Shroud: The Reasons for the ‘No’

imageMaria Chiara Strappaveccia, Culture Columnist, has an interesting article in L’Lindro entitled Sindone: le ragioni del ‘no’: Le obiezioni all’autenticità del Telo sintetizzate da Andrea Nicolotti, Luigi Garlaschelli, Antonio Lombatti

(or as Google Translation puts it, Shroud: the reasons for the ‘no’: The objections to the authenticity of the Cloth synthesized by Andrea Nicolotti, Luigi Garlaschelli, Antonio Lombatti)

Here is a rough Google translation of the article:

What are the reasons why many in the debate on the Shroud of Turin, lined up for the authenticity of the Shroud? 

  • There is not reason to believe that the Shroud is medieval?
  • [Is it] true that it is irreproducible?

During the creation of this special dedicated to the Holy Shroud, in view of ‘ exposition of April , we spoke with many scholars of the Cloth, between the so-called ‘non autenticisti’ we discussed, among others, with historians Andrea Nicolotti , scholar of the history of Christianity and researcher at the University of Turin, and Antonio Lombatti , Popular University of Parma, and the chemical Luigi Garlaschelli , Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Pavia. From conversations with Garlaschelli and Nicolotti (that for our Special realized some services that will be published in the coming weeks), we extracted a summary of the ‘reasons for not’ the authenticity of the Shroud.  

Archaeology and History

The linen threads of the Shroud have a twisting opposite to that in use in Israel at the time of Jesus; this twisting, however, is the same that was used in Europe in the Middle Ages. Then the shroud is not a fabric produced in Palestine at the time of Jesus .

The flax is woven with the technique twill from 3 Alloy 1, that is, each warp yarn passes over three weft yarns and under the fourth, and so on , alternately, so as to form a diagonal pattern. This trend is mirrored and gives rise to an effect to ‘zig zag’ said ‘herringbone’. It is not known in ancient times , before the Middle Ages, no linen fabric large and complex as the shroud that has been woven with this technique , with which the frames would have been at the disposal of the old extreme complexity to the point of making it almost impossible. No ‘ shroud ‘ and no linen fabric ancient comparable to the shroud is made ​​in this way . The oldest examples found so far, which are technically comparable to the Shroud are all back to the thirteenth century.

The Shroud of Turin is completely different from the various fragments of authentic Palestinian shrouds of the first century known to archaeologists, found in tombs at Masada, ‘En Gedi, Jericho, Akeldama.

It seems that the real shrouds were wrapped around the body and tied , and not placed above and below , and stir well stretched in the longitudinal direction, as seems to be the case for that of Turin. The Shroud is not even consistent with the description of the Gospel , which speaks of various linens and a shroud on the head, smaller and distinguished from other fabrics. Also the Gospels do not say that Jesus was put in a sheet , but that was wrapped and tied in cloth, which is incompatible with what you see in the Shroud of Turin , where there are no signs of ligatures and windings .

The Gospels do not mention no human footprint that would remain etched in the burial cloth of Jesus.

The Shroud of Turin is not known from the first century , in fact, for several centuries, no one ever said that the burial cloth of Jesus had been saved and preserved . It is likely that the Jews of Jesus’ followers have not even touched, because for the Jews of that time as to those of today that has touched a corpse is impure and transmits impurities.

The Shroud of Turin does not resemble any of the shrouds that, from the sixth century AD, began to be described by many pilgrims who visited the holy places and knew the various relics, today recognized almost all false, that they began to be produced at ‘era. It is highly unlikely that a genuine relic with an image of Christ as the Shroud was never mentioned by anyone until the Middle Ages .

The Shroud of Turin is by no means a relic of ancient and unique, because before it appeared there were other ‘shrouds’ elsewhere and most well-known and revered (Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Compiègne, Aachen, Cadouin, Mainz, etc.) , all considered authentic until the modern era.

The Shroud of Turin suddenly appeared in France , in Lirey , in the diocese of Troyes, towards 1355. Immediately Henri de Poitiers , the bishop of the local diocese of Troyes, which was opposed all’ostensione made, considering it an obvious fake. The exhibitions resumed after about thirty years, and yet the new bishop, Pierre d’Arcis , opposed. After a long standoff between him and the dean of the church where the exhibitions took place in 1389, the bishop appealed to Pope Clement VII with a long memorial, in which he tells how his predecessor had even found the artist that ‘ had ‘cleverly painted’.

The Pope allowed the exhibitions only as long as you say every time that it was a representation, and not the true Shroud of Christ. At the time of these fights anyone, neither the Pope , nor the bishops , nor the canons of Lirey neither the owners of the Shroud never claimed that it was true , indeed, everyone called ‘figure’ or ‘representation’ of the true shroud of Jesus .

The luck of the Shroud began only when it was illegally sold to the Duke of Savoy from a woman who died excommunicated for his action. Because of the power of the ducal family, slowly were forgotten and hidden the little noble origins and initial controversy, through a work of falsification of the history of the Shroud that lasted until the early twentieth century. Once in their hands , the Savoys increasingly promoted the cult , as a relic of the royal family, to obtain the endorsement of some popes declared , from Julius II .

Among the thousands of medieval relics (thorns of the crown, wood and nails of the cross, sandals and robes of Jesus, fragments of his umbilical cord of his foreskin, his hair and more), the shrouds, certainly not lacking. Generally were white sheets, as the Gospels do not mention any impression on them. But there were also small towels called ‘Veronica’ or ‘Mandili’, which, according to various legends, Jesus would have left imprinted on his face alive. Perhaps the union of the two concepts of miraculous imprint and shroud, especially from Veronica, who was born the idea of a shroud bearing the imprint of the entire body. 

The image and the wounds

Considering the Shroud image is known the total lack of geometric deformations that would be expected from an imprint left -with any means- by a human body covered by a towel . Several researchers have tried to cover a voluntary colorful painting , and appoggiargli over a sheet . Obviously the result is a horribly deformed, and no halftones and nuances of the real Shroud, but rather a ‘stamp effect’. The image of the Shroud, which seems so perfect, it is absolutely unrealistic: too good to be true .

Abused and inconsistent is the reference to the alleged special ‘ negativity ‘ of the Shroud image , ‘discovered’ in 1898 when the Shroud was photographed for the first time. The discussion on this point also coincides with the birth of the Shroud. In fact the shape of the body presents a reversal of light and shade than the reality ; parts of the body more in relief, those that should be more exposed to light (such as the nose), on the fabric are darker, while those less in relief, and then further away from the fabric and less illuminated by the light (as the orbits eyes) are less dark. This has nothing strange nor means that the author was so clever to know the effect of modern photographic negatives, as often claimed: it is simply the result of a normal decals , just what an architect would have wanted to make to give the ‘impression of a contact between a tissue and a body capable of leaving an image (bloody because, for example).

