Comment Promoted: Is cotton unique to the C14 sample area?

Pictured:  Headquarters of the “militant cotton-contamination
wing of the pro-authenticity tendency”

But seriously, clip_image001[5]Colin Berry wonders:

Cotton is now the fashionable marker for modern(ish) C-14 contamination, it would seem, but if I’m not mistaken the attention being focused on one tiny area of interest – the 1988 radiocarbon sample – vastly exceeds that for any other comparable area. Yet we read that cotton contamination is peculiar to the radiocarbon sample, that it’s not feature of the Shroud per se. How can we be so sure? Has anyone looked as hard and critically at a range of randomly-selected control samples?

It would be ironic, would it not, if the upshot of all this sudden interest in cotton were to lead to the discovery that the Shroud is only approximately linen, that it’s really a blend of a lot of linen with a little cotton, the precise amounts of which remain to be discovered?

Could there be a rationale for linen having a significant cotton fibre component by design rather than accident? One has only to look at the wiki entry on linen to see that there could be.

One reason for linen being a lot more expensive than cotton is the difficulty of working with flax fibres – they tend to break easily, being less elastic we are told than cotton. Might it be possible to admix enough cotton fibre with flax to get something that behaves better on the loom, but which still looks and feels like linen (cool on the skin in hot weather etc). If so, when and where might that knowledge of using lightly ‘cottonised’ thread for linen manufacture have been adopted – 1st century Palestine or medieval Europe? Is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking? Does the militant cotton-contamination wing of the pro-authenticity tendency need to be careful about what it wishes for?

36 thoughts on “Comment Promoted: Is cotton unique to the C14 sample area?”

  1. Maureen Fennell Mazzaoui, The Italian Cotton Industry in the Later Middle Ages 1100-1600, Cambridge UP, 1981 has it all including a chapter on cotton production in the ancient world. She notes places such as Cremona and southern Germany where cotton and linen were woven by the same weavers and there are cloths where linen and cotton threads are there simultaneously as part of the design (see her round-up of such designs pp166-7)- clearly not the case so far as the Shroud is concerned as no one has found a wholly cotton thread on the Shroud, only fibres. Has anyone found ENOUGH cotton on the Shroud anywhere to make the cotton in itself a skewer of radiocarbon dates of the linen?

  2. Hello Charles. You as a historian might be interested in what I’ve just this minute found on a site called http://www.historian.net:

    FACT: The shroud is a herringbone twill with a 3:1 weave, of probably 1st century Syrian design. The flax fibrils contain entwisted cotton fibrils from a previous work of the loom. The cotton is Gossypium herbaceum, a Middle Eastern species not found in Europe. (Raes, G.: La Sindone, 1976; Tyrer, J. Textile Horizons, Dec, 1981)

    How can the writer be so certain that the cotton is carry-over from previous weaving, especially as cotton fibrils are “entwisted”? Would the latter not suggest that there was co-spinning of flax and cotton fibres with the deliberate intention of producing a blend?

    Oh, and am I not right in thinking that just because the cotton is not indigenous to Europe does not mean that it could not have been imported from Egypt, say, in the cotton boom period of medieval France?

    Irrespective: why all the song and dance right now about cotton in the radiocarbon sample when it seems clear from above that cotton has long been recognized as a component of the Shroud’s weave (whether there as a contaminant or purposeful addition)?

  3. According to Mazzaoui, Gossypium herbaceum, now superseded by other species, was the species of cotton imported into medieval Europe. There was lots of it around as importing raw cotton for manufacture into cloth was big business and linen and cotton weavers worked together and, as noted above, cotton threads and linen threads could alternate, as in a Milanese cloth where there was a ratio of twelve linen to three cotton warp threads. Lots of potential for cotton fibres to drift in and out of flax piles and then even, unwittingly, get spliced in !
    So Raes’ claim of ‘not found in Europe” is not true of the Middle Ages and if his cotton did come in from a loom it is likely to be a medieval one.
    My personal view, and it echoes in a contribution by Hugh in another posting, is that there is simply not evidence of ENOUGH cotton, wherever it came from, to make a difference to radiocarbon dating.
    It will need a minute examination of the Shroud to find out in which other parts cotton fibres are present and, of course, these may well have come in from cotton coverings of the Shroud.

  4. QED, maybe.

    I posted to Hugh as I recall, someone can check, that Rogers tests had determined a difference in vanillin between C14 fibers and fibers from the rest of the Shroud. I would be interested in any tests demonstrated contrary results in the non-C14 areas from the main portion of the Shroud.. That test was limited to the linen fiber content of both C14 area and non-C14 areas. Has anyone replicated those tests or shown them to be in error?

