Home > Books, Carbon 14 Dating, Hacking, Other Blogs > More Tomfoolery: The carbon dating results are worthless

More Tomfoolery: The carbon dating results are worthless

May 22, 2014

imageJoe Marino has expanded the passage he sent a couple of days ago from The Untold Story of the Holy Shroud by Carlos Evaristo (See Documented Pieces Removed from the Shroud). The additional material precedes the material Joe sent previously, which now begins with the sixth paragraph below that I marked with a yellow swath.

I’m reluctant to post this. The previous posting has over 130 comments (half of them by Max who has agreed to post in a way that is easier for the rest of us. These four sentences, for instance, were sent as four comments in nine minutes. I was ready to toss my iPhone away: “Not to mention weight pressure per cm2 at both edges.” “Rings with a faceted gem.” “ Accidents happen.” “The shroud could be held for an hour or even more.” Fortunately there were no typos. Note to Max, most typos don’t need to be corrected. And if it will help, I’ll buy your word-a-minute fingernail FACT – no reply needed.)

Back to the topic at hand. Hugh, let me address this to you. I’m not a scientist like you. But I am a smart fellow. I was a business executive. Had this been a business problem and had this information been known in 1988 it would have been reason enough to stop the carbon dating tests. “Hard stop,” I used to say. The information wasn’t known, unfortunately.

Hugh, you know well what I was thinking when I tongue in cheek quoted the words ‘another proof’ in the last posting. But I do think this is added weight to the “reweave idea” that you “currently reject.” Can I say ‘more reasonable doubt’  instead?That is what I think. Okay, it is no longer 1988 and we can only look back. There is enough reasonable evidence to be very suspicious about the results of the carbon dating like cotton fibers, gum, dye, splices, vanillin and statistics. Now there is all this quoted described tomfoolery. We can still declare a hard stop, in a sense. It is not proof as a scientist must perhaps see it. But it is enough to say that the carbon dating results are worthless. We don’t have a date for the cloth.

We will still have carbon dating fundamentalists on the left and by-miracle-by-golly isotope rejuvenators on the right. And we are about to be treated to a new theory that the KGB and one of the Arizona scientists (whose face, BTW, has 13 of the 15 Vignon markings) hacked the computer control panels of the accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) systems in three countries.

Back to the topic at hand:

According to the testimony of King Umberto II of Savoy (later recalled by friends, the exiled Monarch entertained in the 1950s, at Villa Italia, in Cascais, Portugal), oral tradition in the Savoy Royal Family confirmed that the Custodians of the Holy Shroud, from the earliest medieval period, had sporadically made copies of the Shroud,but also removed fragments from all around the outermost edges of the Burial Cloth, even as far inward as 10 centimeters and distributed these to close relatives, devotees and allies.

That a mysterious seam or pronounced crease mark is visible all along one length of the Shroud is a fact that has baffled Scientists, some of whom have gone as far as to ridiculously (?) propose that a removed section was used to bind the Shroud to the Body at the chin, hands and feet and then sewn back onto the sheet, at a later date.

What could also be probable is that this thick, long strip of the original cloth was removed at one point [and] cut up into sections for distribution in reliquaries.

Another possible scenario is that this strip was used in a transfer boiling ritual or else separated, thread by thread, so as to have been incorporated into Ex Extractumcopies of the Holy Shroud.

Any one of these processes could have been carried out by the Canons guarding the Shroud at Lirey or Chambery without the consent or knowledge of whoever owned the Sacred Relic.  Once carried out or the abuse discovered, the section could have ordered or rewoven, back onto the original whole or else the section in question was substituted with another piece of similar cloth.”

According to King Umberto II, the pious practice of sharing Major Relics of the Holy Shroud was, according to tradition, continued by the first three Savoy Lords who possessed it, although they, unlike some of their predecessor Guardians, never purposely removed fragments from their areas with the image of the Corpus Sancti (Holy Body.)

Another fact confirmed by His Majesty was that it was traditionally affirmed, that at one point in the past, he edges of the Lenzuoli (Sheet) had become so tattered as to cause embarrassment or criticism of the Custodians, and those areas were repaired and rewoven using identical techniques, but obviously with similar, yet newer, materials containing dyes and other medieval manufacturing ingredients, in an attempt to better blend the new sections in, as best possible, with the original fabric.

In truth, the presence of medieval dyes was detected in these areas and this fact has been already pointed out by Scientists as additional proof of the inaccuracy of the 1988 Carbon 14 dating test results that placed the samples taken from these areas, as having been fabricated sometime in the middle ages.

In truth, any one of the aforementioned practices alone would also account, for not only the contamination of the fabric resulting in inaccurate Carbon 14 dating results, but also, the different types of linen, dyes, resins and fabric patches, discovered to have been present on the outermost edges of the sheet that usually held by Bishops during the exposition of the Sacred Relic to the public for veneration.

And while I was writing the above, this floated in. It is from later pages (pp. 265 & 267 (picture on pg. 266) of the Evaristo book.  Italics are in the original:

The removal of all patches and of the reinforcement Holland Cloth backing of the Holy Shroud, in the year 2002, confirmed what King Umberto had stated, namely that small sections of the repaired and rewoven edges, had continually been removed from the Sacred Relic and probably as late as the second half of the 17th century.  That thepractice of removing small fragments and even full length or width threads from the outer edges [of] the Holy Shroud, was a family tradition only finally suppressed by Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, was another fact Umberto II of Savoy confirmed to Blue Army Founder and Shroud Devotee John Mathias Haffert, in the mid 1960’s.

It was the same Vittorio Amedeo II, who along with his wife, the Infanta Anna d’Orleans, personally assisted Blessed Sebastiano Valfre on June 6th, 1694, in repairing the Sacred Burial Cloth of the The Christ, shortly before transferring the Sacred Relic to the new Chapel of the Guarini.  Later, it became a tradition on June 6th of each year for the Savoy Royal Family to distribute relics of the backing cloth.

It was in 1694, that in accordance to the Savoy Family tradition, some of the removed sections of thread were then woven into full size replicas of the Sindone (Shroud) for private or public veneration in Convents and Cathedrals during popular Holy Week celebrations.  Unlike the meticulous repair work that had been carried out in previous centuries by religious expert weavers following the damage caused to the Shroud by fires and which left little trace of the removed sections, the intervention of the Savoy and the Blessed was aimed primarily at replacing the cloth backing of the Relic giving it added thickness and strength and also a better contrast to the image.

The last intervention by religious sisters had been considered poor by the various members of the House of Savoy since, rather than reweaving the areas nearest the outermost edges that were either missing or had frayed from manipulation and wear, they had camouflaged them with cloth coverings and patches.

The backing of black cloth added by Blessed Sebastiano Valfre was later removed by Princess Maria Clotilde di Savoia, (1843-1911) Consort of Prince Napoleon, who substituted it for a pink silk on April 28th, 1868, on account of the backing having also become deteriorated from manipulation and removal of pieces for relics.

Hard stop! The carbon dating results are worthless. We don’t have a date for the cloth.

  1. John Klotz
    May 22, 2014 at 8:43 am


    Thanks for the synopsis. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, who has not personally examined the actual Shroud who disputes the archival information from this book is not a skeptic but a pseudo-skeptic desperate to deny the authenticity of the Shroud.