Many sindonologists ‘autenticisti’ (the terms are in fact become almost synonymous) were and are coroners. In their view, the precision pathologic of wounds and injuries on the Shroud are completely realistic and compatible only with a real corpse. In fact any investigation of a medical nature on a figure stamped and in the absence of the true body is extremely speculative and based on unprovable assumptions . It is evident, however, that are not at all the pretty plausible dripping blood on the hair (which if anything should essersene matted and soaked), nor the existence of an imprint hair themselves , that a person would fall backwards without lying trace on the front side. It has also been experimentally verified that the direction of true dripping blood on the forearms, on the backs of the hands and side follow trends quite different from those depicted on the Holy Cloth. But are the laboratory analyzes those mentioned by now discussed more frequently; for instance as to the presence or absence of blood. Obviously, on a false shroud could find blood, dyes, or both; but a shroud true-even if it had been doctored with colorimetric must necessarily possess traces of blood. A first commission of inquiry set up by Cardinal Michele Pellegrino gave in 1969-1973, however, disappointing results. The forensic analysis laboratory of Professor Giorgio Frache Modena (test chemical, chromatographic and immunological) had only negative results . Microscopic examinations conducted by Guido Filogamo and Alberto Zina showed no traces of red blood cells or other blood corpuscles typical. We saw, however, the granules of a coloring material whose nature there is pronounced. It should also be noted that the ‘ blood ‘ on the shroud is still very red , while it is well known that normally the degradation of hemoglobin makes it very dark in a short time .

In 1978 the then Archbishop of Turin Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero (assisted by Professor Luigi Gonella Turin Polytechnic as a scientific consultant) allowed 120 hours of analysis in a group self-offertosi of American scientists, the STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project ), which underwent a series of test chemical, physical and spectroscopic on which even today is discussed.

In contrast with previous results, the chemical STURP John Heller and David Alan Adler said to have established the presence of blood because they had got the typical reactions. In 1980, however, the well-known American microscopist Walter McCrone on fibers that STURP had passed he found no blood, but traces of red ocher, vermilion (red pigment widely used in the Middle Ages) and Alizarin (plant pigment red-pink). McCrone reported, moreover, the presence of a binder for the pigment particles that saw, which could be collagen (gelatin), or egg white. In practice it would tempera paints. The intrinsic characteristics of the image, proven by scientists STURP, are very interesting. L ‘ image is superficial (does not pass on the other side of the sheet) and is not produced by pigments or dyes    -a difference of blood stains, knead that the entire thickness of the canvas with a substance that bonds the fibers, and they are visible red particles. The image is due to a yellowing of the cellulose fibers , in practice to a degradation due to dehydration and oxidation. Analyses STURP indicated that body image has properties very similar to those of the burns , still clearly visible, that the Shroud suffered in the fire in 1532. Both the hypothesis of a slight burn (or singeing) than that of a chemical attack were deemed plausible , although the STURP failed to explain the genesis of an image with these characteristics, which lead many to exclude the work of an artist.

Sindonologists insist that an image with these characteristics can not be achieved with the means available to a medieval craftsman. They therefore concentrate all their efforts to find supernatural mechanisms that explain the genesis. The assumption, however, is not acceptable. Various hypotheses have been put forward on how the Shroud was manufactured (eg using chemical or heat) that certainly would be more easily found on the original, if access is not prevented by its owners.

The radiocarbon

The STURP , among others, recommended the radiocarbon dating of the relic by the method of carbon-14 to settle the question of authenticity. Only ten years later, in 1988, Cardinal Ballestrero and Gonella, under the supervision of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, chose the three laboratories with more experience in this technique worldwide: Tucson, Oxford and Zurich. Coordinator was Professor Michael Tite of the British Museum, considered a prestigious institution above the parties. Small samples were taken from a corner of the cloth, and the overall results , published October 13, 1988, circumscribed the age of the cloth to the period between 1260 and 1390 .

This means that the radiocarbon dating has fully confirmed the historical data (the Shroud appears suddenly in the middle ages, not before) and technological (the kind of fabric is not attested before the Middle Ages).

Cardinal Ballestrero proved to accept and adapt to the results of the test honestly: " I think it is not appropriate to question the results. Nor is the case of reviewing the skins scientists if their response does not square with the reasons of the heart . " Who did not give the response of independent scientists were the advocates of authenticity to the bitter end, which imbastirono various lines of objections. Some delusional (conspiracy of laboratories with complicity Ballestrero), other laughable (collected fragments of a mending -obviously ever seen by any of the various textile experts who examined the Shroud wire instead of the pro-Shroud). The hypothesis most often repeated is that the levy was polluted by dirt consists of carbon more ‘modern’ that would have rejuvenated the cloth, but this is a topic that does not convince anyone of those who deal with radiodatazioni.

In 1993 a Russian chemist immediately became famous, Dimitri Kouznetsov , stated that during the fire suffered by the Shroud in Chambéry in 1532 the carbon dioxide of the air would be fixed to the cellulose of the linen, making carbon ‘recent’. A careful reading of the works of Kouznetsov showed, however, errors and forcing. Attempts to scientifically reproduce his experiments failed one after the other. But only after careful investigation it was discovered that it was a real quack, who had also invented names of collaborators, magazines, museums and laboratories.

It should be noted that none of the three laboratories of radiocarbon dating has never confirmed the objections of the Shroud. It should also be pointed out that radiocarbon dating is a tried and tested tool for archaeological dating, which each time has been applied to an alleged relic of Jesus provided a medieval dating (Shroud of Oviedo, title of the cross, the shroud of Carcassonne, tunic of Argenteuil, etc.) always rejected by the supporters of these relics.

Other statements ‘wonderful’ of ‘autenticisti’ -fungi grown on the fabric, traces of Roman coins from the time of Pilate, written in various languages ​​[in] visible on the cloth, pollen ancient Middle East, prior to the fourteenth century miniatures depicting the Shroud – are, similarly, not very plausible.

You might try a Bing translation. I could not get it to work.  Google did what seems to be a good job but with some loss of formatting.  I’ve tried to fix that in places.

99 thoughts on “Shroud: The Reasons for the ‘No’”

  1. Don’t you all have impression, that our sceptical friends lack any new argument, and just simply repeat those long-refuted old myths and half-truths about the Shroud?

    1. Yes, exactly, Colin, the hypocrisy of the sceptics is feaching full scale.

      This article by Garlaschelli, Lombatti & Nicolotti is neither scientific, nor popular-science. It resembles rather ideological manifesto, with its own “truths” and dogmas.

      On another forum we have a very interesting discussion about trivialisation of New Atheism movements, that their theses are getting more and more shallow and primitive with time. The same can be said about similar the “Shroud scepticism” movement -it gets trivialised as well. This article as well as recent writings of our friend Charles are few, but examples of that trend.

      1. I have to agree with Nabber. There are certainly valid points in this article, but seeded among them are weeds of misdirection. It damages the overall credibility. It would appear both sides of the debate have a tendency toward “piling on”.

