Colin Berry on Rogers’ Thermochimica Acta Paper

imageColin Berry has posted Critique of Rogers’ so-called vanillin clock for dating the Shroud: why was Stanley T.Kosiewicz not a co-author (and where’s the data)? in his blog. Therein he writes:

Some, myself  included, say it [= Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the shroud of Turin by Raymond N. Rogers] should never have been published. Unsentimental, certainly, but science has to be ruthlessly unsentimental, or it would quickly cease to be science.

The same standards should apply to any paper submitted for publication, regardless of what the journal’s referees and editors might know about the paper’s authors, which in the case of Thermochimica Acta would have been a great deal (since  according to his wiki entry Rogers was both a founder and long-term editor of the journal).

There may be a lesson in how writing for clarity in this.  One might mistakenly think Rogers was the long-term editor when the paper was submitted in April of 2004, One might even think he was still editor, when after months of peer review, the paper was accepted in September of 2004 and finally published in 2005.  Here is a paragraph from Wikipedia article Colin cites (it would not have been too much to include it or at least include the last sentence).

During his career Rogers published over forty peer-reviewed papers on chemistry. In 1981 he was named Laboratory Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Other honors included being named a Tour Speaker for the American Chemical Society in 1971, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Distinguished Performance Award in 1984 and the Department of the Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal in 1991. He also served as the editor for Energetic Materials, a peer-reviewed scientific journal from 1983-1988. He was also on the editorial board of Thermochimica Acta from the first issue of this journal in 1970 (also the very first paper published in the first issue of this journal is authored by him) until his retirement in 1988.

He had not served on the editorial board since 1988. That was how many years before he submitted the article. And I don’t see where he was the long-term editor. Where did that come from?

Does Colin agree, then, that the following is a problem, given his constant defense of the scientists involved in the carbon dating in 1988. Quoting from a paper by Mark Oxley:

In late 2010 the scientific journal Radiocarbon published a paper entitled “Investigating a Dated Piece of the Shroud of Turin” by Prof Timothy Jull of the University of Arizona and Rachel Freer-Waters. In this paper they described how they had microscopically examined a sample cut from the Shroud of Turin and found no evidence for any contamination, particularly in the form of coatings or dyeing, in the material of the sample. They concluded that they could find no reason to dispute the original carbon-14 measurements which, in 1988, had shown the Shroud to be dated between 1260 and 1390.

Radiocarbon is peer-reviewed. Jull was editor of the journal when his article was published. One must wonder, did he pick the peers? Did he review and respond to the peers as the author of his paper or as the editor of the journal? I had raised these questions. I was not concerned about Rogers when I wrote this because he was no longer on the editorial review board; it had been several years. But Jull, in my mind, was a different issue.

Colin  wrote, “[S]cience has to be ruthlessly unsentimental.” While those weren’t my words, it was what I thought. Paolo Di Lazzaro disagreed with me. He defended Jull on this issue when he wrote:

It isn’t the first time that an Editor is co-author of a paper submitted to its own journal. And usually the (formal) problem is easily solved by a blind review procedure.

As an example, I faced a similar spot when I submitted two papers for publication in the Proceeding volume of IWSAI (International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos images). I was co-author of two papers and at the same time editor of the Proceedings and responsible for the choice of the Referees.

I solved this problem asking to a colleague to manage the review procedure: select the Referees, receive from each Referee the anonymous review, and send me the same reviews. She received my reply and the corrected paper and she sent it to the Referees for the final response.

In summary, there are simple rules to avoid a conflict of interest. It is likely Jull followed the same method.

A friend of mine, a chemist with a major corporation, also corrected me. In specialized fields, he explained, recognized experts are often called upon to serve as editors or on editorial committees of journals for which there are few or no competitive journals. Scientists picked for editorship and committees are among the best in their fields. Thus they are the same people most likely to publish often. And publish they do and they do so in “their” journals. It would be ridiculous and unscientific to deny them the opportunity to do so or to force them to publish in lesser journals. Check it out. The best scientists serve the best journals and they do ethically. They are in those positions because in addition to being talented they are trusted. The criticism, mine at the time, is without merit.

I learned from this. I hope that Colin reevaluates his position. He is widely published as a chemist and he may want to check with some publications with which he is familiar. This would be a valuable contribution to everyone’s understanding of the peer review process.

A New ‘In Case You Missed It’ from STERA

Barrie Schwortz writes on STERA’s Facebook page:

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT… In 2012 an international Shroud Congress was held in Valencia, Spain and many excellent papers were presented by noted Shroud scholars from around the world, including Emanuela Marinelli, Bruno Barberis, Ian Wilson, Paolo Di Lazzaro, Mark Guscin, César Barta Gil, Robert Villarreal and many more. More than a dozen of the papers are available on in both English and Spanish language versions and are well worth your time.