    There may be reasons to dispute the authenticity of the Shroud in good faith. However, it can not be founded on the carbon dating which was a “fiasco” (in the word of deWesselow). If someone has based his/or her rejection of the Shroud standing on that rock for his faith, look again. It just isn’t there anymore and you. like wiley Cayote, are standing on thin air.

    Look out beeeelllloooow!!!!.

  2. clublu22014
    May 22, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Hi Dan. Guess you agree entirely with Hugh? Why would you call these statements made by King Umberto… a quoting Tomfoolery? It seems to me that there is some legitimate authority behind the quotes. Hope I’m not off-base in assuming so.

    • Dan
      May 22, 2014 at 9:12 am

      I wasn’t referring to King Umberto. By tomfoolery I was referring to all the snipping and pulling of threads and the making of relics out of relics that was going on. I agree with Hugh on many things but not this. I’m sorry if I didn’t make myself clear.

      • clublu22014
        May 22, 2014 at 10:24 am

        You were clear, Dan… I just needed to make sure. Thanks so much for all the clarity you provide!

  3. May 22, 2014 at 9:18 am

    It is short-sighted to claim the carbon dating results are useless. Flawed? Yes. Inconclusive? Yes. Worthless? No. Even a flawed experiment/test yields information that can be very useful if one has the patience to sift through what went wrong and ask how it went wrong. One may also find some elements that went right.

    One can say the same of Vignon markings and Quads, etc. given the scarcity of new data on the Shroud, I’d be very reluctant to start throwing babies out with the bath water we do have.

  4. John Klotz
    May 22, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I am afraid I might appear a little inappropriately giddy, about the new revelation with my reference to Wiley Cayote. I apologize if someone feels it’s inappropriate. However, it occurs to me that we should retire Barrie’s sobriquet “gunfighter” for Ray Rogers. Maybe something with a double R. How about “Road Runner?”

  5. Hugh Farey
    May 22, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I think I need to bide my time until I have read the book, but I am surprised, on the strength entirely of what has been quoted here, that anybody thinks anything new has been added to the story. I am told that the book features new information from the Savoy family archives, which will be extremely interesting, but I should like to know how accurate they are, and when any particular piece of information was written. I hope Evaristo gives us more than an abstract of his findings. Family tradition is a wonderful thing and leads researchers to particular avenues of exploration which otherwise might not have occurred, but it is not adequate as data. The biggest alteration to the Shroud – the side strip removal and reattachment, or at any rate the insertion of the side-seam – was apparently not documented at all, as all we have here is vague speculation. (I accept though that it was done before the Shroud became a possession of the House of Savoy)

    Let’s look at a couple of passages: repairwork was carried out “but obviously with similar, yet newer, materials containing dyes and other medieval manufacturing ingredients, in an attempt to better blend the new sections in, as best possible, with the original fabric.” An attempt to blend in? Does that sound invisible to you? Not to me.

    And what does this mean: “Unlike the meticulous repair work that had been carried out in previous centuries by religious expert weavers following the damage caused to the Shroud by fires and which left little trace of the removed sections…” It seems to imply that the repairwork carried out to the Shroud after fires (plural?) was meticulous. I’d like more information about that, as the repairwork after the 1532 fire was downright shoddy.

    And what of: “the different types of linen, dyes, resins and fabric patches, discovered to have been present on the outermost edges of the sheet.” Really? Discovered by whom?

    There is evidence of missing threads all over the Shroud, including over the image, using Shroud 2.0. There is a little evidence of mending, but it is far from invisible. My own view is that repairs to the shroud apart from the patches were little more than trimming the edges and sewing them up more strongly. I still do not believe in the reweaving idea. However I will grant Dan at least a smidgin of “more reasonable doubt”!

    • clublu22014
      May 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      Hugh, you seem to have a question with authoritative and expert findings. In particular here, are you also questioning the validity of Madame Mechthild Flury-Lemberg’s finding that the side seam of the Shroud was stitching used only by the 1st century Jews of Masada? To me your “scientific” approach to the Shroud is like asking: “Are you sure water is made from H20?”

      • Hugh Farey
        May 22, 2014 at 1:09 pm

        One of the most irritating things about me is that I read what people actually write, not what other people say they write. Primary sources, that’s the thing. I could suggest you burrow your way through Google and discover Flury-Lemburg’s discussions on the side-seam, and for that matter, on the presence of invisible weaving, but perhaps you are too busy. She is quoted in various places, and appears as herself here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/previous_seasons/case_shroudchrist/interview.html. Note that she did not find that the side seam of the Shroud was stitching used only by the 1st century Jews of Masada, nor that the shroud could not have been made at any time other than the 1st century.
        In other places, of course, she utterly repudiates the suggestion of invisible weaving. I assume you have no problem with that authoritative and expert finding…

        Dihydrogen monoxide. Terrible stuff. See https://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/dhmo.htm

      • Max patrick Hamon
        May 22, 2014 at 1:29 pm

        Reminder for Hugh (third time): Swiss textile expert Metchild Flury-Lemberg NEVER examined in situ textilis the very core of the C14 sample (most likely nor did Testore and Vial!).

        Twice I already posted the following excerpt from my 2007 paper entitled “LINCEUL DE TURIN : FAUSSE RELIQUE OU FAUSSE DATATION Carbone 14 ?” and subtitled: “(Contre-enquête sur un fiasco scientifique)”. Here is the relevant excerpt re Mme Metchild Flury-Lemberg’s opinion, I commented in a note:

        ” 10. – Lorsque l’on sait que de petites reconstructions invisibles à l’œil nu et à la lumière naturelle du jour pouvaient se trouver très circonscrites au cœur même du site de l’échantillon carbone 14 daté, on est pour le moins étonné qu’une experte textile de la valeur de Mme Metchild Flury-Lemberg, sans même avoir JAMAIS examiné de visu ledit cœur de l’échantillon in situ textilis ni avoir pris connaissance de la photographie précise et contrastée d’Enrié, puisse affirmer sans ambages que la texture dudit échantillon était uniforme et intacte. Partant du principe qu’un expert textile se devait d’être très attentif à l’origine (et à la représentativité) des fils qu’il observe, de toute évidence, il semblerait qu’il demeure difficile pour Mme Metchild Flury-Lemberg d’accepter un seul instant l’idée que des confrères (Prs Testore et Vial) aient pu, juste avant la découpe de l’échantillon brut, ne pas procéder, à l’aide de loupes, compte-fils et binoculaires, à l’examen des fils de chaîne et de trame au cœur même du site de prélèvement.”

      • Charles Freeman
        May 23, 2014 at 3:47 am

        The Masada stitching proposal was put to rest in an earlier discussion on this blog. Once the original stitching that F-L was referring to was tracked down in the multi-volumes excavation reports of Masada it was shown to be a simple and typical stitch that has been used to this day( my wife who worked on theatre costumes used it often). So it is of no relevance here.
        Hugh has made the main point. You can’t have an invisible weaver using cotton instead of linen threads and expecting to be invisible! So those who advocate reweaving, or otherwise, must get their arguments clear if they wished to be taken
        seriously. Remember too that no one has found sufficient cotton fibres in any part of the Shroud to affect the dating. If there was a significant reweaving that actually affected the dating it must have been in linen.