  2. Under the address:

    the Italian words =
    Quali sono le motivazioni per cui molti, nel dibattito sulla Sindone di Torino, si schierano in favore dell’autenticità del Telo? Molti sindonologi – non solo cattolici, ma anche ebrei, atei, agnostici e cristiani di differenti chiese – sono convinti dell’autenticità del Telo che la tradizione venera come lenzuolo funerario di Gesù. Nel corso della realizzazione di questo speciale dedicato alla Sacra Sindone, in vista dell’ostensione di aprile, ci siamo confrontati, tra gli altri, con Giuseppe Baldacchini, fisico dell’ENEA di Frascati (Roma), Emanuela Marinelli, docente di Scienze Naturali, e Domenico Repice, teologo (che per il nostro Speciale hanno realizzato alcuni servizi che saranno pubblicati nelle prossime settimane). Abbiamo così estratto una sintesi delle ‘ragioni del sì’ all’autenticità della Sindone. … … …

    and here the rough translation:

    >What are the reasons why many in the debate on the Shroud of Turin, are lined up in favor of the authenticity of the Shroud? Many sindonologists – not only Catholics, but also Jews, atheists, agnostics and Christians from different churches – are convinced of the authenticity of the Shroud that tradition reveres as burial cloth of Jesus. During the making of this special issue dedicated to the Holy Shroud, in view the exposition of April, we discussed, among others, with Giuseppe Canopies, physical ENEA Frascati (Rome), Emanuela Marinelli, Professor of Natural Sciences, and Domenico Repice, theologian (that for our Special realized some services that will be published in the coming weeks).
    So we extracted a summary of the ‘reasons’ yes’ to the authenticity of the Shroud… … …

    1. “Many sindonologists – not only Catholics, but also Jews, atheists, agnostics and Christians from different churches – are convinced of the authenticity of the Shroud that tradition reveres as burial cloth of Jesus.”

      How can an atheist be convinced of the authenticity of the Shroud ?

  3. Sorry!

    >Giuseppe Baldacchini, retired researcher in physics at ENEA

    and not :
    >Giuseppe Canopies, physical ENEA

    — — — — —
    Other informations under the address:

    Dr. Giuseppe Baldacchini
    Born in 1941…
    … … Working in ENEA since 1967, presently chief of the “Lasers and Accelerators” Section of “Innovation” Department. Formerly associated researcher at Univ. of California, Berkeley (1972) and at Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City (1976-77). He contributed with more than 110 papers to physical journals in the fields of cryogenics, molecular spectroscopy and solid state physics. Awarded with the “S. Panizza” prize for outstanding contributions in Physics by the Italian Physical Society. …

  4. Here an italian key-phrase:
    L’archeometria costituisce il collegamento tra le discipline umanistiche (arte, archeologia) e quelle scientifiche (biologia, chimica, fisica, geologia).

    Archaeometry is the link between the humanities (art, archeology) and the sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, geology).
    — —
    Then, see also the following argument (a possible title):
    “Physics Methods in Archaeometry, SPM controls and textile samples (= on samples coming from Turin Shroud and Sudarium of Oviedo)”…

    1. The “italian key-phrase” was my attempt to introduce the argument
      that I underlined (at the end of my previous message) with the title:
      “Physics Methods in Archaeometry, SPM controls and textile samples”.

      The AFM can profile surfaces at resolutions
      from micrometers to nanometer scale. The AFM has
      several advantages over SEM and TEM such as true
      3D imaging, working under atmospheric pressure
      and the possibilities to scan in controlled environmental.
      Also, no special preparation of the samples is required.
      AFM can provide important information on surface forces
      (adhesion, friction, electrostatic, van der Waals, etc).

      So …
      AFM is an indispensable tool that can shed light on Turin Shroud and its enigmas.
      — —
      What is your opinion?

        1. “I put them all in one basket on purpose. I like to live dangerously.” …

          I assume you are referring to fungi/mushrooms, mold, etc. and their effects on linen fibrils.

          And then …
          Is it just this way that I can interpret the cartoon?
          — — —
          Here there is the text of my past message sent
          March 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm

          >I indicated the DHM (= Digital Holography Microscope) in order to investigate the pollen. Instead for linen fibrils I hoped to see something using the AFM
          techniques (but … also the pollen can be investigated using the AFM).

          >I believe that now we have the possibility to control the linen fibrils using the SPM apparels (AFM, SNOM, etc.)
          >We can see something of interest using the AFM techniques (included the Chemical Force Microscopy) on linen fibrils and thin layers on linen fibrils (and then we can also try to include in our investigations the famous “ghosts”) avoiding the bad destructions of the 14C tests.
          >When we want to use the AFM techniques on ancient materials we have to take into account the past story for these reperts (included the mold, the fungal attacks, etc.).
          >Pam Moon underlined that argument in a compilation/study titled :
          “Coloured Dissolved Organic Matter (CDOM) contamination, mould damage,
          biocides and the carbon-14 dating of the Shroud of Turin”.
          >Then the Shroud of Turin was contaminated by water … and the idea by Pam Moon is that the major watermarks were caused by water that was contaminated, this is a possible controversial idea (see : the Fire in 1532 and the water used)…
          >So, we have to try to work in a safe area (previously chosen using the optical microscopy), avoiding the area of presumed contamination (from the humic and
          fulvic acid from the soil).
          >Is that attempt to work a credible way to follow ?
          In my opinion we have to do a good survey, testing both the areas : the safe
          and the (presumed) contaminated areas.
          >The AFM and the Raman analyses can show the truth.

          There are the highest performance AFM-Raman systems…

          >Here the useful addresses :

          >Nanomechanical Characterization Modes.
          >>Understand the physical properties of molecules, composites,
          and nanostructures …

          >Nanoindenting and Nanoscratching
          >>Hardness and wear testing of nanometer-scale samples
          >Indentation is a common tool for determining the mechanical properties, such as the hardness or modulus, of a sample. With the help of diamond probes on AFM systems, researchers are able to nanoindent very small volume samples to obtain this valuable data. AFM can also perform nano-scratching and wear testing to investigate film adhesion and durability.

          >I hope in your answer.
          — — — — — — — — —
          Maybe I did not hit the target.
          Maybe you underlined the monothematic behavior of myself… or the AFM self-poisonings (and why?)…
          Then …
          I beg you to reveal to me the exac meaning of your curious cartoon…

        2. and of course :

          the exact meaning of your curious cartoon…

          instead of :

          the exac meaning of your curious cartoon…

        3. In fact they are eggs, free range eggs that is, piero, not mushrooms, though I had to go to the original link to be certain that I too had not misinterpreted the cartoon:

          The English (and French) have an expression: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. I’m not sure if your native tongue (Italian?) does or does not. It’s the precautionary advice that counts. It’s unwise to invest all one’s hopes and dreams into any one single approach that if as yet untried and untested may not deliver the desired answer.

  5. SIX very short posts (alleged “relevant comments” in image) by Colin within about five hours (from February 11, 2015 at 6:31 am to February 11, 2015 at 11:42 am). I am allowed only FIVE posts a day. Dan strikes again with his Double standard policy. Cherchez l’errreur.

    1. I never said five. I said I am considering a limit. What you do, Max, is to write a short comment, then follow it with a typo correction, and then follow that with an additional short thought or two and soon we have 4 or 5 comments when with a little care you could’ve written it as one comment. Those of us who follow comments as emailsend up getting four or five emails. If that is enough you sometimes sprinkle in a couple comments that really say nothing substantive but are intended to insult someone. I’m asking you, Max. please help me out Stop and review your comment before sending it. You are causing me a lot of extra work.

      1. The fact is I post comment while working on my professional files (working about 100hours a week on a current basis). I comment IN LIVE (NO TIME ENOUGH to articulate a research paper or even re-read all my comments, besides English is not my first language) while [THE REST OF THIS COMMENT DELETED BY DAN PORTER].

  6. The article should be balanced against “” (thank you Piero for pointing it out) published two days earlier, which gives the authenticist point-of-view and is no less free of distortion than its counterpart above. I look forward to the next instalment “sindone-le-ragioni-di-indecisione” which points out the murky bits in both.