1st International Congress on the Holy Shroud in Spain – Valencia

From the linked to page at

This extremely successful conference was organized and sponsored by the highly respected Centro Español de Sindonologia (CES), which is also celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. With a host of speakers from around the world presenting papers on a wide array of Shroud related topics, the public event attracted a large volume of attendees who filled the beautiful auditorium at the University of Valencia every day. Speakers included noted members of the CES like President Jorge Manuel Rodriguez, Dr. Alfonso Munoz-Cobo, César Barta, Fr. Manuel Carreira, Mark Guscin and many more, as well as Bruno Barberis, Emanuela Marinelli, Marzia Boi, and Paolo di Lazzaro from Italy, John and Rebecca Jackson, Robert Villarreal and Barrie Schwortz from the U.S., Ian Wilson from Australia and David Rolfe from the UK.. Below you will find a complete chronological listing of the speakers and their topics. We have also included links to some of the excellent papers that were presented and hope to add more in the future. In some cases, we have included the actual PowerPoint presentations shown by the speakers so you can see the images that went with the text of their papers.

It is really worth your time to browse through this page if you missed it before. Or maybe like me, you just want to be reminded of what’s there.

Ian Wilson Responds to a Posting in This Blog

In the current edition of BSTS, Ian Wilson writes:

imageMainly for reasons of time management I have to confess that rarely if ever do I look at the various Shroud ‘blogs’ on the Internet, let alone get involved in any chat rooms. However a few weeks ago my fellow Australian Stephen Jones kindly drew my attention to an article by Max Patrick Hamon that had appeared on the Dan Porter ‘Shroud Story’ website. The article in question can be accessed at [link corrected].

[ . . .]

In chapter 11 of my most recent (2010) book on the Shroud I discussed the likelihood that it was our Shroud, temporarily brought to Jerusalem after an earthquake had devastated Edessa’s Hagia Sophia cathedral on Easter Sunday 679, which received the ‘trial by fire’ on a sudarium of Jesus ordered at around that time by the Muslim Caliph Mu’awiyah, as described by direct eyewitness French bishop Arculf to Abbot Adamnan of Iona. So given that our Shroud had been viewed at full length by at least one western observer at the end of the seventh century, for there to appear in a manuscript of the early ninth century an image distantly based on that experience, even though not exactly headlinegrabbing, is not totally beyond the bounds of possibility.

But where, in my view, Max Patrick Hamon goes way ‘over the top’ – thereby doing disservice to the scrupulous evidential approach that the subject of the Shroud so badly needs from its proponents – is with regard to his claim that the exaggeratedly expressive hand of the man seen on the right wielding his scourge is a cryptic rendition of the shape of the ‘epsilon-shaped blood rivulet over the eyebrow’ as seen on the Shroud’s frontal image. Obviously if this argument could be sustained it would represent strong evidence for the Shroud’s existence back around 820-30. And if all the other hands depicted in the Stuttgart Psalter were of regular size and shape, the Fol. 43v illumination thereby being a single, striking

exception to the rest, then there might be some serious justification for Hamon’s argument. But it is a very simple matter for anyone to consult the entirety of other folios from the Stuttgart Psalter via the link: id=4870&tx_dlf%5Bid%5D=1517&tx_dlf%5Bpage%5D=90

And as immediately becomes evident, exaggerated or caricaturelike hands are effectively a very common motif for this particular monk illuminator. Even on the very next folio, illustrating the 21st verse of the same Psalm 34/35* (below), there appears a similar example, and there are plenty more to be found elsewhere.

So I am sorry, but much as I would like to be able to endorse Max Patrick Hamon’s argument, it doesn’t get any support from me…

How Safe is The Shroud of Turin?

imageBarbie Latza Nadeau (pictured), the Rome bureau chief for The Daily Beast, yesterday penned an article for news journal entitled, Who Stole John Paul’s Blood And Christ’s Foreskin?

The theft of John Paul II’s blood from a church in Abruzzo has been the worst case of relic theft since Jesus’s prepuce disappeared from Rome in 1983.

[ . . . ]

Relic theft is a common problem in Italy’s churches, especially those that are unattended in the outlying regions where surveillance cameras and guards are too costly.  And all of Italy’s churches are required to have at least one holy relic, as decreed in the Middle Ages. Among the most famous is the Shroud of Turin, which is thought to be a burial cloth placed over the face of Jesus, which is kept under guard at St. John the Baptist church in Turin. (emphasis mine)

Really, you’d think that a bureau chief in Rome for a major news outlet (15 million unique visitors per month), who has been in Rome since1996, would be able to offer a more accurate description of the shroud than “. . .  a burial cloth placed over the face of Jesus.”

Of far greater importance: Nadeau’s short article makes me wonder about how safe the shroud is, not just from theft but from terrorist attack? 

More Good Exposure

imageA reader tipped me off to this. There is a re-issued special edition LIFE book in paperback on retail shelves in drugstores, groceries and stores like Walmart. It is called "Jesus…Who do you say I Am".