      • Max patrick Hamon
        May 23, 2014 at 11:24 am

        Charles wrote: “You can’t have an invisible weaver using cotton instead of linen threads and expecting to be invisible!”

        Oh, really? What about dying to make it invisible?
        Reminder for Charles: splicing, gluing AND dying are part and parcel of French reweaving and its natural variant (“reweaving via splicing” when it comes to micro-reconstruct very circumscribed tiny damaged areas.

      • clublu22014
        May 23, 2014 at 8:28 pm

        Thanks for the heads-up on Dihydrogen Monoxide, Hugh. I’ll be on guard. I guess Water & Spirit are no longer Divine!

  6. Piero
    May 22, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Dan, you wrote :

    Had this been a business problem and had this information been known in 1988 it would have been reason enough to stop the carbon dating tests. “Hard stop,” I used to say. The information wasn’t known, unfortunately.

    Are you sure of that ?
    I have some doubt about the fact that
    “the information wasn’t known …”
    — —
    Yippee, Hooray! a lot of material to control !!!

    … Instead Garza-Valdes (“The DNA of God”, 1998, Hodder & Stoughton …) underlined that he has found several wood tubules (from an oak, the possible fragments from the cross carried by Jesus of Nazareth on his way to Golgotha…) in the pieces of Scotch tape used by Riggi to lift the blood samples from the occipital area of the Man on the Shroud.
    We should not have come to that point …
    Do you agree ?
    — —
    I hope in your comments …

  7. Max patrick Hamon
    May 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    To be stubbornly in denial on non-factual ground and against a body of statistical, chemical, microscopical, historical and textile evidence that points in the opposite direction (i.e. repair and reweaving) is an art Hugh, as Devil’s advocate, is very Fareymiliar with.

  8. Max patrick Hamon
    May 22, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Piero, re the micro-fragment of oak found, it should be known the piece of the True Cross housed at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, France, is made of Oriental oak.

    • Thibault HEIMBURGER
      May 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Reminder: I also found the same micro-fragment of oak in Raes#7
      see Fig.13.

      This micro-fragment was very light.
      However, most probably, these fragments coming from two very different areas are “from one of the wood caskets in which the Shroud has been kept for many centuries”.

      • Max patrick Hamon
        May 23, 2014 at 3:13 am

        Agreed. Yet the micro-fragment from the occipital area of the Man on the Shroud should be compared to a micro-fragment of the True Cross, you never can tell.

  9. daveb of wellington nz
    May 22, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I see a few problems with the idea of the side strip having been unpicked, pieces removed from around the edges, within 10 cm of the edge and then the side strip being sewn back on.

    1) Since the 2002 “restoration” the Shroud has said to have been stretched lengthwise. Prior to this, its dimensions were said to be 4.34m x 1.09m (Wilson). The ratio length to width is almost exactly 4:1, suggesting a cubit of about 545 mm. Multiply 1.09 by 4, the answer is 4.36m, i.e. 2 cm longer than 4.34m. Now suppose a 2cm strip was taken from one of the ends, so that the original length was in fact 4.36 cm. If Evaristo is correct, and not less than 2 cm was removed along the length of the cloth during the time that the edge piece was removed, then the original width of the Shroud could not have been more than 1.09m, but which is in fact its current width. That is if there is any significance in the highly suggestive 4:1 ratio. The original width ought not to have been less than 1.11m, and applying the 4:1 ratio, the original length ought to have been 4.44m, that is, 10 cm longer than it is now.

    2) Methchild Flury-Lemburg is on record as saying that she had only ever seen the same stitching of the side-seam in cloths at Masada. [I’m aware of course that Charles Freeman does not accept this, and his lady-wife considers it a more common stitch] Mme F-L offered the explanation that the Shroud came from a much wider bolt of cloth, and that the selvedge on the original remnant bolt was removed and resewn to provide the Shroud side-strip. We are now being asked to accept the explanation that the edge was resewn under Savoy, by either Valfre or another, and who used a stitching identical to that which Mme F-L says was exclusively used at Masada.

    Notwithstanding any of this, Evaristo’s claims would seem sufficient to be able to assert that it is very likely that at various times, pieces were in fact removed and then skilfully resewn as to leave little trace of their removal. The bottom line is that it reinforces the need for properly representative sampling, which was certainly not done in the case of the 1988 C-14 invasion.

  10. PHPL
    May 23, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Does it make sense to use the hands of a corpse to visually hide it’s genitalia ? No. Was it considered normal in the past to use the hands of a corpse to visually hide it’s genitalia ? No.
    If the shroud is a medieval fraud, would the artist-crook hide the genitalia ? Yes.

    • Charles Freeman
      May 23, 2014 at 3:54 am

      Yesterday I was at the new exhibition of Egyptian mummies at the British Museum and they were all buried with their hands crossed over their genital area. The reason is that this is the most economical way of enclosing a body in a shroud or wrappings. You need a much broader covering if the arms are left down by the side. So when you discuss hands in this position you need to relate it to the methods of wrapping the body for burial, not necessarily anything to do with religious prurience. The Lombards also buried heir dead with hands crossed over the genitalia- see the examples in the museum at Cividale in Fruili where a large Lombard cemetery was excavated.

      • PHPL
        May 23, 2014 at 4:15 am

        Thanks for the info.

    • daveb of wellington nz
      May 23, 2014 at 4:24 am

      Thank you Charles, a most interesting and fascinating observation. It is conceivable that PHPL’s observation might have some credibility in the case of a few animistic primal burial rituals, but in the case of Shroud authenticity, we are referencing theistic Jewish burial rituals with all the various prescriptions, religious, prescriptive and societal, that go with that.

      • Thomas
        May 23, 2014 at 7:01 am

        A thought tonight….if the shroud is authentic why do the gospels not attest to the miraculous Image?

      • Max patrick Hamon
        May 23, 2014 at 11:30 am

        Thomas, if you’re are looking for cryptic references to Yeshua’s burial shroud aka the TS, why don’t you read the Epistle to the Hebrews and The Revelation? just put on archaeocryptological glasses on (if you can)…

    • clublu22014
      May 23, 2014 at 8:04 am

      God Almighty, more free radical rationalization on the Shroud!

      • clublu22014
        May 23, 2014 at 8:12 am

        This was in response to PHPL’s hand-genitalia observation not to DaveB’s nor to Thomas’ and thank God for Charles’ in depth observation! So sorry for my knee-jerk response to PHPL. As to Thomas’ querry, I think the Gospels hagiographers were perhaps instructed not to make any mention of the Shroud lest it become confiscated by religious authorities claiming it to be a “craven image”.

  11. Max patrick Hamon
    May 23, 2014 at 5:44 am

    In reply to Hugh on another related thread:

    You wrote: “Scienctists aren’t keen on ‘conclusive scientific facts.’ ”

    Are you & they (the carbonists Hall et al) keener on allegedly “conclusive” sole evidence?

    Re frequency of displays:

    As a fair estimate, most likely one hundred to one hundred-and-fifty public bare hand-held displays took place from 1355 to 1842 and almost as many private displays. Is that what you implied by your phrase “paucity of displays”? Are you kidding?

    Re ‘threadbareness’, you wrote « I do not consider ‘sharp fingernail pressure (per cm2)’ an avenue worth pursuing ».

