well be present in the thin layer of impurities postulated by Rogers: “All of the bleaching processes used through history remove lignin and most associated flax impurities (e.g., flax wax and hemicelluloses). The more quantitative the bleaching process, the whiter the product. The bands of different color on the Shroud are the end result of different amount impurities left from the bleaching process.”
What I understand from this quote is the fact that the ancient mild bleaching of the shroud could well have left some residues of lignin, hemicellulose (and also pectin, which has been found by Adler) and flax wax on the fibers of the cloth because this kind of bleaching was much milder than more recent bleaching processes.
And here’s the way I understand the formation of the thin layer of impurities (from what I’ve read in Rogers writtings): First, there was the retting process of the flax plant that would have left some deposits on top of the fibers. In all logic, these deposits would be formed by the elements that are naturally present inside and on the linen fiber (i.e. pectin (as I said, this element had been confirmed by Adler to be present on top of the fibers), hemicellulose and flax wax) and that would have been “extracted” from the fiber during the retting process.
Then, the bleaching process was done batch of yarns by batch of yarns with some slight diffrences in the intensity of the bleaching. That’s what would be responsible for the banding effect on the Shroud because the more vigourous the bleaching was, the more thin the layer of impurities would have been, leaving less material coming from the retting process and composing the thin layer of impurities (lignin, pectin, hemicellulose deposits and flax wax) to be colored on top of fibers.
Then, AFTER THE BLEACHING, there was some starch that was used on the yarns just before the weaving and again, this procedure would have caused some more impurity deposits (made of starch of course) on top of the fibers.
Then, AFTER THE WEAVING OF THE CLOTH WAS FINISHED, it was washed (with saponaria, which was indicated by Theophrastus or another soap product like the one indicated by Pliny the Elder, which is called heraclion and was made with olive oil) and left to dry in open air. This is when the very important process called the evaporation-concentration appeared and would have taken almost every impurities that were inside the cloth (i.e. pectine and starch for sure, along with probably some deposits of lignin, hemicellulose and/or flax wax and maybe some more deposits coming from the soap that was used) and would have concentrated them on the 2 external surface of the cloth.
This evaporation-concentration process is this process that would be responsible for the extreme superficiality of the body image and maybe also for the presence of a superficial image of the hair, beard and mustache on the back side of the cloth.
You see folks ? If Rogers was correct about the thin layer of impurities (and I sure think he was), THEN THERE WOULD BE NO NEED TO CALL FOR A DIVINE INTERVENTION HERE IN ORDER TO EXPLAIN THIS IMPORTANT FEATURE OF THE BODY IMAGE !
It looks like scientists will need much more time to clear the doubts raised above.
There are many burial cloths in existence,some are older than the Turin shroud.None have images on them.
We are living on the Earth and not in alien worlds …
In my idea the adequate analyses (= SPM techniques) can solve
also the question of the lignin percentage, etc.
We are able to use the AFM on Mars (have you seen what was
the inherent apparel), but we are not able to apply
this technique on linen fibrils coming from the Holy Shroud !
Thibault Heimburger indicated the AFM and the XPS (… that is not a SPM technique).
Have you understood the meaning for these acronims ?
Are you able to do a simplest research using the modern tools (= Google, etc.)
about these acronyms ?
What are your results ?
Perhaps you have to be more active instead to claim something … !
If the Image was produced on linen fibrils from the cadaveric emissions
(Jesus was not only God but He was also a Man, and from the point
of view of the Christian Theology we know that He traveled to save the
souls during the time He was a poor dead man in to the tomb … Am
I wrong in that question/religious problem ?) this is not automatically the
end of the religious idea (or Mystery of Faith) of the glorious Resurrection !!!
We have to try to control the thin layers on linen fibrils (of the true linen
fibrils coming from the Shroud) that were originated from the BIF.
But, after these controls, we cannot say other (more) things,
because this is only the true first non-destructive work to do
in order to improve our knowledges about the BIF …
Without the exact controls we cannot claim the wrong words
about the Divine Intervention, etc. !
B.T.W. : Where is another Image similar, but in a good manner,
the Holy Shroud ? The Jospice Imprint cannot be indicated (… IMO).
Do you agree on that question ?