  7. It seems to me that our friend Colin now has some kind of aphasia ;-))
    Nevertheless,I like particularly the picture of Kim Kadarshian (please don’t tell that to my wife!).

    Colin, I’ll be in London the next week for 2 (perhaps 3) days with my wife and my son.
    Some suggestions ?

    1. Yes that picture of dear Kim made my day….have never been interested in her but maybe that has now changed ;)

  8. Stale material again, probably based on ideology, and aimed at the forthcoming exposition. A waste of time.

  9. Hi Colin
    I like your errr… Scotch-Irish sense of humour. Only, I didn’t detect the smell of roses, just stale spaghetti,,,

  10. Come on, as an expert in the nutrition industry you should know the difference between cold and stale…

      1. Colin, I won’t discuss nutrition with you. That is your field of expertise, about which I know little. So let’s forget about the spaghetti or try stale gorgonzola or panettone.

        We need your comments in Shroud research. You are, after all, mesmerised with what you see in the image.

  11. Colin, regarding your Kim picture: you have a lot of time on your hands, re: computer use, so I warn you to be careful about what you do with it. The pic doesn’t belong on a website like this, IMHO.

    Dan: your judgment failed you this time.

    1. I removed it. That the picture appeared in the Daily Mail is reason enough. Don’t pursue with other examples. We are overdoing it with pictures as comments.

  12. Be as sniffy as you like about a UK tabloid Dan, while Nabber recoils at the sight of an acre of celebrated bum.

    But if your read the Mail article, you will see that the image first appeared on the front cover of the New York based “Paper” magazine Winter edition, priced at $10.

    Where this blogger’s concerned, it’s now images or nothing. Words are wasted on this site. They simply get thrown back in one’s face.

  13. Well then. Let’s pack up and go home. Case closed. Glad we solved that mystery. And to think all it took was a bit of conjecture from an unknown source. Thank you Mr X for pointing out something no one else had ever thought to address. I’ll have more time to read the Daily Mail now.

  14. Colin,
    I want to try to understand why you wrote only “AFM”
    (over the little basket) and not SPM …
    … or AFM-Raman, AFM-TERS … etc., etc.

    What is your opinion about AFM-TERS?


    >Reliable high performance probes are the central and
    non-trivial part of any tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy
    (TERS) solution. Bruker’s exclusive high contrast TERS
    probes uniquely provide full access to measurement
    on a wide range of samples.
    >Bruker’s reliable TERS-AFM tuning fork based probes
    exhibit zero spectral interference (no feedback laser)
    delivering superior sensitivity with high confidence. …

    Single-Molecule Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy
    J. Phys. Chem. C, 2012, 116 (1), pp 478–483

    Publication Date (Web): December 9, 2011
    Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society


    And here is the beginning of the Abstract:

    >An existence proof for single-molecule tip-enhanced
    Raman spectroscopy (SMTERS) is given using the
    frequency domain approach involving the two
    isotopologues of Rhodamine 6G (R6G) that were
    previously employed for
    single-molecule surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy
    (SMSERS). … … …
    — — —
    Here another paper
    (on TERS for identification of cultural heritage colorants…
    Then, see also: TERS, the “ghost writings” [see also: Barbara Frale…],
    the claims of our friend Charles … and [also] the “Holy Cap of Cahors”…!):

    Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS) for in Situ Identification of
    Indigo and Iron Gall Ink on Paper

    Journal of the American Chemical Society
    (Received: March 18, 2014)


    Click to access ja5027612-1bm63l3.pdf

    >Tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS)
    is a powerful analytical technique whose key
    features include high mass sensitivity, high spatial resolution, and
    precise positioning of the tip. In the current proof-of-concept study
    we utilized TERS to identify indigo dye and iron gall ink in situ on Kinwashi paper
    — —
    Another address for the same paper:

    Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (TERS) for in Situ Identification
    of Indigo and Iron Gall Ink on Paper

    >Confirmatory, nondestructive, and noninvasive identification of colorants
    in situ is of critical importance for the understanding of historical context
    and for the long-term preservation of cultural heritage objects.
    >Although there are several established techniques for analyzing
    cultural heritage materials, there are very few analytical methods that can be used for molecular characterization when very little sample is available, and a minimally invasive approach is required.
    >Tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) is a powerful analytical technique
    whose key features include high mass sensitivity, high spatial resolution,
    and precise positioning of the tip.
    >In the current proof-of-concept study we utilized TERS to identify
    indigo dye and iron gall ink in situ on Kinwashi paper.
    >In addition, TERS was used to identify iron gall ink
    on a historical document with handwritten text dated to the 19th century.
    >We demonstrate that TERS can identify both of these colorants directly on paper. Moreover, vibrational modes from individual components of a complex chemical mixture, iron gall ink, can be identified.
    >To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration
    of in situ TERS for colorants of artistic relevance directly on historical materials.
    Overall, this work demonstrates the great potential of TERS as
    an additional spectroscopic tool for minimally invasive compositional characterization of artworks in situ and opens exciting new possibilities for cultural heritage research.


    1. Here another example:
      Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)
      demonstrated that artificial dyes can be directly detected on hair.

      In Situ Detection and Identification of Hair Dyes Using Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS)
      Dmitry Kurouski and Richard P. Van Duyne

      Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University,
      Illinois, United States
      Anal. Chem., Article ASAP

      Publication Date (Web): January 30, 2015
      Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society


      Here a short excerpt from the Abstract:
      … …Our study reveals that SERS can
      – (1) identify whether hair was artificially dyed or not,
      – (2) determine if a permanent or semipermanent colorants were used, and
      – (3) distinguish the commercial brands that are utilized to dye hair.
      Such analysis is rapid, minimally destructive, and can be performed directly … …
      — — — —
      Toxicology …

      Are you a member of American Chemical Society?
      If you are member you can use your free ACS Member Universal Access…

  15. This paper is not serious
    I’ll probably will not waste my time to comment it in detail.

    Just read the first sentences:

    ” Archaeology and History

    The linen threads of the Shroud have a twisting opposite to that in use in Israel at the time of Jesus ”

    Just look at the picture of the 1st century burial shroud found in Jerusalem by Shimon Gibson:

    The twist is clearly a z-twist (just like the shroud).

    Although Gibson is completely wrong when he wrote that his “Burial cloth found in Jerusalem cave casts doubt on authenticity of Turin Shroud”, the point is that we can find at least one first-century Z-twisted burial shroud in Jerusalem.

    “this twisting, however, is the same that was used in Europe in the Middle Ages”.

    i would like to see the references.

    “Then the shroud is not a fabric produced in Palestine at the time of Jesus” .

    But who said that the all of the burial shrouds used in Jerusalem at the time of Christ were produced in Palestine ?

    In fact, according to Gibson himself in the National geographic article (see:
    about his Jerusalem shroud which does contain wool:

    “The way the wool in the shroud was spun indicates it had been imported from elsewhere in the Mediterranean – something a wealthy Jerusalem family from this period would likely have done.”

    How can the authors provide any kind of definitive conclusion based on textile studies if none of the textile experts (G.Raes, G.Vial, F. Testore, Mrs. Flury-Lemberg,John Tyrer)
    were able to rule out the TS as a first century textile from the Mediterranean area ?