    Unless you also consider in general neither Archbishops nor Bishops nor prelates have fingernails and the latter never could be sharp and could not exert any strong pressure per cm2 on the shroud totally unfolded and stretched for display and unless you consider Bishops’ and Archbishop rings were accident proof as far as shearing and thread tugging are concerned, methinks thread bareness and other damages to the outermost edge are most likely to happen in the very area the C14 sample was lift off. Actually the damage could have happened just underneath the seam beaded side-strip as linen cloth that is repeatedly sharply bent because of finger grip begins breaking and tearing away from the seams. The very fact the two corners are missing can be seen as tell tale evidence per se (pun intended with French word “percé”).

    Reminder: according my reconstruction of the best way to hold the TS bare handed during an exposition so as to lessen the risk of cramps in the fingers and wrists, fingers DO grip the main body of a shroud replica as the seam is used for a better grip of the cloth, which implies strong and even very strong fingernail pressure per cm2 in the area under study especially with only two (see Lirey Shroud Pilgrim badge and Machy mold) or three prelates operating (see Turin Shroud public exposition iconography).

    Reminder (translation from French for Hugh): “In theory, an “invisible” restoration just cannot escape the counting-glass, all the more so when the eye behind the binocular is competent. Photos that show PRs Francesco Testore and Gabriel Vial († 2005) bustling around with various instruments, however, are a little misleading as they suggest that such experts were engaged in preliminary integrity checks of the said area when in fact their visual examinations under natural light were not extended to the heart of the sample but were confined to the sole edge of the sheet.”

    Unless you factually could account for the wide distribution of observed results (calendar years 1238-1407) on a small distance (just four centimeters of tissue), invisible repair and reweaving are most likely (without totally ruling out the additional impact of a Second Temple period purifying ritual).

    Now most likely the micro-reconstructions were circumscribed to two very tiny damaged areas (less than one cm2 each) at the very core of the C14 sample. If were are to rely on the body of statistical, chemical, microscopic, historical and textile of evidence, a natural variant to French reweaving (« reweaving via splicing ») most likely was applied at least to one of the said tiny damaged areas.

  12. daveb of wellington nz
    May 23, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Does anyone have any factual reference on the weight of the Shroud cloth? I picked up one reference on shroud.com that quoted 0.35 gm / cm2, which seems to work out at a total weight of about 16kg. I tried calculating the weight from the Raes sample data, (warp & weft, threads / cm, tex [=gm / km] and obtained a very much lighter value. I searched for a reputable source elsewhere in vain.

    • Charles Freeman
      May 23, 2014 at 9:23 am

      I have seen 9 kgs quoted but then I have never had the privilege of holding it!

  13. Nabber
    May 23, 2014 at 8:52 am

    “if the shroud is authentic why do the gospels not attest to the miraculous Image?”

    An obvious reason is that the disciples were looking at the shroud’s outside surface, not the inside where the image resided.

  14. Hugh Farey
    May 23, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Hi daveb; we did discuss the weight of the shroud once before, on 8 August last year, but as you weren’t one of the commenters you may have missed that post.

    Briefly, I don’t think the shroud has ever been weighed, with or without its backing cloth, although there have been a number of estimates by various indirect means, some of them truly peculiar. Here are some of them:

    Verginio Timossi: 23 mg/cm2. This was based on a copy of the shroud, not the real thing.
    Gilbert Raes: 25 mg/cm2. This was based on careful measurement of his tiny extracted fragment, and extrapolated.
    R. A. Morris: 25 mg/cm2. This was estimated from Compton scatter, again not by actually weighing the shroud, and gave a combined shroud/backing density of 30-40mg/cm2. Dividing this proportionately between the measured thickness for the backing and shroud (270/345) gave about 20mg/cm2 for the shroud and 15mg/cm2 for the backing, although Schwalbe & Rogers considered the shroud value too low, considering “the comparatively open weave structure of the backing cloth.”
    Giulio Riggi: 20+/-3 mg/cm2. I don’t know where this comes from.
    Timothy Jull: 22mg/cm2. From direct measurements of the C14 fragment retained by Tucson.

    Broadly, let’s agree on 25mg/cm2, and a surface area of 440cm x 110cm. That’s about 1.2kg.

    I myself have a largish, thickish piece of linen of area 45000 cm2 and weight 880g, giving an areal density of 19.6g/cm2. The Shroud, as I have said before, is a thick sturdy piece of cloth, not a delicate fabric. I do not believe it was made threadbare by handling.

    Another way of thinking about it is in grams per square metre. At 25mg/cm2, that’s 250g/m2. This is towards the heavier end of the sailcloth market, suitable for sails of more than 40 square metres. (H.G. Hasler, J.K. McLeod; ‘Practical Junk Rig: Design, Aerodynamics and Handling’)

  15. Max patrick Hamon
    May 23, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Hugh wrote: “I do not believe it was made threadbare by handling.” Keep on “not believing”. Methinks you haven’t “the foggiest notion” (as an Englishman) what experimental archaeology is all about. Your a priori on the “paucity of the Lirey-Nice-Chambery-Turin Shroud displays” (that biased all your reasoning) is flabbergasting!

    • Hugh Farey
      May 23, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Hi Max! I have had a tablecloth for many years. It is spread out over the table almost every day, except when it is being washed. It may have been held by its corners and flicked two or three thousand times. That’s ten times more than the shroud, and my cloth is not as sturdy as the Shroud anyway. It bears no sign at all of any fraying or threadbareness. That’s practical archaeology, Max. What have you done?

  16. Max patrick Hamon
    May 23, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Hugh, BTW could you answer that very simple question only for “big scientists”, please (second asking)? How do you factually account for the wide distribution of observed results (calendar years 1238-1407) on a small distance (just four centimeters of the linen fabric)?

  17. Yannick Clément
    May 23, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Quote from Dan: “The carbon dating results are worthless. We don’t have a date for the cloth.”

    Reply: To me, that statement is not 100% correct. Since the Shroud man is obviously showing the dead body of Jesus of Nazareth at the time of his death, we can easily estimate the approximative date for the start of the image formation process that occurred on the cloth, which must be located in April 30 or April 33 A.D. Therefore, the cloth itself must have been woven prior to that time… Of course, this statement of mine is base on a probabilistic approach that cannot be seen as purely scientific. Nevertheless, I don’t think there is another more probable era for the weaving of that cloth…

  18. Max patrick Hamon
    May 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Hugh wrote: “I have had a tablecloth for many years. It is spread out over the table almost every day, except when it is being washed. It may have been held by its corners and flicked two or three thousand times. That’s ten times more than the shroud, and my cloth is not as sturdy as the Shroud anyway. It bears no sign at all of any fraying or threadbareness. That’s practical archaeology, Max.”

    Methinks you really still haven’t “the foggiest notion” what experimental archaeology is all about! The Shroud was each time totally unfolded AND continuously STRETCHED for half-an-hour to one hour by the same TWO (not four!) both outermost edges. The seam beaded side-strip was used as a more natural grip meaning both corners were bent with fingers and the area just underneath the seam was subjected to strong fingernail pressure (not just weight pressure!). It just cannot be compared with your “tablecloth” experience! Besides this is a 3/1 twill weave piece of cloth with a seam beaded side-strip much unlike your tablecloth me-guesses.

