Charles Freeman, in a comment, reacts to the the first sentence in the description of the new book by Giulio Fanti and Pierandrea Malfi which reads, “The Turin Shroud is the most important and studied relic in the world.”
… We often seem to read this but there has been actually a great deal more intensive research directly on the fabric and images ( writings,inks,etc,) of the Dead Sea Scrolls than of the Shroud and it has been undertaken by top- level specialists in the relative disciplines. As the recent report on the Scrolls in Minerva, the international journal of art and archaeology, noted’ no other set of documents has been subjected to so many analytical techniques’. The main difference ,of course, is that the Scrolls, after a poor start, have been open to direct specialist examination with increasingly sophisticated equipment.
I would certainly argue that we have learned more from the Scrolls than we have from the Shroud.
And, if I remember correctly, Bill Meacham once told me that he thought that Ötzi, the Hauslabjoch Iceman Mummy – was it that or something else – may be the most studied historical artifact.
Okay, point taken. But then again, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ötzi are not exactly relics if we insist on being precise. But then again we often hear that the shroud is the most studied artifact in history and maybe that isn’t so.