    1. Thibault:
      You can see the answer to your questions in Orit Shamir: “Textiles from the 1st Century CE in Jerusalem – a Preliminary Report “, inAncient textiles : production, craft and society : proceedings of the First International Conference on Ancient Textiles, held at Lund, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 19-23, 2003,Oxford : Oxbow Books, 2007. (On line in

      Raes, Vial, Testore and Flury-Lemberg probabilly were not able to come to reliable conclusions about the date of the Shroud because they weren’t experts in the History of Palestinian textiles in Antiquity, as Shamir is. For some gross mistakes of Flury-Lemberg on this point, see Lombatti “La Sindone e il giudaismo al tempo di Gesù”,( ).

      1. Article by Lombatti? Don’t make me laugh! Actually little but propaganda brochure. All his claims are based on of overgeneralization of limited findings, and misrepresentation of several arguments (that’s typical for sceptical rhetoric). In fact, neither of Lombatti’s arguments is decisive, when we take into account a very specific case of the Shroud of Turin.

    2. Can we have the reference please for,the Z twist of the Gibson Shroud? There are indeed a few, a very few, Z twists among the Masada fragments ( always fragments from this climate in the first century) – the vast majority are S twists- and the excavators suggest that the Z twists were imports worn by Roman soldiers – I would be interested to have it confirmed that the Gibson Shroud is also a Z twist.

      1. From Diana Fullbright’s paper (pg. 2 section 4. THE BURIAL TEXTILES)

        Click to access FulbrightAkeldamaWeb.pdf

        A sample of textile from the tomb was tested by AMS
        radiocarbon dating at the University of Arizona. It was
        reported to reveal “without question that the shroud was
        from the beginning of the first century C.E.”
        Some fragments were determined to be of wool, either of sheep or goat hair. Others from the head area, the largest of
        which “was about 16 cm. in size,” were of plant origin,
        probably flax. Since various fragments of both groups,
        plant and wool, varied according to S or Z twist, it
        appears that the wrappings were composed of not two, but
        at a minimum four pieces of cloth. Thus it was not a
        “shroud” at all. Probably, the man was buried in various
        pieces of his clothing, as there is historical evidence in
        rabbinic sources as well as clear archaeological evidence
        for burial in multiple garments of clothing

        1. I have never said there was no Z twist in Palestine- the Masada evidence shows that were some Z twists but they were in a small minority and the excavators concluded that they were imports, the native weaves being S Twists.

      2. And also (about the shroud found in the Cave of the Warrior).

        This 6,000-year-old shroud is a large, rectangular linen
        cloth, 7 meters (22’ 11”) long and 2 meters (6’ 6”) wide.
        Even though about a third of it is missing, it could still be
        reconstructed on the basis of surviving parts. The pattern
        of the stains and the missing areas creates a mirror image,
        indicating that the textile had been folded twice in
        antiquity, forming a four-layered wrapping, in which the
        body of the deceased was placed. The four layers were
        then sewn together, “as is evident from rows of small
        holes in each layer” [12].
        One might think from size of the cloth that it had been
        assembled from several pieces. However, it was designed
        and manufactured as a single sheet. The edges were
        decorated by bands of a more elaborate weave,
        incorporating brown and black threads. These were
        further enhanced by a fringe of long tassels, tied by hand
        after the cloth had been woven.

        This disproves another lie, that making a cloth 4×1 meter size was impossible in those times.

        1. “This disproves another lie, that making a cloth 4×1 meter size was impossible in those times.”

          Sure. The weavers of the Turin Shroud found the time machine of H.G. Wells and went back six millenniums to bring the cloth of a warrior chief.

          But the cloth of the Cave of Warrior was woven in plain weave and S yarns.

          What a pity!

          (PS: Everybody knows that some big fabrics were produced in the History, before and after the Shroud.The question is if there were similar fabrics in Palestine in the First Century).

      3. Please, read Antonio Lombatti’s and Orit Shamir’s articles that I quoted.

        Shamir: Linen textile in Palestine are always twisted S-spun, A few examples of wool are in Z-spun. Akeldama is one of them. Textile production in Greece and Rome was Z-spun. Therefore, experts think that the fragments of wool Z-spun found in Palestine are imported.
        Orit Shamir thinks this is an “additional proof” against the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.

        Lombatti shows in detail that Flury-Lemberg is wrong when affirms that the fabrics in Masada are similar to the Turin Shroud. Flury-Lemberg’s quotes are wrong (there are not burial cloths in Masada) or refer to inexistent texts.

        1. About Masada. It is true (or so it seems) that the seam of the Shroud is similar to one of the examples of seams from Masata, but it is a common type of seam, not exclusive to Masada, that can also be found, for example, in medieval (and present-day) Europe.
          It is not true that the selvedge of the Shroud is similar to examples of Masada. The selvedge of the Shroud is peculiar because the weft thread turns around the last and the last-but-one warp thread, alternatively. No similar examples are reported from Masada.
          It is not true that Flury-Lemberg refers to inexistent texts.

        2. I was referring to this:

          “Ho controllato il volume per verificare quali siano queste somiglianze con la Sindone. Immaginate un po’? Nessuna. Non capisco proprio perché la Flury-Lemberg abbia citato quelle pagine. La figura 111 di p. 210 riporta questa descrizione: Wool, red, balanced 2:2 broken diamond twill. Some edges seem deliberately torn. Dyed with madder. Cosa c’entra con la Sindone che è un 3:1 herringbone twill? Niente. E anche l’illustrazione 113 di pag. 211 non ha nulla a che fare con il lino. La sua descrizione è nella pagina precedente: wool, 1:1 diamond twill. E queste sarebbero le somiglianze?” (A. Lombatti: Op. cit.).

          “Inexistent texts” perhaps was not an accurate expressión. Is “inexistent likeness” better? In any case their quotes were wrong.

        3. David, what I wanted to point out is that all the texts that are quoted in Flury-Lemberg’s bibliography do exist. As to their interpretation, it may happen that there is disagreement, of course.

  16. It is known that textiles were imported by people in ancient Palestine. S. Gibson is on the whole a good and serious archaeologist, however he is secular and sceptical. He claimed that Jesus must have learned medicine to perform the healing and curing, but does not say where. He also does state that these acts filled the Temple authorities with fear and led to the crucifixion. It looks like the scepticism may be the reason why he dismisses the Shroud.

  17. Weaving in linen was commonly practised throughout the ancient world, often with intricate weaves. Trade to the east via the Silk Road was common and there were Roman garrisons in Gaul. The cloth might have come from just about anywhere from Denmark to Afghanistan or even China. We might exclude Egypt which apparently was almost invariably S twist. I see the size of the loom as a minor objection only, and one that might easily be resolved. The non-uniform thread was clearly hand-spun, and cotton contamination is minor and readily explicable. It does not seem to fit the pattern of a medieval provenance. I see no strong arguments against a 1st century provenance. Those who insist that it is medieval need to make a stronger case than any seen to date.