    Re my reconstruction (in 1994): I noted strong fingernail pressure occurred in the very area that was lift off for C14 sampling.

    • May 23, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      What is the difference between experimental archaeology and regular science?

      Also, as clergy are/were expected to handle the Eucharist, they keep/kept their fingernails very clean and well trimmed as not to soil/damage the Host. I for one have cleaned and trimmed my nails, as an experimental religionist, and can attest that it is nearly impossible to fray a paper towel under such conditions. Your experiments as an experimental archaeological are based on flawed data.

      • Max patrick Hamon
        May 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm

        David, have you ever held (with the help of a couple of two friends of yours) a totally unfolded AND stretched shroud replica once for half-an-hour and then for one hour, you could know what I am talking about. Now if you can account for medieval, 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th prelates’ fingernails being always clean and trimmed, this is beyond my skill. What are your references?

      • Max patrick Hamon
        May 23, 2014 at 1:10 pm

        REPEATEDLY (from two to three hundred times and each time for half-an-hour to one hour) the same area was bent AND gripped. How long shall I repeat the TS strength is its weakness. Can you get my point or just cannot you?

      • May 23, 2014 at 1:26 pm

        The rubrics of the Catholic church are quite clear that a priest, bishop, etc is to keep his hands clean (cuticles groomed) out of respect for the Blessed Sacrament and other holy manipulatives (relics included).

        I’m not calling into question your other assertions about the weight and duration of exposition of the Shroud as I have no data to counter what you have observed. However on the matter of clerical cuticles, I’m quite certain these are a non-factor.

      • Max patrick Hamon
        May 24, 2014 at 10:44 am

        David, could you give the exact date of composition of this specific rubric of the catholic Church? BTW in the light of the body of radiocarbon physical, chemical, microscopic, historical and textile evidence, fingernail pressure per cm2 on linen, bending and gripping with fingers could have had an impact on the main body of the Shroud next to the seam beaded side-strip unless proven otherwise.

  19. Max patrick Hamon
    May 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    End note: the more you wash a linen cloth (Hugh’s tablecloth), the more it becomes whiter and gentler after times much unlike the TS.

    • Max patrick Hamon
      May 23, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      …as far as the latter’s utmost “paucity of washings” is concerned.

  20. Hugh Farey
    May 23, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Every now and then, Max, you set off an interesting and worthwhile chain of thought. I hadn’t really thought about prelates holding the Shroud for hours on end, and now I have thought about it, I rather think they probably didn’t. I think it may have been clamped to a rail or something similar. No doubt it was brought out and unrolled with some ceremony, and lowered over the balcony by bishops, who paused just long enough for their engraving to be taken and for their acolytes to fix it in place, and then they backed off. The place for prayer is not holding onto a picture you can’t see from behind, but, as recent popes have shown us, kneeling humbly before it.

    • Nabber
      May 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Hugh, “bishops, who paused just long enough for their engraving to be taken” ?
      Seriously? How long do you think an engraving would take? I’ll tell you: “a good long time.” !

      • Hugh Farey
        May 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm

        Er… no… not seriously…

  21. John Klotz
    May 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm


    Is there no end to your denying demonstrated facts by suppositions which have no basis in fact? There are paintings and drawings of the expositions. There is no demonstration that I am aware of the Shroud being “clamped” to a railing. In my opinion there is little question that you are driven to dream up “facts” to refute those who disagree with your predispositions. However, there comes a time when you have to yield to demonstrated facts unless you have documented facts.

    Cite us a reference of when and how the Shroud was clamped to a railing. By the way, wouldn’t “clamping” or other or any other device to hang the Shroud from a balcony be more likely to cause damage?

    But now we have Savoy’s written archives supporting Ray Rogers’ (and Benford and Marino) research.If you have FACTS from the middle ages to contradict that research, please tell us what they are and where we may look. The carbon dating is no longer a rock you can cling to. It’s is an anchor dragging you down under the waves.

    • Hugh Farey
      May 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      “Is there no end to your denying demonstrated facts by suppositions which have no basis in fact?”

      I have never denied a demonstrated fact.

      However I do agree that this latest idea was speculation, brought on by wondering who would hold the shroud over a balcony for hours. Were there relays of priests, do you think? Look at all those mitres! How long did they stay holding the shroud, I wonder. And the shroud itself – it’s always shown so straight…

    • Charles Freeman
      May 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      John Beldon Scott’s Architecture for the Shroud has a mass of detail about how the expositions were organised. I continue to be surprised that so few ‘Shroudies’ seem to know about this book as it has a great deal of information about the Shroud that I have never found anywhere else.

  22. Charles Freeman
    May 23, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    This is the blurb one bookseller gives. There are second hand copies available on Abebooks.

    “The famed linen cloth preserved in Turin Cathedral has provoked pious devotion, scientific scrutiny and morbid curiosity. Imprinted with an image many faithful have traditionally believed to be that of the crucified Christ “painted in his own blood”, the Shroud remains an object of intense debate and notoriety yet today. In this illustrated volume, John Beldon Scott traces the history of the unique relic, focusing especially on the black-marble and gilt-bronze structure Guarino Guarini designed to house and exhibit it. A key Baroque monument, the chapel comprises many unusual architectural features, which Scott identifies and explains, particularly how the chapel’s unprecedented geometry and bizarre imagery convey to the viewer the supernatural powers of the object enshrined there. Drawing on early plans and documents, he demonstrates how the architect’s design mirrors the Shroud’s strange history as well as political aspirations of its owners, the Dukes of Savoy. Exhibiting it ritually, the Savoy prized their relic with its godly vestige as a means to link their dynasty with divine purposes. Guarini, too, promoted this end by fashioning an illusory world and sacred space that positioned the duke visually so that he appeared close to the Shroud during its ceremonial display. Finally, Scott describes how the additional need for an outdoor stage for the public showing of the relic to the thousands who came to Turin to see it also helped shape the urban plan of the city and its transformation into the Exploring the mystique of this enigmatic relic and investigating its architectural and urban history for the first time, “Architecture for the Shroud” should appeal to anyone curious about the textile, its display and the architectural settings designed to enhance its veneration and boost the political agenda of the ruling family.”

  23. daveb of wellington nz
    May 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Weight of Shroud; Daveb / Hugh F exchange, May 23, 7:41am / 11:43am:
    Thanks Hugh I found your discussion ref, Aug 8, 2013.
    My calculations based on Raes sample:
    Estimate weight of Shroud

    Estimate from Raes’ sample, Piece 1:

    Warp threads: 4.34m long. 38.6 threads / cm: Width of cloth 1.09m = 109cm. No. of threads = 109 x 38.6 = 4,207 threads. Each thread is 4.34m long. Total length of warp threads = 4,207 x 4.34 / 1000 km = 18.26 km. Weight / thread = 16.3 tex (gm / km); Weight of warp threads = 18.26 x 16.3 = 298 gm.

    Weft threads: 1.09m long. 25.7 threads / cm: Length of cloth 4.34m = 434cm. No of threads = 434 x 25.7 = 11,154 threads. Each thread is 1.09m long. Total length of weft threads = 11,154 x 1.09 / 1000 km = 12.16 km. Weight / thread = 53.6 tex (gm / km); Weight of weft threads = 12.16 x 53.6 = 652 gm.