There is a brief mention of the shroud on Page 7 which has a small negative image of the face of the man in the shroud against a full page of Leonardo’s beardless painting of Jesus" head of Christ". So far it’s respectful and informative with very nice pictures, certainly recommend. Regard.

I also found it at Amazon although Amazon only showed the older version, October 2012, published as a hardcover and I don’t know if both versions are identical. Here is the description from Amazon:

LIFE Books managing editor, Robert Sullivan, has twice been awarded the Wilbur Award for best religion feature in a national magazine and has authored LIFE’s New York Times best-selling biography of Pope John Paul II. He brings to this book his expertise on the subject of Christianity a long with text informed by the world’s great scholars, theologians and religious figures.

Jesus emerged from nowhere to become, in his short life-perhaps as few as 32 years-a thinker, teacher and preacher whose words and deeds would change the world and become the foundation for the world’s largest religion. But the biography as outlined in the New Testament and apocryphal writings only tells us so much. LIFE’s editors go, in words and pictures, in search of Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter’s son who would one day influence all. The great photographer Denis Waugh once made a thorough, colorful and moving pictorial pilgrimage to the Holy Land exclusively for LIFE, and those images will anchor our quest. We will travel, as well, to the Vatican, to the missions of Africa, to the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco-to all that has risen in Jesus, name. In the book’s final section, we will look at Christianity today: Its still vastly influential place in our tumultuous world.

Moving the Exclamation Point

clip_image001A new book by Giulio Fanti and Pierandrea Malfi,  Sindone: Primo Secolo Dopo Cristo, is now available from Italian booksellers Libreria Cattolica and Edizioni Segno.

This is the book description as it appears at Libreria Cattolica (translated by Bing):


After the radiocarbon test of 1988, the scientists responsible were photographed with the date written on the Blackboard  . . . followed by an exclamation point; now, the exclamation point must be reported to a date in the first century after Christ. Among the most interesting news is not only that new methods of mechanical and chemical, dating the Shroud is compatible with the period in which Jesus of Nazareth lived in Palestine, but who was also a model for numismatic Byzantine iconography from 692 ad who carved the coins in those years had just seven chances on a billion billion coin that particular face of Christ without having seen the image on the shroud. Scientific studies on the Relic to date fail to provide conclusive answers both on the identity of the Man who was wrapped up, both on the dynamics of formation of image imprinted thereon. The human science must admit its limitations, but studies continue to dispel erroneous conclusions and absurd assumptions. The book not only addresses these issues in a scientific way and objective as possible, but within everyone’s reach, leading the reader through new research paths.

While I congratulate the authors on publishing the book, I wonder if anything has happened to independently verify these methods since we discussed them in Paper Chase: Giulio Fanti’s New Flax Fiber Dating Machine.

Ian Wilson to Speak on the Shroud of Turin in Melbourne

imageIn an article, Shroud of Turin – Conversation & Controversy, appearing in The Culture Concept Circle, Carolyn McDowall writes:

Ian Wilson (1941 – ) is a prolific, internationally published author specializing in historical and religious mysteries. He graduated in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford, England, in 1963 and studied art at Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art during the same period.

He continually and enthusiastically conducts wide-ranging research projects, both at home and around the world, often giving exciting, tantalizing talks, pushing the edges and boundaries of a subject.

[ . . . ]

On 9th February at 3pm at Melbourne, all interested parties are invited to hear Ian Wilson present a lecture Latest Researches into the Shroud’s History – New Approached and Intriguing New Developments.

He is sure to create a few waves, because he will be talking about The Shroud of Turin, which is one of the most controversial subjects and most studied artifacts in history.




New Official St. Louis Conference Website


The design is excellent. Click HERE or on the above image to explore the site. There is an updates section that you will want to bookmark and visit frequently. For instance, you will note that . . .

Prof. Bruno Barberis Attending

The organizing committee extended an invitation to Prof. Bruno Barberis, Director of the International Center of Sindonology in Turin, and he has accepted.

We also already have preliminary commitments from six members of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP). Many other scientists and Shroud researchers are expected to attend. In addition to many new and exciting papers, roundtable discussions and open question & answer sessions are planned.

There is also a subscription mailing list for updates on the conference. The sign up form is conveniently located on every screen of the site in the lower right-hand corner.

Key dates to note for presenters:

  • Submission of Abstract:  15 April 2014
  • Acceptance/Rejection: 30 May 2014

Should Pope Francis Call for New Test?

imageBT writes:

As 2015 approaches there will be more calls for new tests to date the Shroud of Turin. The pope, because he is the legal owner of the cloth, should support new tests while remaining completely uninvolved in any discussions on protocols. He should make it clear that he will welcome for consideration a finalized proposal brought to him by a large multidisciplinary consortium of capable scholars. In the interest of credibility, the Centro’s role must be limited to reviewing and recommending acceptance or rejection of such a proposal following public hearings. The church and its officials must not negotiate protocols or participate in sampling or testing. As much as it may be an affront to academics and church officials, an independent auditing firm and several journalists should be involved in every phase of such a project.