    1. I am glad to see that Daveb realises that cotton contamination is ‘ minor and readily explicable’. Good to have something we can agree on- after all the Oxford lab identified only one cotton fibre in their sample which they were able to remove before the radio- carbon testing. Rogers was misleading in suggesting that there was more than minor contamination , even a reweaving with cotton threads,- especially if he was extrapolating his conclusions to the sample of the Shroud actually tested by Oxford.
      Gilbert Raes gave the good explanation that cotton and flax were often woven and spun in the same workshops and this would explain the presence of fibres. After 1200 there were massive imports of raw cotton to Italy and ,through Marseilles, to other parts of Europe, and so the presence of cotton fibres in some of the skeins of yarn, not necessarily all, depending on where the spinning of each skein took place, suggests a medieval date for the drifting in of the fibres.
      The Cave of the Warrior textiles were woven on ground looms and one of the other textiles found there came from Egypt. At the most we can say the Shroud,if first century, must have been woven on a ground loom, which suggests Egyptian or possibly nomadic Bedouin manufacture- but then you can’t explain why the yarn was not spun in the native way with a S twist. The combination of a ground loom, a three in one herringbone and a Z twist is beyond any probability .
      When the Shroud could easily have been woven on a medieval treadle loom ( so the experts tell me), you are scraping the barrel a bit to find some esoteric loom and weaving process that somehow accounts not only for the Shroud itself in the first century but its miraculous preservation( but I suppose if it were a miraculous creation anyway none of this matters.)

  18. “It does not seem to fit the pattern of a medieval provenance”.

    King, Donald: “Un lino parallelo alla Sindone di Torino”. Approfondimento Sindone, year VI, 2002, (pp. 5-8). / D. King, “A parallel for the linen of the Turin Shroud”, Bulletin du CIETA 67 (1989): 25-27.

    Summary here: (In Italian)

    “The only parallel with the Turin Shroud textile is a piece of cloth kept in the Victoria & Albert Museum, in London, and it is medieval”. A.Lombatti: “The Turin Shroud and Easter stories”, The Bible and Interpretation, April 2012,

  19. It seems likely that the spinning wheel was known in China and Iran during the 11th century. It was known in Europe by the 14th century but did not come into general use there until later. In France it seems that the distaff and spindle were not displaced until the mid-18th century. If the Shroud is of Middle East or oriental origin, it is unlikely to be medieval. There is no cotton in the main cloth, Raes found cotton in one of his samples but not the other. The main weave could not have been carried out in a workshop where there was also cotton present, else there would be more cotton contamination. The reasonable conclusion would have to be that the cotton has arisen from some subsequent repair. If Oxford found cotton, they were dealing with a repaired section of the cloth which cannot be considered representative of the whole.

    As yet I see no strong argument against a 1st century provenance, regardless of the place of origin, which for all we know might be anywhere, allowing that trade caravans have always been common from ancient times. Pollen samples and aragonite limestone contamination make a case for it having been present in Jerusalem.

    1. The Z twist suggests that it is NOT of Middle East or oriental origin. If the cotton came in during the spinning then some skeins ( as distinguished by the banding)might have It and others not depending on the workshop where the,y were spun before being gathered for the weave. However remember that Raes thought that ‘his’ cotton came from a loom used for cotton weaving. This would mean that as you went away from the loom you would not find any cotton – after all Oxford only found one fibre. Does anyone here claim that there was other cotton in the Oxford sample that was missed by the lab?
      A surviving linen cloth of this width and length and with this pattern is so much more likely to be the product of a medieval treadle loom than any alternative that the onus is on those who think it is first century to revise some more sophisticated evidence to support their claim.

      1. If cotton in weave -> Shroud was fabricated in Middle East or Orient;
        If cotton not in weave -> sample is a repair.
        Agreed all Egyptian weaves found appear to be S twist. Z twist has been found elsewhere in ME, whether originating there or imported. Ergo does not exclude Shroud being in Jerusalem in 1st century.

      2. “Does anyone here claim that there was other cotton in the Oxford sample that was missed by the lab?”

        Yes, it is truly possible.

        I know that it is difficult to understand.
        But, I have personally seen that.

        Click to access thibaultr7part1.pdf

        When I looked at Raes#7 for the first time with my microscope, I could not see cotton fibers.
        Raes#7 appeared to be entirely made of flax

        It was only when I decided to “dissect” this piece that I found many cotton fibers mixed with flax fibers.
        Most of the cotton fibers were at the surface of the thread but some of them were also found in the core of the thread, eliminating a ‘contamination’.

        Oxford did not make this kind of analysis.

        My own findings are truly consistent with Rogers’s findings.

  20. “As yet I see no strong argument against a 1st century provenance, regardless of the place of origin, which for all we know might be anywhere, allowing that trade caravans have always been common from ancient times. Pollen samples and aragonite limestone contamination make a case for it having been present in Jerusalem.”

    Caravanas comerciales (“trade caravans”)…… y comercio marítimo.

    Herodes importó desde Pozzuoli (ITALIA) 17.000 m3 de puzolana, ceniza volcánica procedente del Vesubio, para fabricar el “cemento puzolánico” utilizado en la construcción del Sebastos Harbor, el mayor puerto artificial construido en el mar abierto y puerto de la ciudad Cesarea Marítima, que rivalizó con el puerto de Alejandría.


    1. Thank you Carlos. My knowledge of the Romance languages is confined to Latin, but I can follow your explanation quite clearly. I had heard about Herod’s use of underwater concrete at Caesarea, as it has been of professional interest. I had not known he had imported the pozzolan from as far away as Vesuvius. My own use of under-water concrete was in bridge foundation cylinders in the gravels of NZ rivers. It was achieved by pouring the concrete down a canvas “elephant’s trunk”. It confirms the common use of trade caravans, even for the case of bulk commodities such as cement.

  21. David Mo:

    Sure. The weavers of the Turin Shroud found the time machine of H.G. Wells and went back six millenniums to bring the cloth of a warrior chief.

    But the cloth of the Cave of Warrior was woven in plain weave and S yarns.

    What a pity!

    Yeah, you always find a problem, even where it is only apparent. You won’t be content until someone finds 1st century 4×1 meter size linen herringbone 3:1 Z-spun cloth from the 1st century Palestine. Until then you will always be complaining that “archeological record disproves authenticity of the Shroud of Turin”. But your demands are obviously vritualy impossible to satisfy in practice, not because such cloths didn’t exist, but because there were very rare.

    Everyone agrees that the Shroud is unique, one of its kind. In either ancient and medieval times there is no second like that. But it shows nothing. All elements (Z-spun, 3:1, linen, size etc.) were possible to perform in antiquity, and the cloth could have been used in 1st century Palestine.

    “The only parallel with the Turin Shroud textile is a piece of cloth kept in the Victoria & Albert Museum, in London, and it is medieval”. A.Lombatti: “The Turin Shroud and Easter stories”, The Bible and Interpretation, April 2012,

    Yes. We have discussed this many times.

    A REPORT BY JOHN TYRER, BSTS Newsletter No. 27

    Click to access n27part5.pdf

    In summary I am of the opinion that the sample of fabric No. 7027-1860 housed in the
    Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is not a candidate for a parallel to the fabric of the
    Turin Shroud.

    Thus, using the same “argumentation” as Lombatti we can conclude that the Shroud of Turin cannot be medieval. It also cannot be ancient. Thus it seems that the Shroud does not exist at all.

    1. In his brief report, Tyrer find a single differential feature of the fabric: the density per cm2, In other aspects, the fabric is similar to the fabric of Turin. This can not be said of “similar” tissues found in Palestine. In particular in Masada or the wool of Akeldama.

      Vivaldi could have written a sonata in the dodecaphonic style. Yes, it is possible. But History is not built with vague possibilities but with facts that form patterns of regularities.

      Linen, 3:1 herringbone and Z-spun is not characteristic of Palestine fabrics. But there is a similar fabric in Victoria and Albert Museum. Full stop.