Piero, where is the scientific paper you were supposed to write and in which you could include all that is being said by you on this blog? “Be more active rather than claim something”? My background is not science and so one has to wait for scientists to publish papers which can then be evaluated. At the rate things are going, it looks like scientists will have to start all over again when it comes to certain claims. As for “the Jospice Imprint, Do you agree on that question?”, my article has been around for donkeys ears and all you have to do is to read it. Best.
Louis, before to speak around the strange fact
connected to the reaction of the scientists (that “will have
to start all over again when it comes to certain claims”),
I want to underline that :
I have not read your article about the Jospice Imprint.
Instead reading the study by Dr. Frederick Zugibe
( http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/mattress.pdf )
about that imprint, we can see that is possible to know
what is the material involved in the process of image
formation (polyurethane coat on PA 6 = thin colored layer on polyamide 6).
The substrate was polyamide and not linen and there is
the interesting analogy about the thin layer (involved in
the image of the body).
But, in another study, under the address :
the material indicated was the polypropylene and not polyamide.
In any case, the very thin layer of polyurethane was
the common denominator … !
So, starting from that fact we can guess something around
the inherent process … and the way to detect something.
Where is your paper ?
I hope you can explain this strange question,
because I am curious to read your answer in order
to know your observations (also) on this particular
argument (= another post-mortem imprint in our material world).
I excluded this modern imprint because (first of all) was
not “obtained” on linen fibrils (… or on byssal threads = the
mysteriuos Holy Face of Manoppello), then : no cellulose,
no hemicellulose and no lignin !
In the past I have read several words about the presumed
energy involved, etc.
In my idea we have to put the focus on the right analytic way
to use in order to know what is the material truth.
Also for that object we can use the SPM controls.
Where are the Labs that are able to discover the truth ?
What is the price ?
We can discuss around these textile objects
and their exact behaviour under the radiations.
So we have to see what are the exact references.
I have read something of interesting 12 years ago
(= SSNDT and the inherent AFM controls, etc.) and also
I have tried to write my opinion, but the paper (prepared
for … … the Dallas Conference) was rejected …
Do you know the SSNTD (Solid State Nuclear Track Detector) ?
Read (for example) :
Feasibility and limitation of track studies using atomic force microscopy. Nikezic, D.; Ho, J.P.Y.; Yip, C.W.Y.; Koo, V.S.Y.; Yu, K.N. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms vol. 197 issue 3-4 December, 2002.
— — —
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been employed to investigate characteristics of tracks of heavy charged particles in solid state nuclear track detectors (SSNTDs). In the present work, we have performed simulations of the track structures revealed by AFM based only on geometrical considerations of the tracks and two types of probes (the ultralever and the ultrahigh aspect ration probe).
Piero, How can you say you have not read my article if you cite it in your above comment?
Bilirubin is not even mentioned there, as in the other paper you cite, because I think if it depends on this we would have thousands of people leaving images of their bodies on mattresses.
Are you sure the Jospice Mattress Imprint is a post-mortem image and that the Manoppello image is on byssus? I am not. Best.
I have no time to waste in long discussions around these
two interesting objects, but I am nearly sure (= here I have
not the inherent calculations about the probability values) that :
– the Jospice Mattress Imprint is a post-mortem image. Only
with a certain great amount of time in an immobile bodily
position is possible to obtain that particular image.
– the Manoppello image is on byssus (= silkmarine byssus).
Unfortunately we were not able to obtain the inherent spectral data !
No spectrophotometric (transmittance) controls about the
Manoppello’s Face ! Why ?
I believe as important thing (to add in the archive) the analysis, using
the spectral controls (B.T.W. : Do you know the Labert-Beer’s law ?),
in order to study these data (see also : the adequate comparisons with the
spectrophotometric controls on experiments obtained with byssal
threads and other similar materials : treated or not with the
different kind of painting or colouring systems !).
In any case your words sound to me as a bit strange.
So… at this point,
I ask :
Are you the famous researcher Dr. Fred Zugibe ?
Piero, kindly point out those words written by me that you found strange and where exactly I identified myself as someone else. You must be careful in order to not be accused of calumny.