Ideally, the first call for new tests should come from the pope. He might invite Oxford’s Christopher Ramsey and Arizona’s Timothy Jull to Rome to ask for a proposal.

How does the pope call for testing and then possibly reject an inadequate formal proposal? That would be difficult, it seems.

Time Out: Interruption Interrupted

imageIf you were holding your breath waiting for the next installment of Stephen Jones’  The case for fraud in the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud, relax: breath. He informs us:

Note. I have now realised that this topic is going to require a lot of research, which will distract me further from my series " The Shroud of Turin." So I am putting it on the backburner until I get to the topic in that series of the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, in "6. Science and the Shroud," which will be after I have covered "4. History of the Shroud" and "5. Art and the Shroud." That will enable me to then refer back to what Prof. Christopher Ramsey, Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit admitted was the "lot of other evidence that suggests to many thatthe Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow":

"There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information. Christopher Ramsey (March 2008)" ("The Shroud of Turin," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, Version 143 Issued 31/10/2013).

See: Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Jones for a bit of background in this.

Photomicrographs and More at Mario Latendresse’s Sindonology

O.K. writes:

I don’t know if you have seen what’s new on Mario’s webpage:

Besides, I would like to send those interesting pictures. The first one are Enrie photos from Wikipedia. The second one are processed in the ImageJ using Process>Find Edges function. Interesting as they outline no contours on the Shroud Image, as well as several folds.

Indeed. This is a nice and useful update. Check it out. And here are the pictures from O.K.:




It’s Today: Pete Schumacher in Copperas Cove, Texas

imageIt’s nice to know. And it’s  nice that the New Mexico Shroud Exhibit and Museum is mentioned. The Killeen Daily Herald is reporting:

It’s something that you’d see on the History Channel, or in the Vatican, but in Copperas Cove?

Life-size printouts and three-dimensional images of the Shroud of Turin will be at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Cove at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Presented by New Mexico Deacon Pete Schumacher, the two-hour event will explore and explain one of the largest research projects done on the Shroud in the late 1970s.

“I want (visitors) to see what the shroud is, in terms of what it physically is,” said Schumacher, who is also director of the Shroud Exhibit and Museum in Alamogorado, N.M. “I want people to understand it is a physical thing that exists and has properties that can be studied, but a lot of things that are left to question when it’s done.”

The original shroud is located at the Cathedral of John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. Also known as the Holy Shroud, the cloth bears the image of a man who has experienced great pain, believed to be Jesus Christ after his crucifixion.

In 1976, Schumacher was a production engineer for a company that made Video Process 8 image analyzers, a brightness-detecting machine would make a brightness map of whatever was introduced to it by a video camera, he said. The machine was delivered to two top scientists who started the Shroud of Turin Research Project; the machine was later used to analyze the shroud.

“When you introduce the Shroud of Turin to this machine, the brightness pattern becomes 3-D,” he said. “It doesn’t normally come out three-dimensional … It’s basically that discovery that launched one of the largest scientific studies.”

After the strange discovery, a team of 33 scientists from all religious backgrounds began analyzing the shroud to see what the supposed image was made of and how it got on the cloth. In the end, Schumacher said, no scientist could solidly explain how the image imprinted on the cloth, but the image is definitely that of a human man.

“The more people can know about things that we have within out tradition, the better they can understand,” said Father Chris Downey of the Holy Catholic Family Church. “When we as a people of faith get a chance to look at scientific proofs on things regarding faith, we should certainly admit them into the equation.”

Nice Editor Touch

I call your attention to the latest issue of the BSTS Newsletter and an article, “The Shroud and the Action Man by Hugh Duncan which I discuss in the previous posting, Radiation Man:  A New BSTS Article.

But here, in this posting, I want to call your attention to this nice touch at the end of the article. Thanks, Hugh. I think we can look forward to excellent and creative editing. This is what you will see in the newsletter.


Radiation Man: A New BSTS Article

imageI wondered if it was possible to model this radiation image forming process with a simple experiment at home and came up with the following idea: coating an Action Man doll [The US version is called G.I. Joe – editor] with luminous paint then sandwiching the ‘exposed-to-light’ model inside a photographic sheet in a dark room and see what sort of image forms

. . .  wrote Hugh Duncan in the latest issue of BSTS’s Newsletter (#78), referring to “promising” theory for the image having been formed by “radiation emanating from the body of the Man in the Shroud, which left a physical trace on the surface fibrils of the linen.”

Well, now, you know you must read The Shroud and the Action Man by Hugh Duncan. You will certainly want to comment on it.

I also call your attention to a related posting, Nice Editor Touch. It is the very next posting.

John Jackson: What does science have to say about the Shroud of Turin?