    2. Lombatti is clearly hostile in his approach, and would therefore seem to be unreliable.
      Tyrer comments that V & A artefact is “reputed” to be 14th century. It has been treated by the so-called French “resist” method, to assist in dyeing, it is patterned with images of birds etc. The warp and weft threads are fewer in number than on the Raes samples, and the yarn is coarser. The Shroud has not been treated using the French “resist” method, there is no decorative pattern, and the Shroud is a finer product. Tyrer considers the cloths are dissimilar. I am unaware of whether or not the V & A cloth has been radiocarbon-dated, or whether it has been tested for pollens or aragonite limestone.

      Whether 3:1 herringbone, Z spun is characteristic of 1st century Palestine or not is irrelevant, in view of trade caravans. The Persians were well-advanced in making large carpets of intricate design by the 5th c. BCE. The Pazyryk carpet is of intricate design, is 2.8m x 2.0m, and dates to 5th c. BCE. If Iranians could produce intricate designs of such size in 5th c. BCE presumably in wool, then anyone else can produce a 3:1 herring-bone weave, 4.0m x 2.0m, Z twist, 1st c. in linen. A doddle, which stretches no-one’s credibility!

      1. Daveb:

        We are speaking about the weave techniques. If painted or not is irrelevant from our discussion. I insist: the only difference between the fabric of the Victoria&Albert museum and the Shroud is the density of the yarns. Have you any specific doubt about the dating of the former or you are only employing the tactic of suspicion?

        Again and again: History is not made with mere possibilities. We can know if the trade of clothes between Asia and Palestine had brought fabrics similar to the Shroud when some remains are found. We know archaeological remains of Mediterranean fabrics imported to Palestine, but nothing similar to the Shroud. These are the facts. Making novels is another thing.

        When a similar fabric to the Shroud will be found in Palestine we could maintain the possibility that it was from the 1rst century. Now, we ought to say that the fabric seems medieval and not Palestinian. You can say that this is not an absolute proof and you will be right. In History there are not many absolute proofs. Only proofs.

        1. Well said, DavidM. It’s just one verbal smokescreen after another on this site, with daveb being a chief offender. I’d have posted an apt cartoon of a verbal smokescreen to better convey the point, except I’m now banned from posting cartoons. I’ll maybe try to find one for my own site.

        2. David Mo:

          In his brief report, Tyrer find a single differential feature of the fabric: the density per cm2, In other aspects, the fabric is similar to the fabric of Turin. This can not be said of “similar” tissues found in Palestine. In particular in Masada or the wool of Akeldama.

          This is not the only difference, besides the fabric is much smaller than 4×1 meter. So the cloth is different, and Tyrer concludes it cannot be parallel to the Shroud.

          What Lombatti and you do , is not valid argumentation but simply a primitve sociotechnique. You are applying double standards.

          The cloths from Palmyria, Masada, Akeldama etc. have some similarities with the Shroud, as well as diferences. And so medival cloths like those from V&A.

          The point for pro-authenticty is to show that the presence of the Shroud in 1st century Palestine was possible from technical and historical point of view. So they point to the similar features in other cloths of that period (even if other features were different), proving that the Shroud was technically possible to be produced in that period.

          On the contrary, the sceptics use double standards. No other cloth, whether ancient or medieval is identical to the Shroud. But when talking about ancient cloths, sceptics underline differences, while talking about medieval they stress similarities with the Shroud.

          This is clearly a manipulation.

          But History is not built with vague possibilities but with facts that form patterns of regularities.

          Pattern on a single specimen! LOL!!! Only rationalists and Shroud sceptics could have invented that!

  22. An image search under ‘verbal smokescreen’ quickly turned up a graphic under “OBFUSCATION”. Turning that into a posting with a choice example of obfuscation from this site (daveb, who else?) was just a 10 minute job.

    Nope. I’m not “trying to destroy this site”, Thibault Heimburger, far from it (I wish it well). But neither am I letting folk here think they can get away with destroying each new non-authenticity-supporting idea with their oh-so-suffocatingly superior blather and obfuscation.

    TH too needs to respond meaningfully to criticism of his pdfs, notably his duff claims that there can be no subtle tone gradations in a scorch imprint, or that it’s impossible to produce superficial images in which just a few fibres in a thread are scorched, or that faint scorch imprints do not respond to 3D rendering. All three of those claims are WRONG as I’ve demonstrated and reported (and am still waiting for a proper response, better still withdrawal, especially from wiki).

  23. The most significant issue is that early Christians did not collect relics any more than Protestants do today. It was a contested area even in the fourth century, when relics were first accepted as a legitimate means of worshipping Christ, as it was contested in the iconoclasm era and at the Reformation. The idea of an artefact through which one could access Christ/God is only valid in some Christian traditions and abhorred in others. In the early Christian era it was simply not an issue- these were Jews,of course,in the earliest days. At the Protestant Reformation they simply burned the lot. So why would they have saved the burial shroud that we do know of course, once existed in the first century?
    There are, as David Mo points out, immense difficulties in understanding how a linen of this size and weave and Z spin might have been around in Judaea in the first century to be used at short notice to wrap a body. So immense to my mind as to be beyond realistic probability. Even more difficult to understand is how a cloth such as this would have survived in this condition outside an Egyptian tomb. We only have a tiny, tiny proportion of medieval linens surviving compared to the number we know from inventories to have existed in churches and as wall hangings in home. There is not a single medieval English painted linen still in existence. The trouble was that the painted surface disintegrated all too easily and the linen was thrown away if damp or fire had not got there first. So the problems of keeping a linen in good condition in damp areas for hundreds of years more is again beyond realistic probability. Two improbabilities multiplied together make the odds very long indeed.
    Historians simply have to make judgements. When experts in weaving tell me that the Shroud is a typical weave of a medieval treadle loom, I don’t take this as an absolute fact but I see no reason to dispute that expert opinion as there are no realistic alternatives.
    So gradually by eliminating improbabilities and imaginative solutions, one comes to a reasonable conclusion that is held until some evidence, ideally a first century carbon-14 date will do it, comes up to contradict it. As it is clear that a burial shroud of Christ did once exist, I shall be as interested as anyone if it is found, just as I would be if one of the large tomb blocking stones that still exist in Jerusalem is shown to be the one that closed Jesus’ tomb. That probably really does still survive in Jerusalem if only we could spot which one it is! It is said that the stone on which he was laid out, another likely survivor as it could hardly disintegrate or succumb to damp, was taken to Constantinople in the fourth or fifth century!

    I am not sure why the Shroud is talked about as if it were the greatest relic of all when all relic lists which have a hierarchy in them put pieces of the True Cross (the only relic of the Passion given a public showing each year in Constantinople), the Crown of Thorns (grabbed ,of course, by Louis IX for his Sainte-Chapelle) and, from the fourteenth century, the blood of Christ, higher up on the list than any burial shroud or sudarium.

  24. I have been an expert in a few specialties in my time, I have worked with experts, and I know about experts. They are fine for informing about little known information and for giving expert opinions, but you never put them in charge of anything as they are so narrowly focused that they don’t see the big picture.

    An expert demands to see an exact replica of a cloth, most of which have long since perished and no longer exist if they ever did, or the remains of a particular type of treadle loom, as if that were the only way of creating the cloth, or else specific references in historically proven documents which he can tease to pieces and if it suits him show to be false. Any history of court cases will show any number of occasions when experts have contradictory opinions. It is an attorney’s joy to find an expert that will support his client’s case, as it is his opponent’s. Thankfully we don’t rely on experts for verdicts in court cases.

