ENEA Magazine Special Edition: New Paper on Shroud of Turin Conservation

clip_image001A Special Edition of ENEA Magazine about the Knowledge, Diagnostics and Preservation of Cultural Heritage contains an article, “The Conservation of the Shroud of Turin: Optical Studies” by Paolo Di Lazzaro*, Daniele Murra, Antonino Santoni, Enrico Nichelatti. The abstract reads:

The ancient linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin is one of the archaeological objects most studied in history, mainly because of the unexplained nature of its image. We have recently irradiated linen fabrics by excimer laser pulses obtaining a Shroud-like coloration, and have recognized photo-chemical processes that may have played a role in the formation of the image embedded into the Shroud. Our results suggest some actions aimed at a long-term conservation of the Shroud and its image

Full Article: The Conservation of the Shroud of Turin: Optical Studies — Enea

15 thoughts on “ENEA Magazine Special Edition: New Paper on Shroud of Turin Conservation”

  1. Thanks for posting the link to the paper. I enjoy reading this

    In any of the UV or VUV experiments, have the samples ever been:

    1. treated with a strong reducing agent, such as diimide, to reverse the coloration (similar to what Adler showed for Shroud image fibers).

    2. daubed with blood, allowed to dry, then treated. I mention this in reference to the blood blocking the image formation (as suggested by proteolytic digestion experiments); and also to determine if there is any effect on the color of blood color in this system (unlikely? but perhaps worth noting).

    Just wondering

    Russ-maybe the mimicking of a Shroud-like coloration with laser pulses is something you might use in your Secrets of the Shroud presentation

    1. Kelly, these experiments took place five or six years ago. Since then, from time to time the authors -like in the recent case of the “new” paper in Applied Optics we read several weeks ago here- republish once and again the same results. But no new experiments or advances are reported.

    2. I aked myself the same question that you Kelly and I truly don’t think they did that. Also, I don’t think they made a close examination of the maximum distance by which they were able to produce of coloration on their sample. We have to remember that ton the Shroud, no image at all as been able to get formed when the cloth was at 4 cm of distance with the body or so. Mario Latendresse even assume that after 2 cm of distance, the image process had lost around 80% of it’s coloration power. I truly don’t think the UV laser used for the experiment were blocked to a 4 cm maximum distance in order to caused a coloration on linen.

  2. What arouses my interest, is the mention of Radon, which could have some bearing on Giovanna de Liso’s 12 years of seismic experiments in producing images on cloth. A radiation effect goes some way to explaining the orthogonality of the TS image, irrespective of the disposition of the cloth, whether it was loosely draped or tightly bound. But it’s not clear to me how a.radiation effect might be able to encode 3D info by variations in brightness. Another aspect is that the authors are still talking about the effects on the cellulose, rather than on any kind of starch coating. Where on the TS image is the chromophore? Is it in the cellulose or the starch coating? I’ve been under the impression that Ray Rogers believed it was in the coating. Or does nobody know for sure? Is there a physics credibility problem with the wavelength of the UV radiation being greater than the penetration of the iimage – 200nm?

  3. The most interesting thing for me in this new paper from M. Di Lazzaro and his team is this line : “In our irradiations, a key-role is played by the VUV absorption band below 200 nm of alkene groups (-C=C-) [11] typically present in degraded cellulose and in ORGANIC IMPURITIES OF THE PRIMARY CELL WALL of linen fibers.”

    I think all the discussion I and others did here on the blog were eventually noticed by M. Di Lazzaro because it’s the first time I read a mention of some colored impurities in one of his paper! This quote is VERY IMPORTANT because:

    1- It is an indirect acknoledgement from him that Rogers was most probably correct about the fact that there really are impurities on the surface of the Shroud and these impurities were colored during the image formation.
    2- It clearly show that in his own experiments with UV lasers, M. Di Lazzaro and his team were unable to colored uniquely the thin layer of organic impurities that was present on-top of the linen fibers in their samples and this truly constitutes a MAJOR DIFFERENCE versus the body image on the Shroud, if we believe Ray Rogers conclusion that states that ONLY the superficial impurities residing on-top of the cloth were colored during the image formation process and the linen fiber itself (including the primary cell wall) was NOT affected at all by this coloration process. This is truly the most important discrepancy that exist between the results of M. Di Lazzaro and the Shroud, if we believe Ray Rogers conclusions about the Shroud.

