imageHe tells us that he is writing to the Vatican to encourage a new round of carbon dating. I think that’s great. I’d like to see it. But I have a different perspective. I spent my entire career in business. I worked for a major corporation for 25 years and I ran a small company for another decade. I’m not a scientist by training but I’ve learned a great deal from scientists who have worked for me – mainly I learned how much I don’t know. I’m in awe of people like Hugh, Colin and Kelly.

Business people tend to look at things differently. Would we “bet the farm” on a single proposition?  And we business people love to make bullet and number charts and think like the world is a big organization chart. Perhaps it comes from our inadequacies in science. So here is how I’d like to see a new round of tests organized:

Create an international, multidisciplinary umbrella organization (e.g. STURP 2). Within it there should be a Provenance Group organized  into three sections, as follows:

A) Direct Scientific Methods to be considered and possibly used:

  1. Radiocarbon dating
  2. Vanillin
  3. Micromechanical Properties Analysis
  4. Other?
  • Limitations and Advantages. Reliability.
  • Important question for each method is appropriateness for ancient flax fiber,
  • Potential problems such as thymol (C14), extreme temperature (Vanillin), etc.
  • Completely transparent protocols published in advance.
  • Actual tests outsourced to labs as needed (no lab involvement in sampling or writing protocols).

B) Historical Support Analytics

  1. Pollens (new samples and re-examination of Frei and Rogers tapes)
  2. Banding. Thread following filtering as opposed to FFT methods. Identify all hank changes (laying in) to see if they match changes in color that would support hank bleaching theory. 
  3. High magnification, high quality, photography of eyes and places where some plants have been identified. Can we see anything meaningful?
  4. Other?

C) Other Considerations

  1. The Sudarium. What can be tested to see if these cloths did indeed contact each other?
  2. Historical Documents such as the Hungarian Pray Manuscript. How good a visual match?
  3. Other?

Since people in the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Turin read this blog almost daily (yes, I know that), I’ll just let this posting substitute for my letter. And you all get to comment.