    The generalist on the other hand sees an exceedingly complex weave in a carpet of comparable size originating within a 1000 km of Jerusalem, some 500 years beforehand, but it is discovered in a Scythian prince’s grave in Siberia. If that is possible, then it is no less possible that a 3:1 herring bone weave in linen, less complex than any Persian carpet, should be available in 1st century Jerusalem, no matter how it originated, nor how it arrived there. That is not writing a novel, but it is facing the reality of true possibilities.

    There are 2nd century and later apocrypha referring to the keeping of the burial cloths, and it needs no relic cult to find a reason for their being so kept. There are sporadic references throughout the first millenium, and there are clues as to their having full body images. How otherwise could iconoclastic Byzantines develop the very concept of crucifixes, icons of the Man of Sorrows, or those of Pantocrator type, let alone epitaphioi?

  25. “When experts in weaving tell me that the Shroud is a typical weave of a medieval treadle loom…” Who is the leading medieval weaving specialist? I should like to contact him/her.

    I find myself tossed about in complete indecision on this point. It seems clear that a Z-spun, 25-35 thread per cm, 3/1 chevron herringbone twill, with 50 or so threads per series, in linen, is vanishingly rare and possibly unique in history except for material woven in the 20th/21st century in specific imitation of the Shroud. Like the head-to-head double image, which lacks either artistic or archaeological context, the weave of the Shroud seems to lack technological context. We can laugh, but OK is correct in supposing that by sticking to these precise criteria, the Shroud clearly does not exist at all! So what to do?

    We have to loosen our parameters, I believe. By letting go of some of the details above, we may find cloths which, although not identical, at least bear some comparison. The V&A fragment shows at least some of the Shroud’s characteristics, and it may be that some early Egyptian fabrics show others. Indian silks may show still others. I don’t think any of these can be rejected simply because they are not identical.

    I think that is as far as I can go without the advice of someone with an extensive experience of medieval or 1st Century (preferably both) weaving, who can come to a decision of their own, and explain why they have done so, and why they reject the alternative. An expert, in fact. Anyone know any?

    1. Hugh:

      “We can laugh, but OK is correct in supposing that by sticking to these precise criteria, the Shroud clearly does not exist at all! So what to do?”

      We can laugh, but not because that. The pattern: not textiles with the basic features of the Shroud in Palestine 1rst century. The fact: one instance of a similar fabric in the Middle Ages. Let everyone draw their conclusions.

      When some similar copies of the Shroud are presented the sindonists require an identical copy of the shroud, even on a microscopic level! When we ask for a fabric of the first century with similar basic features they say we are too tough. Yes, we can laugh.

  26. Hugh, you need to look at journals such as, among those I have been put onto, Archaeological Textiles Newsletter and Medieval Textiles. It was in the latter (June 2001) that had Charles Kightly’s article about painted wall hangings in medieval York that had a lot of information about how quickly painted linens disintegrate and the kinds of images that they had. I was also put onto the work of Martin Ciszuk- though i have no idea where he is to be found- as he has done a great deal of work on Roman patterned textiles. And there is nothing like accessing the textiles section of the Masada excavation reports if you want a full study of typical first century textiles from Judaea.
    And do some work on treadle looms and linen weaving- concentrate especially on the width issue as 113-4 cms seems fairly typical-it corresponds to the medieval English ell and is the same width as the linen strips that make up the Zittau veil. The treadle loom seems to be number one choice when someone looks at the dimensions of the Shroud.
    So lots to be getting on with!
    But the Cambridge History of Western Textiles has articles by most of the big names like John Peter Wild- it does concentrate on weaves rather than painted linens though. The Fabric of Images is good on the painting.
    As usual academics mention the Shroud only in passing which is a pity.

    1. And Daveb is right in suggesting that the Shroud is not that complex- there is nothing difficult in putting a thread under one thread and over the next three and then starting the next one with the under thread one across from the thread below to create the herringbone- it is just painstaking work- which is perhaps why it was seldom done – it gives a better impression with damasks and, as I have been told, church vestments such as the V and A textile. 3 in one is used by weavers today for vestments.

  27. If I recall correctly, the idea has been floated around that the Shroud may have been procured hastily from material used to construct high priest’s garments or curtains in the temple. I believe I first heard about this from Russ or it have been Max in post # 33/350 in a single discussion series. Does anyone know anything more about this, that is: was linen, 3:1 herringbone weave, Z twist used in other aspects of early Jewish culture?

  28. Adrie van der Hoeven is the champion of the ‘priestly garment’ following. Her articles are very detailed and well worth reading.

  29. Hugh,

    Thanks-I have that one-I am impressed by her thoroughness & detail. Was wondering if other examples were known-the specifications for Jewish priest’s attire & decoration of the temple were quite specific-this would indicate fabric having such characteristics was present in the area, at the time period

  30. The Turin Shroud as John Mark’s temple garment
    A. A.M. van der Hoeven,, October 14, 2011

    As Kelly states, Adrie makes a good credible case together with a plausible story for the Shroud having been a type of temple garment. I was in touch with Adrie a few months ago, when she graciously contacted me. One problem for many will be her associating the authors of the first and fourth gospels as being the same person, viz John Mark. There is no tradition for the authors being the same person, and likely NT scholars would see valid objections to it. So we differ on that aspect, but I don’t see that necessarily derogates from the Shroud having been a temple garment. It might just as well have been the garment worn by Joseph of Arimathea, or even his own intended shroud.

    Plain shrouds for burial did not become obligatory until the 2nd century under Gamaliel II, who objected to the excesses of luxuriant funerals, which sometimes resulted in pauperising families. I see no reference to herring-bone weave, Z twist in her paper as being any kind of requirement. Her biblical references as to requirements include Ex 28:5-6, Nu 15:38. Other related papers can be found on her web-site above.

    Significant that white linen garments are frequently mentioned in both the OT and NT, so there must have been some degree of active production of them. The inventiveness and enterprise of artisans, weavers and merchants for producing exceptional or special quality products of any genre is a common enough feature of any market-place. Joseph is said to have been a rich man, and this might account for no other comparable linen cloths of similar weave being discovered. The temple veil is said to have been torn in two as a result of an earthquake; whether Joseph or Nicodemus had access to its remnants is an intriguing speculation.

    1. On checking web-site “The Tabernacle Place”, the veil in the wilderness tabernacle is said to have been: “This curtain, known as the “veil,” was made of fine linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn. There were figures of cherubim (angels) embroidered onto it.” Clearly there is no embroidery on the Shroud.

      Further on it describes the veil in the second temple: “The Jerusalem temple, a replica of the wilderness tabernacle, had a curtain that was about 60 feet in height, 30 feet in width and four inches thick.” Those are remarkable dimensions if correctly reported. It beggars belief that it could have been woven in one piece, and I’d presume it was made up of stitched segments. If indeed it was a replica, then presumably it was of linen, but how it could have been four inches thick seems a puzzle, unless it was padded, but there might be objections to that if it involved two kinds of material.

      It does indicate that large linen cloths were likely available, but I’d doubt that the TS was made from remnants of the temple veil, particularly if they were embroidered.

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