    Total estimated weight by this method gives 950 gm.

    Area of cloth = 4.34 x 100 x 1.09 x 100 = 47,306 cm2.
    Average weight = 0.0201 gm / cm2.

    Needs adjustment, as underlying assumption that threads are straight, whereas weaving would require longer threads than given by overall dimensions. Raes is said to have calculated 25 mg / cm2, implies he applied a correction of +25%.

    Backing cloth would increase overall weight.

    Conclusion: The weight of the Shroud held by 10 hands would I think not create the greatest damaging tension in the cloth. Most of the expositions were outdoors. I believe the most significant tensions would be created by windage (aerodynamics). These forces would be of two kinds: 1) billowing normal to the cloth (equivalent to aerodynamic “lift”) 2) drag forces tangential to the cloth. It seems likely that individual expositions may have lasted several hours. In addition the cloth would have been subjected at each exposition to: removal from reliquary, unwrapping / unfolding / unrolling, transport to exposition site, return transport to chapel, refolding / rerolling, placement in reliquary. There would be localised handling at suspension points with concentration of stress forces, and some abrasion which would be cumulative. Also occasional accidents were always bound to happen. Hygiene practices being what they were, bacterial contamination would add to localised degradation. Likely there have been hundreds of such expositions, and that’s only the ones since 1355. Other damage may have occurred prior to 1204. The need for occasional repairs is, I think, self-evident. It eventually led to the disastrous restoration of 2002.

  24. daveb of wellington nz
    May 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Further note on windage stress during outdoor expositions: Despite occasional bans on washing lines in some modern urban developments, the practice of hanging laundry outdoors to dry will be familiar to most. Even mild to moderate winds results in flapping of the cloths, technically known as “flutter”. It is caused by shedding of oscillating vortex trails at the trailing edge. Cloth is particularly prone because of its lightness and flexibility, and because it lacks any rigidity. The effect is to cause periodic varying tension stresses throughout the material, concentrated at the suspension points, and eroding the residual fatigue life of the fibres. Linen being brittle would be more prone to fatigue damage than cotton or linen / cotton admixtures. Thus if bed-sheets were changed weekly, and laundered say once a fortnight, 100 expositions might correspond to four years of regular laundry suspensions. Check the corners of your bed-sheets if they’re hung out and pegged on the clothes-line. Linen ones would be more susceptible than cotton. I dare say that central France and Piedmont may have more gentle zephyrs than our notorious Wellington winds, but I would suspect that windage is likely to be the reason and cause of any significant damage, together with bacterial contamination.

  25. Hugh Farey
    May 23, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    On the other hand, linen was used for sails from ancient times until the 19th century. Quite a lot of windy flapping there I would think. And the Shroud is made from thick linen.

    • Mike M
      May 23, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      What is the lifespan of a linen sail? I came across an interesting article, apparently the 2 main factors affecting the lifespan of organic fabrics are bacterial/fungal contamination and UV degradation.
      “Organic fibers have a finite life due to mildew, fungus and greater susceptibility to ultraviolet degradation, the life span of organic fabrics would normally be between 10 and 20 years”
      Interesting read


      • Max patrick Hamon
        May 24, 2014 at 11:01 am

        Re the main factor causing linen to break and tear away is bending (it begins at the seam all the more so if the latter is used as a grip).

    • daveb of wellington nz
      May 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      Sails are held securely in place by adjustable lanyards so that they only flap incidentally a little bit during a tacking change in course. You should have paid more attention to the Louis Vuitton and America’s Cup yacht races. All NZers were glued to the telly even though we were witnessing the greatest snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory in yachting history. Ahead, 8 races to one, and yet we still couldn’t manage to nail the ninth! Laundry and Shroud expositions are only held along one edge, and they flap!

  26. Max patrick Hamon
    May 23, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Hugh you misleading wrote: However I do agree that this latest idea was speculation, brought on by wondering who would hold the shroud over a balcony FOR HOURS (my upper cases).”

    Could you lease STOP putting word in my mouth? I just mentioned a half-an-hour to one hour display in average (for two hundred to tree hundred private and public exposition from 1355 to the 1860s.

    Ever you heard of intellectual HONESTY?

    • Max patrick Hamon
      May 23, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      Sorry for all the typo, just typing in haste.

  27. Max patrick Hamon
    May 23, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Could Hugh (with one or two very good friends of his) first hold a shroud replica (with the seam beaded side-strip) totally unfold AND stretched just for half-an-hour or an hour before passing comments and just forget about “paucity of displays”. This will give us a break.

    • Hugh Farey
      May 24, 2014 at 4:40 am

      Sorry, Max, I meant no impropriety. We foggy Englishmen often use the term “for hours” as an idiomatic term meaning “for longer than it takes to get bored” rather than a specific length of time, as I was here. But you’re correct in that it could be an interesting experiment. I also agree, after reading Architecture for the Shroud, that it was unlikely that anybody stood at a balcony holding onto the exposed shroud for more than an hour, at the most. There were processions back and forth, and at least in some cases the Shroud was exhibited on all sides of the public platform, with a covering cloth raised and lowered three times (calling to mind the triple ostentation of the monstrance at the Service of Benediction). The external expositions were active rather than static. For lengthy devotions, the shroud was placed on some kind of reliquary inside the cathedral.

      I’m not persuade by considerations of wind, I have to say. I can’t see a holy relic being allowed to flap around like a sheet on a clothes line, let alone the voluminous vestments, tall hats and water soluble decorations. Nor do I think UV degradation over such a short time would be significant. However the idea of weakening by bacterial contamination is plausible, especially if the shroud was put away slightly damp.

  28. Max patrick Hamon
    May 24, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Hugh, I have never considered wind as a factor of physical damage to the TS C14 dating corner! Most likely both cumulative and isolated factors such as repeated bending and strong grip with fingernails (whether sharp or not), thread tugging & shearing with ring bezels, bacterial from skin flora could have caused physical damages to the said area.

    Reminder: after 1534 the weight of the backcloth shall be added to that of the Shroud when totally unfolded AND stretched, meaning more fingernail pressure to the main body of the Shroud through gripping it just underneath the seam beaded side-strip. From 1355 to 1842, public AND private expositions were static AND/OR active.

    If contamination is not due to repair and reweaving i the area, could you answer that very simple question, please (this is the third time I am asking you!): How do you factually account for the wide distribution of calendar years (1238-1407) on such a small distance (just four centimeters of the linen fabric)?

  29. Hugh Farey
    May 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    It’s a good question, and one that I have been exploring. First, let’s clear the date thing up. Of the 12 BP dates quoted by the Nature paper, the earliest is one of Oxford’s (795BP) and the latest one of Arizona’s (591BP). When calibrated, the Oxford one corresponds to about 1250, and the Arizona one corresponds to about either about 1325, or about 1400, but not the dates in between. This is because of the way the calibration graph zigzags at around that time. In fact, of the 12 BP dates, eight correspond entirely to the period between 1250 and 1335, while four correspond to three dates, one between 1250 and 1335, one between 1335 and 1385, and one between 1385 and 1410, but not any intervening dates. It makes better sense to reject these later dates, and to consider the Shroud as having been dated between 1250 and 1325, a 75 year variation rather than your 170 years or so.