    I also recall that explanations that the vanillin content being non-existent may have been caused by the fire in 1532. That of course would mean that the anomalous C14 area was certainly much younger than than the main body. Now the vanillin content may be a rough indicator compared to other methods of measuring age, but the difference between existence and non-existence is pretty absolute.

    Let me quote Rogers directly:

    “Sometimes it is simpler to do an experiment. The fire of 1532 did that experiment
    for us. Any heating at the time of the fire would decrease the amount of vanillin in the
    lignin as a function of the temperature and time heated. Different amounts of vanillin
    would have been lost in different areas, depending on the temperature and how long the
    temperature took to return to normal.. No samples from any location on the Shroud gave
    the vanillin test. Since the Shroud and other very old linens do not give the vanillin test, I
    believe that we can be confident that the cloth is quite old. It is very unlikely that the linen
    was produced during medieval times. See Chapter IX for an explanation of the difference
    between the radiocarbon age determination and the observations on the linen’s production
    technology and composition.” (Rogers, p. 43, A Chemist’s Perspective on the Shroud of Turin, Barrie Schwortz, Florrisant, CO., 2008) (Barrie was the editor and publisher of Rogers’ book which is available on Lulu.com)

    What this may mean is a direct connection between the Margaret of Austria’s will and the patch is not likely. However, that was a theory or speculation. The key is the difference in composition, whatever the cause.

    The fact is that we do not know, and will probably never know, how many times the Shroud was altered or mended. Enzo Delorenzi, a member of the Turin Commission that studied the Shroud in 1969 and 1973, wrote:

    “…I should like to mention the impression I received during
    the course of my examination, namely, that more pairs of
    hands have carried out the darning than is suggested in the
    historical records (the four Clarissas of Chambery, the
    Blessed Valfre and the Princess Clotilde).”

    Because the only interwoven cotton verified on the Shroud is in the anomalous area of the C-14 testing, what Berry and Freeman have demonstrated is that the anomalous area is in fact of medieval origin. QED

    Does anyone have any evidence of this cotton interwoven in any other area of the Shroud? Rogers had fibers from non Raes -C14 areas of the Shroud and checked those against his findings of he Raes sample. They were different and he did not find interwoven cotton.

    I think I cam agree with Berry and Freeman: the C14 area contained medieval cotton and linen inter woven. To prove that it is not anomalous, demonstrate were else on the Shroud such interwoven fibers exist? Do they exist throughout the Shroud? Note, there are other patches but only some are documented.

    Evidence other Mde Fleury-Luxemburg’s visual observations is necessary because the contrary evidence is “deep” scientific examinations. Until someone does, I’m moving on although I will cover this in a post to my blog sometime this week if I have a chance to do it right.

    Let me state, I appreciate these interchanges. I will adjust my thoughts when appropriate. There is great deal of romance to the Margaret of Austria will theory. It appears that it will never be proven. It also appears that while Rogers and his associates proved the anomalous nature of the C14 area, he may have may disproven the will theory.

  5. John Klotz: “I think I cam agree with Berry and Freeman: the C14 area contained medieval cotton and linen inter woven. To prove that it is not anomalous, demonstrate were else on the Shroud such interwoven fibers exist? Do they exist throughout the Shroud? Note, there are other patches but only some are documented.”

    Whoa there. Nobody should be expected to prove that the radiocarbon area is “not anomalous”. It has first to be shown that is is anomalous! I can’t speak for NY courts of law, but that’s how science operates (onus or burden of proof etc). Declaring the radiocarbon sample to be a late intruder on account of cotton contamination is simply not evidence of it being anomalous, given that it has long been recognized that there are at least traces of cotton throughout the entire Shroud.

    Time and again one finds it is the presence or absence of proper controls that distinguishes genuine science from inferior imitations. So much for the basic principles and MO of science. As for the practice, no one should underestimate the difficulty of instituting proper controls for quantifying the amounts and distribution of cotton contamination, given we are dealing at the level of individual fibres, not whole threads (there being typically 200 or more fibres per thread that would each have to be examined to check whether they were cotton or flax).

    Methinks the ball is in your court, John, if you still wish to maintain that the radiocarbon dating was wrong due to contamination, at least by an exceptionally cotton-rich patch. You may find it jerst one big, cotton-pickin’ nuisance… ;-)

  6. “Berry and Freeman have demonstrated is that the anomalous area is in fact of medieval origin.” If you are happy to buy that, John, and there may be objections to it, then you are only just beginning . You have to show that the anomaly is between a medieval and a first century cloth. An older cloth of whatever date, perhaps a hundred years old, might still have needed to have been reworked, especially in an area where there was heavy handling of it with sweaty hands. Remember that in the wrong conditions, linen can deteriorate very quickly .