This is a presentation, just last week, by John Jackson to the Atheist Community of Colorado Springs (more details below). It’s handheld shaky and the audio leaves a lot to be desired; headphone will help. Enjoy.


Description at YouTube at:

Science on Tap – What does science have to say about the Shroud of Turin?

The Colorado Springs Science Center Project Presents:

Dr. John Jackson, Ph.D. President of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado
January 13, 2014 6:30pm to 8:00pm

CS Science on Tap is an outreach program of the Colorado Springs Science Center Project

The views and opinions expressed by speakers do not necessarily state or reflect those of Science on Tap or the Science Center Project, it just provides a forum for discussion.

Dr. John Jackson was the leader of the 1978 scientific team that studied the Shroud. He received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1972 from the Naval Postgraduate School with a dissertation on theoretical Cosmology. He was Chief of the Advanced Weapon Concept group at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory (1972-1976), Associate Professor of Physics at the United States Air Force Academy (1976-1980), Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (1980-1983), Sr. Scientist at Kaman Sciences (1983-1992), Adjunct scientist at the Institute for Defense Analyses (1992-2010), Presently retired and President of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado (1990-2013).

The Shroud of Turin was studied in 1978 by a group of scientists who professionally worked at major laboratories in the United States. Data collection from the Shroud included scientific photography, reflectance spectroscopy, X-Ray fluorescence, sample removal for chemical analysis, microscopy, etc. This group subsequently met at six month intervals for three years to review results and published these results in peer-reviewed scientific journals. An overview of what was obtained will be discussed, including comments on the subsequent radiocarbon measurement of the Shroud in 1988.

Hat tip to Joe Marino.

We Can Fantasize, Anyway

Here, we draw about 1,000 visitors per day who access an average of 2.8 postings.
Of that, 582 people follow the blog by email, Twitter or Facebook.

imageThe Huffington Post is reporting:

Headline: Harvard Bible edX Course ‘Early Christianity: The Letters Of Paul’ Draws 22,000 Students From 180 Countries– And Counting

Harvard professor Laura Nasrallah’s edX online course "Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul," has been called the largest and most concentrated scholarly discussion of Biblical studies in history, according to edX.

[ . . . ]

"Early Christianity" began just last week, and currently boasts a registration statistic of 22,000 students from 180 countries, according to information from edX. So far, 14,343 students have accessed the course software, spending a cumulative total of 2,822 hours in the course (approximately 201 days) where it’s possible to annotate text using the Poetry Genius website, view video lectures, and complete exercises. Forum activity has reached over 22,000 posts, and is increasing every day, while scores of students have recorded video introductions to get to know their far-flung classmates.

[ . . . ]

Nasrallah told The Huffington Post that she’s been impressed with the respectful and intelligent academic interaction going on in the discussion boards. "Religion in general and biblical studies in particular can lead to people feeling uncomfortable or upset at others’ opinions," she said. "But I haven’t found this in the Early Christianity: Letters of Paul course module. For example, one ‘conversation’ I read was between a self-proclaimed atheist and someone who self-identified as a born-again Christian. . . and the discussion was thoughtful and respectful although they differed in interpretation!"

Off Topic: Descent from the Cross

imageI’ve long been a fan of Marc Chagall, the Russian Jewish 20th Century modernist. Right now, through February 2, there is an exhibit, Chagall: Love, War, and Exile at the Jewish Museum on Manhattan’s upper east side. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to work in a trip to New York to see the exhibit.

Religious News Services is reporting about it:

NEW YORK (RNS) At a moment when the world is flush with new books and ever-evolving interpretations of Jesus, one of the last century’s artistic masters is providing art lovers with a striking take on the first-century religious figure.

The first U.S. exhibition exploring the “darker works” of Marc Chagall (1887-1985) shows a Jewish artist obsessed with Jesus.

Chagall: Love, War, and Exile,” at The Jewish Museum in New York showcases the work of the Russian-French artist during World War II as he tried to make sense of a world gone mad.

Of particular interest are paintings depicting the crucified Jesus — depictions that are often read as metaphors not only for war but the particular expressions of Jewish suffering and persecution in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s.

clip_image001One painting, among many that I particularly like, is Descent from the Cross (1941) (pictured above). It reminds me of the second illustration in the Hungarian Pray Manuscript (pictured to the left).

It is interesting to note that Chagall often painted Jesus with a halo. In most of his crucifixion works, he depicted Jesus wearing a loincloth with a tallit-style pattern. In one famous work, Apocalypse en Lilas: Capriccio, Chagall depicts Jesus naked on the cross above a storm trooper with a backwards swastika.

You may click on the images for larger versions

Note: Descent from the Cross, 1941, (upper right), ink and gouache on paper, 19 1/2 x 12 7/8 in. Collection of the Rastegar Family, California. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Photo courtesy of The Jewish Museum. This image is available for Web, courtesy of the Jewish Museum.

Comment Promoted: Are the Quad Mosaics Meaningless?