Regarding the rest, your information about byssus is incorrect and outdated and I challenge you to write and publish a paper on the Jospice Mattress Imprint since you say you are “nearly sure” that it is a post-mortem image. Make sure that you look at the image very carefully before you write your paper.
Scott: “My question to everyone out there is…was anyone else in history ever crucified in this manner? How often did they use spikes to fasten people to the crucifix? Were criminals required to carry a part of the cross the the execution site? Were all corpses wrapped in a cloth?”
As far as I know there was very little that might have distinguished Jesus’s crucifixion from thousands of others. It does seem that crucifixion was a particularly popular Roman punishment in 1st century Israel, and, judging by the various descriptions of it (and two rather badly drawn pictures) that there was no universally standard way of doing it. No doubt, however, individual fortresses had conventions that they usually followed, and I suppose Jesus was crucified without any special attention. There is no reason to suppose that the flogging, the carrying of the patibulum to a fixed upright and the iron nails were anything other than normal. Even the crown of thorns (which may be a specific reference to his ‘crime’ of kingship) and the spear-thrust (saving the bother of breaking the legs of one already dead) may not have been unique, or even uncommon; we just don’t know.
As for the shroud, the gospel of Mark says Joseph of Arimathea went out and bought a linen sheet, and Matthew says it was ‘new.’ This sounds ordinary enough, although the curious side-hem and the definitely more expensive herringbone weave suggest that the relic we have today (if genuine) may not have been quite run-of-the-mill – then again perhaps Joseph felt Jesus was worth a classier shroud than normal.
I don’t know how many shrouds from the 1st century Middle East have been found, but I imagine that the preservation of any of them was quite unusual, as the decomposing contents would have made a mess of most of them quite quickly, I suppose. Some, I dare say, have been found unused, which itself would account for their being no images on them, and others may have been wrapped around mummified or dried remains. I imagine that the removal (and retention) of a shroud from a recently buried person would have been quite rare.
As to there being “absolutely no indication of artistic meddling on the shroud,” a simple yes/no response isn’t really adequate. A number of possible pigments have been identified, but not in sufficient quantities to create an image, and the image itself is either the degraded fibres of the shroud itself, or, as most recently suggested, a layer of degraded carbohydrate coating the fibres, or at least some part of some of them. In spite of Thomas de Wesselow’s convincing treatment of the lack of technical, stylistic or cultural coherence with 14th century art, it is not impossible that the degradation was made artificially. Either a degrading process was applied directly (similar but not identical to rubbing a hot metal plate quickly across the surface, or irradiating the material with UV or some such), or some other process, now washed off or otherwise removed, had the side effect of degrading the carbohydrate and leaving the image behind.
“Wouldn’t they have wanted recognition as a genius? Wasn’t Christianity already a major religion? What was the motivation?”
Not necessarily, Yes it was, and Money (in that order). Again with respect to de Wesselow, who shows how unnecessary it was to go to such trouble to fake a relic, such things were huge tourist attractions throughout the middle ages, and any church which had a good collection was guaranteed a steady income. It was in nobody’s interest to recognise the genius of the man who made them, as it would prove they were fakes!
I’m glad you ‘butted in.’ Thinking it was obvious is the way many of us first became interested in the shroud, and finding it not as obvious as we first thought, became deeply entangled in the various threads of its uncertainties. I hope you will browse as much of shroud story.com as you can, and contribute any insights that emerge. That’s what I’ve done, and I find it both absorbing and rewarding.
In my opinion the Jospice Imprint (= Liverpool Imprint) has
nothing to do with the SSNTD (= Solid State Nuclear Track
What is your answer ?
Have you tried to do the right AFM control ?
About the SSNDT, see also what is well explained in Wikipedia :
>A solid-state nuclear track detector or SSNTD (also known
as an etched track detector or a dielectric track detector,
DTD) is a section of a solid material …
Unfortunately in that explanation there is not a direct connection
with the AFM controls (no direct links, then you have to search … in
order to discover something of useful … for your work).
So, I ask :
Are you able to work controlling the textile materials
(involved in the different kind of experiments about
the BIF= Body Image Formation) in a very good manner ?
If you have the time, this is a key point (IMO) to investigate
instead to waste too time in the other interesting discussions !
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