  7. Colin,

    I think I made myself clear in my last post. There have been detailed scientific examinations of the Shroud particularly in 1978. None of the STURP scientists found interwoven carbon in the parts of the Shroud they were examining. The lower corner that was frequently handled throughout the public expositions of the Shroud through 1933 was not an object on interest because they were concentrating on the image and blood stains, none of which were in that corner.

    There is an interesting papers by Mark Oxley that covers the water front. http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/oxley.pdf

    One thing I learned from the Oxley paper that I had not noticed before is a comment by Rogers that the procedures for cleaning the samples prior to the C14 tests would have removed the evidence of the dye that he found. Rogers samples were not decontaminated and therefore the evidence of the dye was still there. I would appreciate your not arguing this point with me. None of my research is original and I rely on published sources. Read the sources such Oxley’s article and then if you have counter sources or observations state them. But the Shroud is a physical object and there is an enormous amount of published data on its scientific examination. Seat of pants observations or “trust me, I am a physicist,” without citation to that data, just don’t cut it. That certainly applies to art historians who carefully opine with out any detailed reference to the scientific data.

    As I noted in an earlier post today, the rapture that you have proven that the interwoven cotton was of medieval origin only proves that the patch is newer than the main body of the Shroud which lacks such interwoven cotton. QED

    I am sorry that my request to Freeman to produce his resources offended you. I think my language while sharp was appropriate. I sure you are aware, given your background, of the old adage: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

    Perhaps my work at sometime will invoke a more public debate beyond this blog. I certainly hope so.

    1. At some point, I will address the difference between pseudo-skeptics and skeptics in depth, but not today. The difference is that the a true skeptic will recognize when the burden of proof shifts. I believe the enormous volume of literature demonstrating the anomalous nature of the C14 sample area has shifted the burden. The scientific examinations of actual samples of fibers from other parts of the Shroud demonstrate no interwoven carbon. If you maintain that the C14 site is not anomalous, demonstrate the places apart from the C14 site where interwoven carbon exists and where there is comparable amounts of vanillin to the patch era.

      Please pseudo-skeptics understand that the burden has shifted and Rumpelstiltskin tantrums will not change that fact. The ball is in your court.

      1. “I believe the enormous volume of literature demonstrating the anomalous nature of the C14 sample area has shifted the burden.”

        What matters is the weight and quality of evidence – not its volume.

        Controls are vitally important, as also is comparing like with like. Hugh (below) mentions the use by STURP of sticky tape samples, but when you read Rogers claim that the Raes corner was more cotton-rich than his rare sightings of cotton from the rest of the Shroud you find he is comparing Raes threads with sticky tape surface extractions only (in other words, not like-with-like, since tape tends to extract surface fibres, not whole threads).

        So before anyone adduces or tries to adduce cotton as evidence of patching, they have show they have searched thoroughly for it outside the radiocarbon region, and to have done so by dissecting threads, not relying on sticky tape samples. It’s not enough to say that it was not seen, if there was no systematic attempt to find it among all the flax fibres. Surface cotton fibres, being much shorter than linen fibres, may tend to be preferentially shed with age and handling, and thus be poorly represented on thread surfaces. They are also harder to see against the Mylar adhesive under the microscope than flax fibres (due to refractive index differences, or lack thereof, and thus weaker birefringence under crossed-polaroids), Repeat: one has to tease out the entire thread into its scores of separate fibres..