“Yer gotta larf, han’t yer…,” writes Hugh

And because he may be right.
And because the worst thing any of us can do
is promote authenticity or inauthenticity, on questionable information.

On the other hand . . . well, let’s be sure, now and thanks for the opportunity.

clip_image001Hugh commented in Cat Among the Pigeons:

The six quad mosaic images are at, close to the bottom. Two of them are enlargements of others. Three of the remaining four show exactly the same colouration: namely a pale blue upper, bright yellow middle and orange base, with green lower left-hand corners. The fourth has a blue central smudge which does not extend as far as the other three.

In his article “Some Details about the STURP Quad Mosaic Images” ( Barrie Schwortz quotes Jean Lorre, as follows:

“There was a strong illumination brightness falloff from the centre. This was eliminated by dividing each image by a flat field.”

Well it wasn’t, was it? Each of the images is brighter in the centre than it is around the edges. The flat field process may have diminished the brightness falloff, but it didn’t eliminate it, and that’s important. What Lorre is clearly explaining is what was hoped, or expected, not what actually happened. Let’s go on.

“We wanted to enhance the colour to reveal subtle colours which might betray spatial variations in chemical composition. […] we greatly exaggerated the colour saturations while preserving the original hues and intensities.”

A noble idea, but it didn’t work. Lorre wishes so much that it had, that he loses all touch with his own images in his next sentence.

“These colour images should be interpreted as a chemical composition map.”

Shall we take him at his word? Shall we agree that the blue bands across the top of three of the quad images really represent different chemicals from the yellow and orange below them? What might these blue bands be? They may be found across the front of the thighs, the head, and the buttocks. Shall we?

Or shall we agree that the illumination of the areas of the shroud by the photographic lights are responsible, and the colours have nothing to do with the chemical composition of the shroud at all.

Oh, and the image described as “ultraviolet” by Rogers? It’s the shape of the patches which gives it away. It’s the one captioned Quad Mosaic Dorsal Legs, which shows the bloodstained feet at the top, and nearly reaches the buttocks at the bottom. The camera zooms meaningfully into the bottom left hand corner of this image, apparently under the impression that it is looking at the medieval patching of the radiocarbon corner.

Yer gotta larf, han’t yer…

or cry!

Comment Promoted: Clarifying Details on the Reweave Theory Development

imageA telephone caller (it happens every now and then) suggested bringing a recent comment by Joe Marino to the forefront. “This is important information,” he said. I agree.

Joe had commented in Cat Among the Pigeons:

Some clarifications about the order and circumstances of the invisible reweave theory.

We did not start out with the Quad Mosaic photos when we first presented our theory in 2000. We had shown some experts photos that included a very high-quality photo of the C-14 area that’s in the excellent book by Gino Moretto (of the Shroud Museum in Turin) called Shroud Guide. It was only brought out in 2008 in the Chemistry Today article from 2008 and the presentation made at the Ohio Shroud conference that year.

Regarding the experts we showed it to, one was Thomas Ferguson & Co. Ltd, world-renowned makers of Double Damask Linen, another was Louis Harner of Albany International Research Company, and the third was European-trained weaver David Pearson, owner of the French Tailors in Columbus, Ohio, who was very familiar with the French invisible reweave technique. I will leave it to others to decide if the fact that they aren’t academics is significant.

Going back to the Quad Mosaic, there’s a very fine article on Barrie’s site about it at, with some important comments by the late Jean Lorre, an imaging expert from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Titulus Crucis: A Fascinating Guest Posting by O.K.

Titulus Crucis –a supplement to The idea of something being authentic is
"just too powerful"
on shroudstory.com1


In a recent post on Dan’s blog, Joe Marino wrote:

The Military Channel has a new series called "Myth Hunters." I just finished watching my recording from 16 January. The 1 hour episode was called "Quest for the True Cross" and featured German author/historian Michael Hesemann [pictured]. (Hesemann gave one to two presentations at the 2001 Dallas Shroud conference.)

While historical documents, certain archaeological data and comparative paleography indicate that the titulus crucis from the Santa Croce in Rome is authentic, the C-14 dating performed in 2002 did not agree. The results came out something like AD 842-1000.

The program spent several minutes on the Shroud. Robert Wilcox was interviewed for that portion and expressed doubts about the reliability of the C-14 results in that case. (Bob, you should have alerted us you were going to be on.) But they let a C-14 scientist give the old line that C-14 is practically infallible.

Although the program did give most of the time to Hesemann, at the end they once again touted how reliable C-14 is. The narrator ended by saying that believers won’t accept the reliability of the results in the case of the titulus crucis because the idea of it being authentic is "just too powerful."

Once again we have a case of mainstream science accepting the validity of C-14 dating over a wealth of other scientific and historical information that conflicts with the dating

I think I would like to add some of my thoughts on that. First: the results of 2002 carbondating of the Titulus can be found there.2 It was dated to 980-1146 AD at 95 % confidence level.