    Interestingly, a similar operation applied to the 13 dates of the St Louis Cope, which is almost exactly contemporaneous with the Shroud, results in a likelihood of a date between 1220 and 1320, which is a larger spread. Even so, the point Max is making is valid, the discrepancy between the three average dates of the Shroud being about 20 years, while that of the St Louis cope is about 3 years.

    Riani and Atkinson attempted to explore in some detail whether discrepancies between the 12 individual dates would enable them to reconstruct the positions of those sub-samples within the strip cut from the shroud, but this wasn’t possible. However the three average dates were statistically different. The Oxford sample dates to about 1260, and the Arizona sample to about 1300, a difference of 40 years. (Compare this to equivalent figures of about 1265 and 1270 for the St Louis Cope, and we can see why the Shroud discrepancy is significant).

    Be that as it may, Max wants to know how much contamination I suggest would make a 13th century cloth appear older than it really is, in a graduated fashion across four centimetres. The answer is that if from 0% to about 15% of the mass of the sample across its length was 17th century alizarin (madder) combined with the linen, a sufficient discrepancy could be achieved. Sadly I cannot discover by how much the mass of a cloth is increased by dying it. 15% seems to me rather a lot.

  30. Max patrick Hamon
    May 25, 2014 at 3:18 am

    Hugh, in other words you haven’t “the foggiest notion” of what really happened if you totally ruled out micro-reconstructions in the tested 4cm of the C14 sample.

  31. Max patrick Hamon
    May 25, 2014 at 4:29 am

    BTW the 1988 C14 dating observed distribution on the TS tested 3-4 sample IS 1238-1407. 1260-1390 is the official result after statistical sleight of hand.

  32. Hugh Farey
    May 25, 2014 at 4:57 am

    On the contrary, Max, I do have the foggiest notion, but I have to agree I was surprised by the calculation. However, much depends on the original date of the cloth. For other reasons I have been recently inclining towards the mid-13th century, when the C14 calibration graph has a single gradient and the addition of small amounts of dye would make little difference to the calculated date. However, if the original date of the cloth were later, say 1290 or so (as originally suggested by the Nature paper), then the calibration graph zigzags up and down, and tiny variations of C14 make large calendar differences. A BP date of 670, for example corresponds to a calendar date of 1290, while a BP date of 660 can correspond to a calendar date of 1375. An apparent change of 10 years actually corresponds to a calendar change of 85 years.

    Still foggy, but it may be clearing slowly…

    I’m sorry I can’t jump about shouting FACT FACT FACT, but that’s real science for you. Disappointing isn’t it?

  33. Max patrick Hamon
    May 25, 2014 at 5:21 am

    In MPHO, facts of experience (as far as linen cloth with seam and my reconstruction of bare handed exposition of the relic replica with back cloth is concerned) + thought experiment, point in both an invisible repair and reweaving direction + a specific 1st c. CE purifying ritual (used of an alkali solution as purifying agent).

    • Max patrick Hamon
      May 25, 2014 at 5:37 am

      Correction: relic replica with AND without backcloth

  34. Max patrick Hamon
    May 25, 2014 at 5:25 am

    BTW rain water mixed with ashes and/orJerusalem limestone can gelatinize starch at 55°-85°C (fumigation ritual) and act as as an extremely fine printing paste (drying ritual) to account for the TS image.

    • Max patrick Hamon
      May 25, 2014 at 5:39 am

      Correction:rain water mixed with ashes and/orJerusalem limestone DUST

  35. Max patrick Hamon
    May 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Reminder for Hugh: I on August 7, 2012 at 10:19 am #12 Reply, I wrote:
    “Statistically speaking, the true reliability of C14 dating is only about 70% (from Barta’s, Meacham’s and Voruz & Meanen’s studies). It is even lower for textile samples.”

  36. Hugh Farey
    May 25, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    You did, didn’t you, Max. But it didn’t mean anything then, nor when you repeated it in April, June and October of last year, and it doesn’t mean anything now. Perhaps if you provided references to the works of Barta, Meacham and Voruz & Meanen we could make some sense of it.

  37. Max patrick Hamon
    May 26, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Re reliable, suspicious and non-reliable C14 test statistics, see:
    – César Barta Gil, datación radiocarbónica del Sudarion de Oviedo, Actas del II Congreso Internacional sobre El Sudario de Oviedo, 13 al 15 de abril de 2007, TABLA 6, p. 145.
    (En la TABLA 6 se presentan los resultados combinados de los tres estudios que abarcan màs de 300 muestras y una amplia variedad de procedencias).
    – William Meacham, Thoughts on the Shroud 14C debate. Sindon quaderno n°13, June 2000 p. 441-454. Actualized to http://www.hku/hkprehis/archdate.htm (2006)
    – Voruz J.L. et Manen C., Le Cas de la Grotte du Gardon (Ain) Dossiers d’Archéologie n° 306, Septembre 2005, p. 38-43.

  38. Max patrick Hamon
    May 26, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Re your allegedly “sceptically scientific” opinion on the 14C dating sample, you are not only wrong in your aprioristic opinion but also in your facts:
    1/ You do have a flabbergasting a priori on the “paucity” of the Lirey-Nice-Chambery-Turin Shroud barehanded displays; an a priori that biased all your reasoning. There were not just a few private & public expositions between 1355-1860s; they were 2-3 hundreds as a fair estimate.
    2/ You cannot discriminate between bleached and unbleached linen (Holland cloth and TS man burial cloth) to assert without the slightest chemical analysis but just from your ‘I think I see’ from one photograph, both clothes were dyed to match.
    3/ You are in denial of the royal family tradition the TS was repaired and rewoven in one point of the time yet just cannot provide any documents/facts to oppose that tradition.
    4/ You speak as if 14C-dating tests were 95-100% reliable. The true fact is their reliability is only about 70%.

    This is not serious!

    • clublu22014
      May 26, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Hugh, what insight have you gleaned on the “the chemical basis of the colours of the quad mosaics” that are irrefutable to your conclusion?

      • Hugh Farey
        May 26, 2014 at 1:52 pm

        Oo. I knew I shouldn’t have put that in! To avoid boring regular readers (it’s one of my hobby-horses), can I refer you to http://shroud.com/pdfs/n78part9.pdf, where I explain it in detail? Basically, it is patently obvious that the different colours of the quad mosaics are not related to the chemical composition of the Shroud, as the main body of the shroud varies from yellow to blue on every one.

        • clublu22014
          May 26, 2014 at 2:23 pm

          Hugh, thank you so much for your pdf file on shroud.com, very informative. However, in a French-reweave/invisible mending the skill is such not only to fool the naked eye but to incorporate the main body of the garment. So the areas patch with a French reweave would have been more than a simple patchwork area. Also, you mention that the dark greenish area chosen (incidentally chosen for the C14 testing) were not a designation of an contaminated and inconsistent chemical area of the Shroud but rather of a light effect: “The colour is fairly obviously much more to do with the light source than it has to do with the material of the Shroud.” Wow! Really, Hugh? Did you fact-check that with Barrie?