  8. As far as I know, the only opportunities for determining the proportion of cotton to linen in the main body of the shroud were by examination of the famous sticky tape slides and, possibly, by examination of the fibres vacuumed up from underneath. To the best of my knowledge no threads from areas away from the C14 corner have been analysed.
    The sticky tape slides were analysed by Heller and Adler (A Chemical Investigation of the Shroud of Turin), who say: “The microscopic survey revealed that there were a large variety of fibrils and particulates present in the samples along with occasional assorted “incidental” debris found in limited quantities such as insect parts, pollen, spores, wax, modern synthetic fibrils, red and blue silk, wool, and flair tip pen dye marks (due to a previous investigator).” They do not mention cotton as “incidental” debris, but then nor do they identify the “variety” of the fibrils they observed.
    The slides were also analysed by Walter McCrone (Judgement Day for the Turin Shroud), who says: “Since the extraneous but rare particles may be of interest, I will list them: silk, wool, linen and cotton fibres of various colours, wax spatters, bird feather fibres, rodent hairs, mica, limestone (calcite), quartz, aragonite, starch grains (corn and wheat), pollen (average less than 2-3 pollen grains per tape), mold spores, trichomes (leaf hairs), flash (oil soot, power plant, incinerator, trash burning, Jeweler’s rouge, paper fibres, pigments (madder, orpiment, yellow ochre, azurite), paint fragments (titanium white, ultramarine, yellow ochre), plant and insect parts, charred linen fibres, etc.” I wonder how Heller and Adler came to miss all that!
    Neither of the above descriptions seems to be at all definitive. It is clear from both sources that the composition of the woven material was assumed to be linen, and no consideration was given to any possible admixture, all the non-linen fibres being dismissed as ‘incidental’ or ‘extraneous.’
    And that brings us to Gérard Lucotte’s highly controversial examination of some fibres hoovered up from between the shroud and its backing. He says: “Nous avons pu computer lors de notre dénombrement 16 fibres individuelles de cotton (pour 137 fibres de lin).” (about 10%)
    Is cotton unique to the C14 sample area? No.
    Have we sufficient evidence to claim that the sample area contained a different proportion of cotton from the rest of the shroud? No.
    Can we be sure that the cotton content of the shroud is constant throughout its area? No.
    I don’t know what to make of it all, myself.

    1. Hugh: To the best of my knowledge no threads from areas away from the C14 corner have been analysed.

      So your knowledge is poor. Several threads outside C14 corner were extracted for specific resaerches, see for example Appendix D in Wilson’s 1978 Shroud. Also several threads were taken for Pier Luigi Baima-Bollone for blood examinations. What is often forgotten, not only the STURP has examined the Shroud.

      Charles: Has anyone found ENOUGH cotton on the Shroud anywhere to make the cotton in itself a skewer of radiocarbon dates of the linen?

      You have already showed your ignorance. The patch consists mainly of flax. The presence of cotton is nothing but an indicator that the C14/Raes area has been manipulated.

      About Gossypium herbaceum pointing to Middle East origin, this is erronous and outdated interpretation. You are playing with straw man now, like a typical sceptic.

      Yes the cotton was found outside C14 area -but also, wool, silk and nylon (invented in 20th century) was found on the tapes, but only in the form of dust that had fallen onto the surface of the cloth.

      As to the cotton, see http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/thibaultr7part1.pdf

      Quote: The third important point is that this “old cotton”, even if it is found in the outer part of the thread, is clearly not a contamination. It is part of the thread. All cotton fibers are similar andfrom the same species and are very different from modern cotton (only 2 modern cotton fibers was found in this part)
      .

      In 1973 Raes took two samples, one from the famous Raes corner, and another from the side strip. The sample from side strip did not contain cotton.

      1. See also:

        http://www.ohioshroudconference.com/papers/p09.pdf

        “Also in the ventral missing-corner section, which we hypothesize to consist of restorative surface dyes and what was likely an undocumented “invisible” medieval repair, is the section from which the 1973 Raes sample was extracted for analysis. In this sample, Raes found that the side seam had been attached to the adjacent main Shroud by a 2-ply- linen sewing thread (18).By removing the sewing thread, Raes was able to separate his sample into two distinct pieces, which he identified as “Piece 1” and “Piece 2.” Each piece exhibits different characteristics, such as cotton content, lignin content at the growth nodes, and thread size, suggesting two different origins of the yarns.”

      2. Hugh: “To the best of my knowledge no threads from areas away from the C14 corner have been analysed.”
        O.K.: “So your knowledge is poor. Several threads outside C14 corner were extracted for specific researches, see for example Appendix D in Wilson’s 1978 Shroud. Also several threads were taken for Pier Luigi Baima-Bollone for blood examinations.”
        Hugh: “Well that’s wonderful. Please don’t keep us in suspense. Where can I read these analyses?”

  9. Hugh,

    The issue is interwoven Cotton. Rogers looked for it and did not find in any areas other than the C14 sample area. I am have an appointment so I can not comment further. And if you are relying on McCrone for anything, you really aren’t as smart as I thought you were. McCrone made it quite clear to Gove that he was interested in enhancing his reputation by proving the Shroud a fake,

    I am astonished by your seeming claim that no one examined the non-sample area for cotton. Really. Rogers did and the entire STURP team did not find cotton in 1978.

    But you are simply factually wrong.