There are several books, and a couple of documentaries devoted to the subject of Titulus

Crucis. The most comprehensive are I think, The Quest for the True Cross, written by the late Carsten Peter Thiede and Matthew D’Ancona3, and Die stummen zeugen von Golgatha by

Hesemann.4 Some summary of their conclusions is also provided in Grzegorz Górny’s Witnesses to Mystery, pg. 81-95. Curiously, Górny seems to be unaware of 2002 carbondating, as Hesemann’s and Thiede’s works he probably used pre-date it.

The summary of the pre 2002 historical investigations can be summarized as follow. The board is made of walnut wood, 25×14 cm in size, 2.6 cm thick and has a weight of 687 g. There are fragments of Hebrew/Aramiac, as well as Greek and Latin (written mirror-style, just like the Hebrew/Aramaic, from the right to left). The Titulus was discovered by St. Helena in 326 AD, and then divided into two or three parts, one of which traveled to Rome, to the Santa Croce in Gerusalemme church. Another part remained in Jerusalem, while the third one probably traveled to Constantinople, as it is mentioned in 958 letter of Constantine VII, as well as in the list of relics from Constantinople sold to the king Louis IX –before disappearing during the French Revolution. As to the Jerusalempart, Joan Carroll-Cruz claims that the monk Anthony (living 1389-1459) reported that he had hold it in his own hands, so it was probably still there at that time.5 The existence of Titulus in Jerusalem is attested by Egeria circa 384 AD (Then is brought a silver-gilt casket, in which is the holy wood of the cross; it is opened, and the contents being taken out, the wood of the cross and also its inscription are placed on the table)6, and by Antoninus from Piacenza (for I also saw, and held in my hand and kissed, the title which was placed over the head of Jesus, upon which is written, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’)7, circa 570 AD. Thus, we can be certain that Titulus existed before 1000 AD, which is the date suggested by radiocarbon-dating. The Rome part of it, stored in Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, was buried inside the walls of the church during the barbaric invasions at some time in the 5th century (Rome was sacked by Visigoths in 410, and by Vandals in 455). It was rediscovered around 1144, when Gherardo Caccianemici dal Orso, the later Pope Lucius II, was cardinal priest of Santa Croce (his seal was later found in the casket in which the Titulus was stored) –and then, for some strange reasons buried again in the walls, only to be rediscovered on 1st February 1492. Since that time, it is venerated in that basilica. The writings on the Titulus had been paleographically dated by several experts: Hannah Eshel and Gabriel Barkay, specialists in Hebrew (who gave verdict: “late period of the Second Temple”, between 1st -3rd century), by Leah di Segni from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (a specialist in Greek), and Israel Roll and Ben Isaac, as well as Thiede, who concluded that the writings date back to the 1st century. Thus it couldn’t have been a forgery made in Helena times.

At that time, it was very near to the full happiness (of the faithful). Unfortunately, the 2002 radiocarbon dating gave completely unexpected results. Hesemann in his more recent book Jesus von Nazareth. Archäologen auf den Spuren des Erloesers8, while admitting that he is not a physicist, being so surprised by the results tries to give some blatant (and erroneous) pseudo-explanation of it.

Contrary to Hesemann and many others, I believe that this dating has been accurate -it is extremely hard, if not impossible to skew wood dating to that extent. The whole radiocarbon dating is in fact, calibrated on dendrochronology! However this doesn’t mean that the Titulus is a simple forgery. No the matter is more complicated than everyone though. Because there is apparently conflict of historical, paleographical, and C-14 data. The C-14 suggest 980-1146 AD. It is in contradiction with paleography (1st century) and history (at least 4th century). However, interestingly, it coincides closely with the discovery of Titulus circa 1144.

There is only one solution to the problem, that makes sense. The current Titulus is the faithful reproduction of the original one, made circa 1144 AD. It is the only way to explain the 1st century script, unknown in medieval times, as well as historical data and C-14 results. But there is another mystery: why? For what purpose make a replica (as it was based on the original it must have been in a relatively good condition), and immediately bury it once again in the wall? This makes no sense. Unless…

From this moment on, the following is just only my idea. I suspect a crime. A dirty medieval crime, performed by one of the highest ranked person in the Church. The original Titulus was apparently stolen, and replaced with a fake one, resembling the original as much as possible. And to further cover up the crime, the replica was once again placed in the walls, and buried for centuries. Who could perfrom that. The first person that comes into the mind is cardinal Gherardo Caccianemici dal Orso, the later Pope Lucius II. As the Wiki informs us:9

Pope Lucius II (Latin: Lucius II; died 15 February 1145), born Gherardo Caccianemici dal Orso, was the head of the Catholic Church from 9 March 1144 to his death in 1145. His pontificate was notable for the unrest in Rome associated with the Commune of Rome and its attempts to wrest control of the city from the papacy.

