The Lede: Charles Freeman believes relic venerated as Jesus Christ’s burial cloth dates from 14th century and was used as a prop
Charlotte Higgins writes:
The original purpose of the shroud, argues Freeman, is likely to have been as a prop in a kind of medieval, theatrical ceremony that took place at Easter – the Quem quaeritis? or “whom do you seek?”
“On Easter morning the gospel accounts of the resurrection would be re-enacted with ‘disciples’ acting out a presentation in which they would enter a makeshift tomb and bring out the grave clothes to show that Christ had indeed risen,” he said.
This will probably get syndicated. Many Guardian articles about the shroud do.