    1. If you have any evidence describing any attempt to assess the proportion of cotton to linen in the threads of the shroud away from the C14 area I would love to know of it. Heller & Adler, McCrone and Lucotte describe their observations in detail. Rogers does not. In “A Chemist’s Perspective on the Shroud of Turin” he makes a number of statements about cotton, such as: “The shroud is nearly pure linen”, “Cotton is not common in Shroud samples”, “I did not attempt to make a quantitative cotton comparison between Raes and radiocarbon threads and Shroud tapes, because there was too little cotton of any kind on Shroud samples”, “We could not find more than traces of cotton on the Shroud. The cloth appeared to be pure linen,” and “Samples from the main part of the cloth are significantly different from the Raes samples and the radiocarbon sample with regard to cotton content.” Finally, of a tape sample from the ankle, “Absolutely no cotton could be found among the hundreds of fibres on this tape sample.”
      This hardly constitutes a blanket denial across the shroud, although it does suggest that cotton content is both small and variable. That would be in keeping with random fibres mixed in with the weaving, but not, I think, with any deliberate attempt to spin mixed flax/cotton thread.
      Supposing one did want to spin a flax/cotton mixed thread – perhaps to combine durability with comfort or something similar. What proportions would make a difference? 10% cotton? More? I haven’t a clue. Anybody like to guess?

  10. Hugh Farey :
    Hugh: “Well that’s wonderful. Please don’t keep us in suspense. Where can I read these analyses?”

    PierLuigi Baima -Bollone – Sindone, 101 domande e risposte for example, but they say nothing about cotton content, perhaps because they used the threads for different purposes, and were not interested about cotton.

  11. http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/thibaultr7part3.pdf

    First, it must be recalled that Gilbert Raes found no cotton in Piece (or Part) 2 of his sample contrary to Piece 1. Piece 2 was the smallest part of his sample and was in the so-called “side-strip” of the Shroud. Different studies have shown that the side-strip pertains to (or at least is continuous with) the original Shroud.

  12. Hugh,

    You seem to be dodging a point: the linen in the sample was subsatntially different than the rest of the Shroud. The distinction was found in the existence of vanillin in the sample but not in the rest of the Shroud. If a fire incident was responsible for excessive heat altering vanillin levels, the existence of significant vanillin in the sample and none in the rest of the Shroud would mean that the sample quite likely was not added to after the 1532 fire.

    The level of cotton was not a major factor in determing the age of the samples. The relative “youth” of the sample linen was far more important.

    I can not add anything to the post of O.K. as I am writing this from library but I thank him for his contribution.

    As far as I know Hugh you have never conducted experiments or eaxaminations of Shroud fibers. Neither have I. But you seem insistent that those who have such as Rogers are somehow incompetent or charlatans. Do you really think you are a better scientist than Rogers? If so, maybe we need more information about your publications and other scientific accomplishments. Since yousdenigrate the work of Rogers, Brown and Villarreal is that such an unreasonable request?Their credentials are a matter of public record.

    I once determined when I first starting practicing law that an expert was someone with a library card and a point of view, My son Michael later corrected me: an expert is someone with a library card, a point of view and a check. The only ones with a check in this case were the C14 labs.

    Packing-up and heading home

  13. “As far as I know Hugh you have never conducted experiments or eaxaminations of Shroud fibers. Neither have I. But you seem insistent that those who have such as Rogers are somehow incompetent or charlatans. Do you really think you are a better scientist than Rogers? If so, maybe we need more information about your publications and other scientific accomplishments. Since yousdenigrate the work of Rogers, Brown and Villarreal is that such an unreasonable request?Their credentials are a matter of public record.”

    One always hesitate – or should – before criticizing the published work of a particular scientist, regardless of whether one considers his credentials superior to one’s own or not. But if the work is published, then its merits and demerits are exposed for all to see, and no one should feel in the least bit inhibited from proffering criticisms, merely because some people are perceived by lay observers as being so elevated in the scientific pecking order as to be beyond criticism.

    That’s why we have publications – not edicts. Scientific research is a collegiate exercise – performed in the open (inasmuch as conference proceedings etc are usually publicized). It’s not something conducted in smoke-filled backrooms, with mafia godfathers calling the shots, or at any rate shouldn’t be. The internet offers an opportunity for everyone to participate in the argument. What matters ultimately is not who people are re academic qualifications and background, but what useful points they have to make. Hugh Farey is high on my list of people who have useful points to make – but then he’s a old-school science bod, someone who latches onto the detail (it often being the detail that is crucial to establishing the facts).