While quelling unrest in Rome:

Lucius marched against the Senatorial positions on the Capitol with a small army. He was driven back by Giordano, and according to Godfrey of Viterbo, he was seriously injured during this battle (by a thrown stone). He did not recover from his injuries and died on 15 February 1145 at San Gregorio Magno al Celio, where he was under the protection of the neighbouring Frangipani fortress.

While his pontiff was not notable, if he had fallen to the temptation of appropriating the

Titulus for himself, he might have buried our chance to recover this priceless relic from the Christ’s Cross. Here we have to ask the question: if the current Titulus from Santa Croce is a replica, than where is the original? The most probable (and misfortunate) answer is that it was buried along with the Pope Lucius II, in the St. John Lateran’s Archbasilica. Unfortunately, as Wiki informs us:10

A dozen additional papal tombs were constructed in the basilica starting in the 10th century, but were destroyed during two fires that ravaged the basilica in 1308 and 1361. The remains of these charred tombs were gathered and reburied in a polyandrum. The popes of the destroyed tombs were: Pope John X (914 – 928), Pope Agapetus II (946 – 955), Pope John XII (955- 964), Pope Paschal II (1099–1118), Pope Callixtus II (1119–1124), Pope Honorius II

(1124–1130), Pope Celestine II (1143–1144), Pope Lucius II (1144–1145), Pope Anastasius IV (1153–1154), Pope Clement III (1187–1191), Pope Celestine III (1191–1198), Pope Innocent V (1276).

What can be said in summary? Once again we see that the reality is much more complex than most scientists believe. Although the case for Titulus apparently ended in rotten compromise between pro-authenticity and the skeptics (not an authentic piece of the Cross, but a replica of authentic relic), it was in fact important victory for those believing in the existence of authentic relics of the Passion, even despite C-14 bitter pill. Based on paleographical results, we can be almost certain that St. Helena recovered the True Cross. A deliberate forgery on her part does not take into the account –there was no comparative paleography in those times, and the alleged forger on her behalf could not even think about it. Thus it is also highly probable that other relics recovered by Helena (nails, Tunic, etc.) are also genuine. As for the original Titulus –one can only pray, and search. Maybe one day, someone will recover the Constantinople/Jerusalem/Rome parts of it to the light –again…


1 See can watch this episode on You Tube at, I don’t know for how long.

2 Francesco Bella, Carlo Azzi. 14C Dating of the Titulus Crucis, Radiocarbon 3 (44), pg. 685689, 2002. University of Arizona

3 I have the polish edition: Carsten Peter Thiede, Matthew D’Ancona, W poszukiwaniu Świętego Krzyża, Amber Sp. z.o.o. 2005. Original appeared in 2000. A TV documentary was also made based on the works of Thiede.

4 I have the polish edition: Milczący Świadkowie Golgoty, Wydawnictwo Salwator, Kraków 2006. Original appeared in 2000.

5 Joan Carrol Cruz, Relics, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing 1984, pg. 43-44. Up to a few

months ago almost entire first chapter about the relics of the Christ was available at &f=false , this however, has changed since that time.

6 See

7 See

8 I have the polish edition: Na Tropie Jezusa z Nazaretu: Ziemia Zbawiciela, Wydawnictwo Salwator, Kraków 2012. Original appeared in 2009.



Cat Among the Pigeons


About Hugh Farey as the new editor of the BSTS newsletter, a reader writes:

I was a little surprised that Hugh chose to be quite so iconoclastic with his first edition. His “Mystery of the Invisible Patch” article appears to put the cat among the pigeons but, so far, I have heard no fur or feathers flying.  As Barrie’s site has no forum perhaps you might get a response started.  It seems to need one.

You betcha.

Paper Chase: DNA Analysis and the Shroud of Turin: Development of a Shroud CODIS

imageSTERA has just published another paper by Kelly Kearse, DNA Analysis and the Shroud of Turin: Development of a Shroud CODIS. This is Kelly’s fourth paper at This paper will certainly shape discussions about future research on the shroud.

Barrie Schwortz, in introducing the paper this morning on, writes:

once again, he has taken a very technical subject and made it interesting and understandable for everyone,”

Based so far on an early morning first read (the coffee is still brewing), I agree. More importantly, what do you think?


Since its development in the mid 1980s, DNA analysis has become a standard procedure utilized by law enforcement and legal systems in the forensic examination of human remains, and to help establish or exclude a connection to a crime scene. The recent progression of gene amplification and enrichment strategies, together with next generation sequencing techniques, have made the analysis of ancient and degraded DNA samples much more feasible than previously imagined. Human DNA has been isolated from the Shroud of Turin, although the results remain rather limited and controversial. Indeed, it is unknown if such DNA truly originates from blood cells present on the cloth or is the result of contamination from exogenous sources. Here, the potential and limitations of modern molecular biology techniques in the analysis of the Shroud of Turin are reviewed, including the evaluation of both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.