Surprising Paper out of Bari: Plant DNA Studies on the Shroud of Turin

imageAt Bari, quite a few people were surprised by a paper that was not in the final program (as published on the website) and not included in the proceedings of the conference given to attendees. The three-page paper was “Uncovering the Sources of DNA in the Turin Shroud” by G. Barcaccia, G. Galia, A. Achilli, A. Olivieri, A. Torroni and G. Fanti.

I will seek out a link or try to get permission to include the paper in this blog so that everyone can read it. In the meantime, here is the concluding paragraph sent to me me by two different attendees:

In conclusion, results from this study are consistent with the presence of several plant species according to cpDNA barcodes and distinct human mtDNA haplogroups. Overall DNA data were compared with historical information to verify whether the geographic areas of origin and distribution of land plant species (embryophytes) and human mitochondrial haplogroups are coherent with the proposed temporal and spatial paths of the Turin Shroud. Our experimental findings and additional clues pose a further difficulty to those who postulate a central European origin and a historical interval corresponding to the Middle Ages of the Relic.

from, as explained earlier in the paper:

… pollen grains, cell debris and other minuscule organic specimens, such as plant-derived fibers and blood-like clots found into the dusts sampled in the Turin Shroud by STURP Members. In particular, the dust particles analyzed in this study belong to different filters of the back of the Turin Shroud, also corresponding to the areas face, hands, buttocks and feet.

18 thoughts on “Surprising Paper out of Bari: Plant DNA Studies on the Shroud of Turin”

  1. What the….? Where did they get the samples from? How was this not on the official program? There was talk of hand grenades being thrown on this site a few days ago. This three page paper is the equivalent of a drone strike at Bari.

  2. This paper is not exactly something knew, there was a similar paper last year, if I’m not mistaken, and someone may have it stored.

    1. There must be something new about it, perhaps addenda, or why else to spring it on the Bari conference? Makes no sense. But this is Shroudology, where sense isn’t always a requirement.

  3. The most relevant part of Fanti’s presentation was not the presence of plant DNA. He has also identified DNA corresponding to a variety of animals, including an extinct type of bird not present in current-day catalogues. However, the most interesting part of his presentation was when he showed the results associated to human DNA. He has identified DNA to human linages from all over the world, although the most abundant is DNA corresponding to prevalent populations from the Arabic peninsula (semitic) and both sides of the Mediterranean. In the slide he showed, these three major human linages converged in the area of Egypt~Israel~Jordan~Syria.
    Seemingly, he has used DNA from the sticky tapes.
    Another interesting presentation was the one given by Orit Shamir, from the Israel Department of Antiquities. She is an expert in ancient textiles of the Middle East and clearly ruled out the possibility that the Shroud could have been manufactured in Israel during Roman times. She gave many solid reasons to support that conclusion, all of them based on her expertise on ancient textiles, thus posing a new challenge to those defending its authenticity.
    Regarding the HAL9000 high resolution images, the group of Turin thinks that since they have been taken in a non-continuous way, that is, each photograph only covers a part of the Shroud, the light conditions change and putting together all the partial images would not be realistic. This seems to be one of the reasons not to release these high resolution images. Their current challenge is to do some sort of continuous scanning of the Shroud that would enable a whole homogeneous analysis of the pixels.
    Paolo di Lazzaro goes on with his research on lasers. A quick look in ScienceDirect indicates that he is author of more than 100 papers on lasers in peer-reviewed indexed JCR journals. Surprisingly enough, most of them are not related to shroud studies whatsoever. In the last years, by fine-tunning the operational conditions of lasers impacting on linens, he has been able to reproduce an increasing number of aspects observable on the Shroud. Whatever, this may mean it is worthwhile to follow his research.
    The Spanish members of the CES prsented the chemical analysis of the dust they have extracted from the sudarium of Oviedo. The results are truly interesting.
    Marzia Boi has reanalyzed the photographs of pollens corresponding to the STURP period and has clearly identified some major errors on the type of plant they belong to.
    Finally, Jose Luis Rodriguez gave a most interesting presentation on the analysis frame needed for a comprehensive study of the Shroud. He is an independent senior consultant in aviation and has imported some breaking edge methodology used in his field of expertise (the concept of system) to study the Shroud.

    1. One of the biggest gaps in Shroud research has been anyone with any expertise in ancient textiles so it is good that Orit Shamir has become involved. As the Masada and other excavations in burial sites in the Middle East has shown there is a vast amount of material, much of it fragmentary, of course, that needs to related to the the Shroud. So far we only have that stitch! I hope the paper becomes accessible soon.

  4. A most informative succinct summary of Bari from Gabriel.
    “… Orit Shamir, from the Israel Department of Antiquities. She is an expert in ancient textiles of the Middle East and clearly ruled out the possibility that the Shroud could have been manufactured in Israel during Roman times. ”

    Perhaps a Roman soldier acquired it when stationed in Gaul, and put it on the market in Jerusalem??

    1. Well,she was asked many questions after her presentation.
      Among them, some about the possibility of having been manufactured in a neighbour country like Egypt, Syria or even India. Again, she ruled out that possibility because the characteristics of textiles from those countries did not fit in at all with those of the Shroud.
      Furthermore, she was asked whether new future findings could change things. She answered that in her view, this was highly unlikely because her institution has conducted in the last years intensive specific field campaings in caves and candidate locations throughout Israel, and new findings in this field of textiles are highly unlikely.

    2. I would add that Orit’s paper along with Fanti’s first analysis of HUMAN DNA from the Shroud are apportions that may open new research lines in the future

    3. The linen could have been produced in any number of places, from Gaul to Antioch, and made it’s way to Jerusalem which was a hub or trade and commerce.

      One thousand years from now, experts may be examining a pair of running shoes that some believe were worn by a man named Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles circa 2014. An expert in ancient American footwear may assert that the shoes were not manufactured in California, nor likely the United States. This would not rule out a 2014 provenance of the shoes because they were made in Vietnam. The Odor-Eaters on the other hand….

  5. I suggest that the methods of linen manufacture were quite different during the 100 Years War from those that prevailed in ancient times as manifest in the banding of the Shroud, and also from the prevalence of a starch coating on the outermost fibres. The 100 Years War was a series of conflicts between the Houses of Plantagenet rulers of England and of Valois for the kingdom of France from 1337 to 1453. At this time the dominant producers of linen and of weaving generally were in the Low Countries, particularly Flanders. An excellent historical article on the production of linen at this period and its significance there, can be found at:

    1. Well the introduction of treadle looms in c. AD 1000 were the biggest revolution in weaving technology and replaced the traditional ancient loom for most purposes as using your feet and hands simultaneously made weaving three times as fast.

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