    Rogers was a proactive chemist, prepared to try new untested methodology, which was good. But he should have discussed and shared his findings with more of his peers before going to press. It’s understandable why he felt under time pressure, given the medical circumstances, but no one should feel inhibited from criticizing his findings and conclusions. He was a human being with human failings – same as the rest of us. His work needs to be approached with caution and a keen critical eye. You see, Raymond Rogers had his blind spots. Describing linen hemicelluloses as “impurities” is a case in point.

    STURP would have benefited from having 10 independent-minded, mutually-interacting Rogers – instead of one somewhat over-prescriptive chemical guru.

  14. Colin,

    You ignore the established fact that Rogers did consult with colleagues including John Brown, Arnoldi, and Villarreal along with several of Villarreal’s associates.

    1. Whilst not wishing to demean any of the people you list, John, all sound scientists to a man I’ve no doubt, Raymond Rogers was appointed as Director of Chemical Research for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP). So when I say he should have consulted with peers, it should have been with people whose names are instantly recognizable on the chemical circuit. Had you heard of any of those names before commencing your research?

  15. “But you seem insistent that those who have such as Rogers are somehow incompetent or charlatans. Do you really think you are a better scientist than Rogers?” No, M’learned friend, I claimed nothing of the kind. I claimed that four men of much more experience and practical hands-on experience of the actual shroud than me came up with four completely different ideas about the proportions of cotton on the shroud. You do not need to be any kind of scientist to think that 2% is a different number from 100%.
    Still, never mind, I note that after my detailed, clear and referenced response to your comment at 3:43 on 21 October, in which you wondered if anybody on this blog was intelligent, you suddenly introduced for the first time the question of vanillin and had the boldness to suggest that it was I who had ignored it.
    Not at all. Rogers’s observations are extremely interesting. The 1978 STURP tests for lignin had proved negative across the shroud, whereas Rogers did detect it on Raes threads given to him 20 years later. There are a number of possible reasons for this, but I don’t know enough about them, yet, to be able to account for it. I note that a description of madder root dye, which Rogers also found, says that it contains three coloured chemicals (alizarin, purpurin and xanthin) and also lignin, gum, sugar, resin, and various other minor chemicals. I wonder if that could be the source of the vanillin?

    1. Hugh,

      You are working awfully hard to impeach Rogers’ work. “There are a number of possible reasons for this, but I don’t know enough about them, yet, to be able to account for it. I note that a description of madder root dye, which Rogers also found, says that it contains three coloured chemicals (alizarin, purpurin and xanthin) and also lignin, gum, sugar, resin, and various other minor chemicals. I wonder if that could be the source of the vanillin?”

      The lignin is the source if the vanillin. Rogers gave a standardized test for vanillin which he tells us is actually the standard test for for lignin. .Are you playing possum? Asking a questions for which you think you have an answer? It would be nice if you could spare us the suspense and cite some authority for your speculation. If you can’t you are clearly in the area of pseudo-skepticism, searching wildly for an explanation for facts you just can’t accept. I really think at this point, barring an explanation with citations to scientific authority as to why an experienced master chemist (which he was) like Rogers would be so ignorant as to not recognize the truth you may be withholding and mistake these seemingly disparate chemicals for vanillin which he has identified. That test was zero for the Shroud and quite high for the C14 and Raes samples.

      Are you saying the positive result for the test was caused by these chemicals. If you don’t have authority for that proposition, this discussion is over for now. Rogers documented for us in his article and book the steps he took and the tests he used to detect vanillin which is the standard test to identify lignin. No disrespect, but I have other fish to fry.

  16. Only one problem I can see with that line of questioning, presuming this is a Jewish man who is buried (which is most likely if not proven), the Jews do not mix different contents like cotton and linen. It’s against Jewish custom if I recall correctly.

    1. Okay. Once more into breach. Bravo Andy, bravo. There is no interwoven cotton on the Shroud in chief. That is the quite positive determination of the STURP team. Whether the interwoven cotton in the C14 sample itself was sufficient to skew the C14 results, the fact is that Rogers identified the linen in C14 as being of medieval or later manufacture. The initial impulse to think the cotton was the principal skewing agent was incorrect. It was the medieval manufacture of the patch with new European linen that was the principal cause. The test for vanillin by Rogers on the fibers from the Shroud in chief was negative – zero. The presence of vanillin in the sample taken from this woebegone corner was positive. They were not the same material.

      What you have pointed it reinforces the fact that the cotton would not have been in the Shroud when obtained by Joseph of Arimathea. As a devout Jew he would not have purchased a mixed item. As a matter of fact, when it was purchased by Joseph the science supports the conclusion that there was no cotton in the Shroud. Transient cotton contamination was observed. Not interweaving and splicing as occurred on the C14 sample.