      • Hugh Farey
        May 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm

        Well that’s very kind. The repercussions of my article were extensively aired at https://shroudstory.com/2014/01/21/cat-among-the-pigeons/#comment-74023, and then a bit later at https://shroudstory.com/2014/01/22/comment-promoted-are-the-quad-mosaics-meaningless/. Barrie was part of the discussion in places, but has not defended the “quad mosaics show different chemicals” idea since.

      • Thibault HEIMBURGER
        May 27, 2014 at 3:02 pm


        About the Quad-mosaic, I would like to say what follows:
        1) The authors of the experiments were true experts in this field.
        2) You wrote: ” Basically, it is patently obvious that the different colours of the quad mosaics are not related to the chemical composition of the Shroud, as the main body of the shroud varies from yellow to blue on every one.”

        You have to consider only the portions of the Shroud that were uniformly illuminated: the lower parts. The upper parts of the Shroud (in your paper) in which you see blue colors must be eliminated for comparison because the conditions of the illumination of those parts were likely not the same as those of lower parts.

        One has also to consider the creases, folds etc (remember the the Shroud was not flat in 1978).

        Shortly, the Quad mosaic photo certainly shows us a kind of chemical map of the TS but the conditions in which the photos were taken must be taken into account.

        I have the High resolution Photos of the Quad Mosaic.
        The Quad Moasic is not meaningless.

        I’ll try to show that tomorrow.

        • Dan
          May 27, 2014 at 3:13 pm

          That would be great. Just let me know what you want to do.

      • Hugh Farey
        May 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm

        No Thibault, this is special pleading beyond credibiity. The illumination of each picture was remarkably similar throughout, as the lights were mounted on the same frame as the camera. They were focussed on the centre of the photo, but weakened towards the sides and corners. The colours on three of the photos – including the green area in the bottom left hand corner – are so similar that a video featuring a voiceover by Ray Rogers confuses the C14 corner with another photo altogether. All three have blue patches at the top, green patches on the bottom left, and red areas around the bottom right corners – are they symptomatic of lighting irregularities too, or are they chemical differences? Is it exclusively the bottom left corner of just one picture that shows a chemical difference?

  39. Max patrick Hamon
    May 26, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    PS Methinks you do lean toward an non-authentic at all costs approach, not an objective search for the truth.

  40. Hugh Farey
    May 26, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks, Max.

    1) My guess about the number of expositions was well flagged as such. Just a guess, based on shroud.com’s History. There are listed about 60 showings, public and private, and the information that for some time the shroud was exhibited annually on 4th May for about 30 years in the 15th century. My 60 – 70 was clearly an underestimate, and perhaps your 100 – 150 was more accurate. Now we’re creeping up to 200 – 300. I think you may be pushing it there.

    2) I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. There is no evidence about the bleaching of either cloth. The Holland cloth has definitely darkened in some places, which may be due to light, or general grime, or deliberate dying. If the Shroud was bleached then it should be darkening too, as some conservators have feared. If not, then it should be lightening, which I have not heard claimed.

    3) I’m not at all in denial of the Savoy royal family tradition. But as far as I know it’s just a tradition, and not substantiated. There is nothing to oppose.

    4) I still don’t know what you mean by 70% reliable. If you mean that 70% of all radiocarbon datings pin the artifact down to a single year, then you are being hopelessly generous; if you mean that 30% of all radiocarbon datings are wrong even within their errors bars and after calibration then you are being absurdly mean. Perhaps you mean something, but I’ve no idea what!

    I must repeat, Max, that scientists don’t do facts in the same way you do. To us, a fact is not the same as a conviction, however deeply held; it is an irrefutable conclusion (although there are variations on exactly what irrefutable might mean). I have not reached an irrefutable conclusion about many things to do with the shroud (the chemical basis of the colours of the quad mosaics being a notable exception), and such inclinations as I have are usually easily refutable; the trouble is however, they mostly haven’t been. Simply declaring that I’m wrong, of course, is not a refutation but a denial.

    • Charles Freeman
      May 26, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      I am in Greece at the moment with no access to my files but a Belgian cultural institute analysed 400 C14 ratings of Coptic textiles and found about one per cent questionable. There have been problems with calibration especially when you go back 50,000 years working with very small samples of surviving carbon but it makes no sense to equate dating of very ancient artefacts with those from the last two thousand years where the margin of error is very small indeed. I have found Meacham very misleading as , from what I have read of him, he fails to make this distinction. You also need to distinguish say peat from textiles as the issues of selecting un contaminated samples are very different.

      • Charles Freeman
        May 26, 2014 at 2:58 pm

        P.S. The Belgian study is important as it concerns a) textiles, b) textiles that date to the first millennium Ad, therefore in the same era that the linen of the Shroud might be,

  41. Max patrick Hamon
    May 26, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    1) Hugh finally you admit “My 60 – 70 was clearly an underestimate”. Actually the first time you referred to paucity of displays you mentioned no figures at all… now you come up with 60-70… My 2-3 hundreds private AND public expositions (from 1355 to early 1860s) is no “pushing it here”.

    2) Shall I refresh your memory:

    On May 22, 2014 at 8:20 pm Mike M wrote:
    “Hugh, I think you are mistaken. The paper you sited (G. Fanti) says the opposite (i.e. bleached linen becomes darker) and the Holland cloth was bleached according to Rogers,

    Hugh Farey
    May 23, 2014 at 11:37 am Reply
    Quite right. My mistake. Dark cloth (unbleached) gets lighter and light cloth (bleached) gets darker. How to quantify this over years is difficult to assess.

    Max patrick Hamon
    May 23, 2014 at 11:45 am Reply
    This speaks volume on how reliable your alleged “scientific opinion” is as far as the Holland backcloth dying is concerned.”

    3) You are not at all in denial of the tradition YET you’re are reasoning as if the latter had never existed. You are not in explicit denial BUT in implicit denial. Are you kidding?

    4) You wrote: “I still don’t know what you mean by 70% reliable.” First read the papers I referred you to and THEN comment, please.

    Re reliable, suspicious and non-reliable C14 test statistics, see:
    – César Barta Gil, datación radiocarbónica del Sudarion de Oviedo, Actas del II Congreso Internacional sobre El Sudario de Oviedo, 13 al 15 de abril de 2007, TABLA 6, p. 145.
    (En la TABLA 6 se presentan los resultados combinados de los tres estudios que abarcan màs de 300 muestras y una amplia variedad de procedencias).
    – William Meacham, Thoughts on the Shroud 14C debate. Sindon quaderno n°13, June 2000 p. 441-454. Actualized to http://www.hku/hkprehis/archdate.htm (2006)
    – Voruz J.L. et Manen C., Le Cas de la Grotte du Gardon (Ain) Dossiers d’Archéologie n° 306, Septembre 2005, p. 38-43.

  42. Max patrick Hamon
    May 27, 2014 at 6:28 am

    To Charles:

    On August 7, 2012 at 7:43 am, I wrote:

    “When it comes to CONCLUSIVELY carbon date claimed old burial linens, history of their conservation conditions (and first and foremost the specific burial rite they were subjected to) is vital information. Now for the Turin Sindon much of the information is lacking.”

    Now the sample-context relationship must be established prior to carbon dating. When it comes to artworks found out of primary archaeological context, 14C dating is questionable per se.

    • Max patrick Hamon
      May 27, 2014 at 6:31 am

      Correction: Items (not artworks)

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