    Concerning these experiments done by M. Di Lazzaro and his team, the bottom line remains the same as I often said on this blog: IF Rogers was right about the nature of the coloration that is present on the Shroud, then I’m afraid M. Di Lazzaro will have to look elsewhere to find the right image formation process that is responsible for the body image on the Shroud! Effectively, Rogers was clear about the fact that, in his profesionnal ONLY impurities on-top of the linen fibers have been colored by the image formation process AND NOTHING ELSE. And he was also very clear about the fact that any energetic radiation that would color a thin layer of impurities located on-top of a linen fiber would certainly colored also the linen fiber underneath, which is DIFFERENT than the real nature of the body image on the Shroud. And this is exacly the result reported by M. Di Lazzaro and his team in their new paper about the UV lasers!!! Very interesting. If Rogers would be here today, I’m certain he would say that this kind of result is NOT the same as the body image on the Shroud because the fiber underneath the impurities has also been colored…

    In sum, for Rogers, the ghost of color left stuck in the sticky tapes and the complete dillution of the color with diimide and a few other very strong chemical products made it clear that the linen fiber itself (including the primary cell wall) has NOT been colored at all on the Shroud and only the impurities were, which is truly different than the result reported by M. Di Lazzaro.

    Finally, note that on the Shroud, there seems to be more than just organic impurities coming from the primary cell wall as it was found by M. Di Lazzaro on his own samples. Effectively, starch deposits (i.e. an added product most probably used for the weaving of the linen cloth, which is a good sign that the cloth is ancient) were also found by McCrone and confirmed by Rogers later on. In other words, the linen samples used by M. Di Lazzaro for his experiments is not quite the same as the ancient linen of the Shroud because it doesn’t seems that starch deposits were present on these samples. Would be interesting for him to make another run of testing with linen samples that got some starch deposits added on the surface of the top-most fibers. No doubt that samples prepared that way would be much more like the Shroud’s linen, chemically speaking.

  4. Yannick, this is a very clear posting, and it seems highly likely from what you quote from Rogers, that the image is on the impurity layer. Clearly the team needs to repeat the experiment with an impurity layer. Now these people have worked with De Liso who makes it clear in her paper that the best images she obtained, with 3D encoded, were soaked with imbibitions of myrrh and aloes, also when placed between two gneiss layers, where radon and sulphide gases were emitted. Also she says her cloths had only ever been washed with Marseilles soap since 1860. I’m surprised that the researchers seem to have ignored this information, as De Liso had worked with them. Her paper reports the results of some 500 experiments over a period of 12 years. It is well worth a reread and close study.

  5. Dave, your reply is interesting but I want to clarify one important aspect of it : If we believe Di Lazzaro’s conclusion of his new paper, his team DID colored an impurity layer formed with substances from the primary cell wall (made of pectin obviously along with maybe some deposits of hemicellulose, which are the 2 most important substances we found in the PCW). But my point is this: They were unable to ONLY colored the thin layer of impurities they claim to be present over the fibers of their linen samples!!! Effectively, not only did their UV laser colored this layer but he also colored the primary cell wall of the linen fiber too, which is NOT CONSISTENT with Rogers conclusion concerning the chromophore of the body image on the Shroud!