      The interwoven and spliced cotton is an important marker, but the principal proof of age is the vanillin tests.

      PS: This discussion has really helped me sharpen my view. But it is really time to move on.

      1. There is no interwoven cotton on the Shroud in chief. That is the quite positive determination of the STURP team.

        I would have described it as a quite negative determination , i.e. that STURP was unable to confirm previous claims for a cotton presence. But determining whether cotton was present, and if so, in what amounts, could hardly be said to have been major part of STURP’s mission. Why should it – when there were no big controversies at the time regarding the significance, if any, to attach to cotton (they having come post radiocarbon dating). In any case, STURP’s sticky tape sampling of surface fibres could only have detected a major presence of cotton, and been hard pushed to distinguish between, say, 1% and 5% cotton, and even then we are assuming that there is no difference between flax and cotton fibres in their relative ease of detachment (by no means self-evident).

        I for one will keep looking for pre-STURP references to cotton, considering that STURP is/was not the last word on the subject (and certainly not the first).

  17. I see we have moved on from the evidence to the summing up, in the hope that the jury will forget the evidence. The quotations from Rogers’s book above cannot be summed up as “There is no interwoven cotton on the Shroud in chief. That is the quite positive determination of the STURP team” without a certain amount of terminological inexactitude.
    Next we have Rogers’s unimpeachable work in which he tested threads covered with madder and found vanillin. I do not dispute that for a moment. I wish I could ask him if it is possible that the positive vanillin test came from the madder rather than the threads, as the standard test he describes would not differentiate between the two.
    Nor does Rogers at any time say, or even imply, that he tested main shroud threads for vanillin. The lignin test (which relies on vanillin) was carried out by the STURP team in 1978, with negative results.

  18. Yes, the problem with the Rogers’ 2005 paper is the almost complete lack of references (only ten). How does he know that the linen from the Dead Sea Scrolls had no vanillin on it? Not referenced so we cannot know – my limited research can’t find anything about it anywhere although there is an obscure excavation report on the linens that I cannot find a copy of. If that was his source he should have referenced it. Ten references for a paper that has been used as authoritative is just not good enough and his peers should have made him put them in.
    Flury -Lemberg asked in her paper where the anomalous patch posited by Marino, Benford and Roger’s began and ended as she could not see it. What she COULD see was discolouration from grime etc. that marked this area in particular. So far as I know her question has not been answered. Perhaps those who say there is an anomalous area of the cloth in this corner could point out where it begins and ends. That would be a great help to taking the discussion on.

    1. Why not get that retained (unused )piece – approximately half of what Riggi snipped from the corner – then punch out small discs, say 5mm diameter, of fabric along two dimensions at right angles? Each disc would be subjected to close scrutiny under the microscope (crossed polaroids etc) to determine their relative content of linen v cotton fibres.

      If there’s any truth in the patch theory (which I doubt somehow) there should be some kind of systematic trends or maybe abrupt transition zones. That’s assuming the entire retained fragment is not 100% patch. If there’s been no patching, the cotton/linen ratio should show no systematic transitions or trends.

      Oh, and repeat the radiocarbon dating on that same (oddly neglected) retained strip, but using a single clean-up procedure to minimize statistical noise. When the new results are announced, John Klotz, Stephen Jones etc should be allowed to subject the messenger and supporting lab staff to lie detector tests. They could also insist on the new dates being followed by a ? rather than ! mark, to avoid sending wrong signals re objectivity. ;-)

  19. Much of the above, written by pseudo-skeptical earth scientists, convinced that their particular expertise has all the answers, is arrant nonsense. They strain at gnats and swallow camels. With no formal training in Critical Thinking, they fail to understand the concept of ‘weight of evidence’ as far as all the properties and other features of the TS is concerned. The TS is a challenge to their particular world-view, and creates a chronic anxiety that this world-view of theirs may indeed be false.

    Concerning the mixing of kinds, there is no Judaic prohibition on mixing cotton with linen. The prohibition relates to the mixing of animal and vegetable products sucj as the mixing of cotton or linen with wool. It is possible that its origins may have been associated with the practice of pagan priests mixing these products in their garments, or else to restrain lower orders from wearing expensive linen. Its religious significance comes from the concept of distinctions whereby Yaweh’s people of Israel were to be separate from gentiles.

    Concerning the mixing of cotton with linen:
    Its earliest occurrence commenced in Egypt about 200AD with the manufacture of fustian, whereby cotton and linen were used separately for warp and weft threads to compensate for the weaker properties of the other, expense, brittleness, susceptibility to dyes, etc. It slowly spread through North Africa, not reaching Spain until the 13th century.