    In fact, these results of Di Lazzaro and his team only confirmed one important assumptions made by Rogers, which is this: “I studied the chemical kinetics of the impurity materials and conclude that it was improbable that the impurities had been scorched by heat or any radiation source : the crystal structure of the flax image fibers was NO MORE DEFECTIVE than non-image fibers. It would take very good temperature control specifically to scorch impurities without producing some defects in the cellulose.” In other words, Rogers conclude that ANY KIND of energetic radiation would almost certainly penetrate through a thin layer of impurity to affect and colored ALSO the linen fiber located underneath and THAT’S EXACTLY THE RESULTS REPORTED BY DI LAZZARO IN HIS PAPER!!!

    Because of this, we can conclude with confidence that ROGERS WAS RIGHT ABOUT THAT and since the UV laser is not able to ONLY colored a thin layer of impurities without coloring also the PCW of the linen fiber underneath, we can also conclude with a high level of confidence that this kind of result is INCONSISTENT with the real nature of the Shroud’s image. In sum, it is pretty close but not really on the target. Of course, all this is true only if Rogers conclusion is correct versus the chromophore of the image but right now, I don’t see any good reason to doubt this particular conclusion. In fact, the results reported by Di Lazzaro only reinforced Rogers conclusion! I’m sure you understand my point now!

    And concerning your idea of pushing the experiments of De Liso further, may I remind you that his hypothesis ALSO rest on one particular kind of energetic radiation? In that context, we MUST expect that any new experiments he can make will ALWAYS give the same kind of results Di Lazzaro obtained with his UV laser, i.e. a coloration that affect not only the thin layer of impurities located over the fiber but ALSO the linen fiber itself, whether it be only the primary cell wall of the fiber or the entirety of the fiber! I really don’t think De Liso can expect another result than the kind of result obtained by Di Lazzaro and his team, which really appear to be INCONSISTENT with the real nature of the Shroud’s image. THAT’S MY POINT and I think it’s VERY important to understand that!

  6. But it’s not clear to me how a.radiation effect might be able to encode 3D info by variations in brightness.

    Intensity of energy fields typically decay with distance. Depending on the energy field (for example alfa particles) intensity and as a result, also distance from the source, could be associated to the degree of colouring of the fibers and in this way, an explanation could apparently emerge.
    However, in my view, two major difficulties remain:
    1. All the fibers are coloured with the same intensity and the 3D effect is macroscopic due to the changing proportion of coloured fibers per unit area.
    2. Some authors seem to disagree at this point and in the absence of a final evaluation, IF AND ONLY IF the image is truly anisotropic with a clear preferential vertical path, this is an important challenge, because naturally occurring energy fields tend to be isotropic.

    1. As I said before Gabriel, the most important thing to note versus these experiments done by ENEA is the FACT that they were unable to ONLY colored the thin layer of impurities located over the fibers of their samples. If Rogers is right about the image chromophore, what this means is that their results are INCONSISTENT with the real nature of the Shroud’s image. Of course, the “if” is truly important in my statement but as I said, presently, I don’t see any good reason to seriously doubt Rogers judgment versus the chromophore of the Shroud’s image, which is for him ONLY a thin layer of carbohydrates impurities AND NOTHING ELSE.

  7. Yannick: Thank you again for this posting. I have now written to De Liso, respectfully suggesting that she investigate further where the chromophore on her experimental samples was located. I note that her best results were obtained with an imbibition of myrrh and aloes, which may suggest that an impurity layer was then present . But I do not necessarily expect her to reply