    Cotton found its way to Italy possibly as early as the 13th century. Bulk cotton and linen fibres were stored in the same spinning work-rooms, the cotton permeating the air, getting on the clothes of the spinners and contaminating linen thread. Cotton as a contaminant of linen would therefore date from this era. There is no such contaminating cotton in the linen threads of the TS, except for that in the Raes area. I have seen several photographs of many of the STURP scientists minutely examining the TS for signs of cotton with microscopes. None of them found any cotton.

    Possible sources of surface contamination, include the stitching of the 1534 patches with cotton, and perhaps the cotton gloves used by the STURP team.

    From about the 13th century, cotton was deliberately mixed with linen for a number of reasons: it bulked out the more expensive linen; it compensated the brittleness of linen, and would accept dyes more readily. On the other hand linen was more durable and longer lasting, as lacking pectin needed by moths it was more resistant to insect attack.

    Raes discovery of cotton in his sample, found its way into Ian Wilson’s 1978 book, leading to the speculation that it was more pervasive, and that perhaps the cloth had been woven on looms also used for weaving cotton, and it was therefore of Middle East provenance. That speculation is no longer viable.

    Until 1842, the Savoy showings of the TS were always displayed by five bishops holding it along its edge, often in the open air, doubtless with prospects of all sorts of contamination, and damage to the cloth. There are several different illustration of these events on record. Even bishops in those days did not take regular showers!

    In 1868, Princess Clotilde replaced Valfre’s lining with a new red silk lining. She may well have been the one who carried out the evident repair in the Raes area. She had the skills, and the resources. From 1868, the manual displays had ceased, and from that date, the displays were always held in a static frame. If Clotilde did the repair work, that would certainly account for the skewing of the C-14 date. It may also account for the decision to abandon the manual displays.

    There is much more evidence corroborating the authenticity of the TS, than the mere absence of cotton in its main body. They include the absence of vanillin as one such. However the absence of cotton is merely another link in the chain of evidence, which places its provenance well before the 1355 display at Lirey.

    Get over it! You’re wrong! The Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth! Whether that challenges your world-view or not, is your problem!

    1. “There is much more evidence corroborating the authenticity of the TS, than the mere absence of cotton in its main body. They include the absence of vanillin as one such. However the absence of cotton is merely another link in the chain of evidence, which places its provenance well before the 1355 display at Lirey.” (My bolding).

      There is no such thing as a “chain of evidence” if the evidence is disparate and stand-alone in nature (cotton today, lignin tomorrow etc), each separate ‘debating point’ failing to stand up to close scrutiny, whether by those with the right or wrong “world view”, or whose formal training (indoctrination?) failed to include “critical thinking”.

      I may be mistaken, but the very idea of formal classes in critical thinking being an indispensable preparation for academic or scientific scholarship carries with it a strong whiff of an ideological or religious agenda. Did you by any chance go to a Jesuit school, daveb? (“Give me the child…”)

      I still try to maintain an open mind about the rival claims made for the presence or absence of cotton and lignin, feeling that the evidence is not yet all in. But can others say the same, especially those who look beyond the specific arguments to other people’s’ “world view”?

  20. Not Jesuits, but I did value the introduction to Thomistic apologetics at the Christian Brothers college I attended, and exposure to the Dominican chaplains at University. In later life, I completed formal papers in ‘Critical Thinking’ and similar related topics in the Dept of Philosophy at Massey U in NZ, hardly geared to a religious agenda. I also completed several assorted papers in their Religious Studies dept, and so have a good understanding of world religions from primal, ancient, modern, western and eastern beliefs, practices, and their critical issues, hardly a singularly selective perspective. I have rather more training in mathematics than most of my other one-time professional colleagues in engineering, which you would know requires a keen discipline of thinking and logic. In the last 10 years of my working life I was part of an Internal Audit team in a major NZ Corporate, contributed, and came to understand the nuances of what constitutes real evidence. Incidentally, I was then instrumental in designing their legitimate SAMPLING SYSTEMS for audit purposes, and know something about that as well. I’ve also been a long-time fan of John Mortimer’s ‘Rumpole of Old Bailey’. I trust all that answers your query!

  21. Pretty sure this was in Mectilde Lemberg-Fleury’s work-didn’t she write a book? It may have been on the sugar coated shroud.
    The average weight of the Shroud linen ranges between 20-25 mg per square centimeter. The weight of the carbon14 sample is 42 mg per square centimeter.

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