    1. Interesting Dave. But as I said (based on the words of Rogers himself), it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that she will be able to ONLY colored a thin layer of impurities without affecting ALSO the underneath linen fibers with her electro-static method. And whether it be just the PCW of the fibers or the whole fiber, if we trust Rogers judgment, that doesn’t matter… From the moment one portion of the linen fiber itself is colored or abrade or damaged by one particular source of energy (including the UV laser and most probably also an electro-static discharge), then, for Ray Rogers, that means this kind of energetic discharge is INCONSISTENT with the real nature of the Shroud’s image. And for Rogers, it is almost impossible to expect that one particular low energetic discharge can be able to colored or affect ONLY a thin layer of impurities without affecting also the linen fiber underneath. I repeat that all this argumentation is based on the conclusion of Rogers concerning the chromophore of the body image, which he believed was located ONLY in a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities AND NOTHING ELSE. For Rogers, the linen fiber underneath has not not affected in any way by the image formation process and the ghost of color found in the sticky tapes, which left a clean linen behind, was for him the best piece of evidence that it is really the case. The bottom line of this whole thing is this: Anyone can claim to have reproduced the Shroud’s image or having produced something similar in many ways, but if it’s not completely the same, I’m affraid we have to start looking elsewhere for a better explanation. I think after all the years of experiments done by the ENEA team, time has come for them to start looking at other possible avenues because I truly don’t think they will be able to only color a thin layer of impurities one day without affecting also the primary cell wall. I think they have come full circle with their experiments and have to wait and see if a new series of direct researches on the Shroud will confirm Rogers conclusion or not versus the chromophore. If it did one day, then that would mean any hypothesis involving one kind of energetic radiation will have to be discarded as a possible solution for the Shroud’s image. We’re not there yet of course but so far, as I said, I don’t see any good reason to seriously put the judgment of Rogers in doubt about the chromophore and his implication versus any image formation hypothesis.

      1. Little mistake. You should read: For Rogers, the linen fiber underneath has not BEEN affected in any way…

  8. For anyone who can be interested by the subject, I would like to summarize my thoughs about the coloring experiments done by M. Di Lazzaro and his team with a UV laser. For me, these experiments are very interesting and even important because it clearly shows that the best thing we can possibly expect from an energetic radiation that hit a linen cloth is at least a coloration of the thin layer of impurities located on-top of the fibers AND ALSO a coloration of the primary cell wall of the linen fiber, which is the first layer of the fiber.

    This is very telling because it is a confirmation of Ray Rogers’ conclusion who once wrote that, in his mind, it is highly improbable that any kind of energetic radiation can be able to ONLY color a thin layer of impurities without affecting and coloring the linen fiber located underneath. In fact, Rogers was pretty sure about that because he did make some coloring experiments with energetic radiation and the best thing he could get was the same kind of result obtained by M. Di Lazzaro and his team, i.e. a coloration of only the primary cell wall of the fiber (with no coloration of the heart of the fiber) with a corona discharge. The description of this experiment can be found in his book A Chemist’s Perspective on the Shroud of Turin. And Rogers was very clear about the fact that, in his mind, this kind of result is NOT CONSISTENT with the real nature of the body image on the Shroud, which is located only in a thin layer of carbohydrate impurities and NOTHING ELSE (i.e. it leaves the underneath fiber COMPLETELY INTACT EVEN ON ITS SURFACE).

    The bottom line is this: I truly don’t think we can expect anything more from the UV laser experiments of M. Di Lazzaro and his team and, if we base our judgment on Rogers’ conclusions, we have to conclude that this kind of energetic radiation is not able to explain the Shroud’s image. And I think we can expect the same for any other sort of energetic radiation…

    In sum, I think Shroud scientists who want to explain the Shroud’s image properly have to find other coloration processes that can ONLY color a thin layer of impurities, while leaving the linen fiber underneath completely intact. And so far, as I know, the only experimental result that match completely this very particular characteristic is the one made by Rogers with a linen sample made with the ancient method of making linen and an exposition to ammoniac gas. Again, you can find a good description of this particular experiment in Rogers’ book (note the figure XI-4 in page 104 of the PDF version of his book).

    Because of Rogers’ experiments, I have a very hard time to believe that anything else than a gaseous or molecular transfer from a dead body to a linen cloth can really give a similar result (i.e. a coloration that is ONLY located in the thin layer of impurities while the fiber underneath is left intact). That’s the main reason why I highly favored this kind of natural hypothesis involving a gaseous and/or a molecular transfer over any other hypothesis that has even been proposed to explain the Shroud’s image.

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