Techno-Science and the Shroud

imageThe latest National Catholic Register has an article by Fr. Dwight Longenecker on the history of the shroud’s “techno-scientific” era: Pia to now.

A reader who tipped me off to this article wrote, “I wouldn’t put it this way. In my opinion, there is a lot to doubt about the existing carbon 14 dating and any conclusions….”

I wouldn’t put it this way, either. The article is well written but some statements are in need of some serious editing. Can you spot the issues here?

The shroud lay virtually unknown for 1,900 years and would have been dismissed as a grubby medieval forgery if it hadn’t been for the advances of modern technoscience.


Shroud believers suggested that the fire that nearly destroyed the shroud in 1532 could have affected the carbon-14 dating, and closer examination revealed that the area from which the linen was taken for testing was not only the area handled by those displaying the shroud over the centuries, but it had been repaired by almost invisible interweaving in the 14th century.


Then, in 2012, an Italian academic who had been studying the mystery of the shroud for years released what seems to be the best theory to explain the shroud’s image. Giulio Fanti, an Italian professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, reports that the only technique to come close to reproducing the image on the shroud is ultraviolet radiation.

This blog has extensively covered the writings of Fr. Longenecker.

7 thoughts on “Techno-Science and the Shroud”

  1. ‘The Shroud lay virtually unknown for 1,900 years’. Clearly the writer has not read John Beldon Scott’s Architecture for the Shroud which details the many expositions of the Shroud,especially in the seventeenth century, some of which attracted 70,000 observers.Then there was the grand chapel built for it by Guerino Gaurini and opened in 1694. Hardly unknown!

  2. The claims made by any single investigator are of very little value, and too many of the claims have not been corroborated, nor given peer review. Only those claims can be accepted which have been independently corroborated. Giulio Fanti’s claim that UV radiation is the only technique that comes close to reproducing the image have not been so corroborated.

    As for the C14 radiocarbon testing, it was from a single grab sample from a highly suspect area of the cloth and no other type of testing whatsoever (textile inspection or testing, chemical, physical, palynology, or microscopic examination) by those most fitted (STURP) were at all permitted! The nature of the sample could be anything!

  3. “…Giulio Fanti’s claim that UV radiation is the only technique that comes close to reproducing the image have not been so corroborated. …”

    Eng. Fanti never claimed that.
    You are wrong.
    Dr. Di Lazzaro used VUV (vacuum UV).
    So, I hope you’ll want to be more exact in your writings.
    Perhaps you wanted to write:
    “Giulio Fanti’s claimed that Corona Discharge effects…”
    “Giulio Fanti’s claimed that Corona Discharge and UV effects…”
    (because he indicated us something similar the “brilliant Body of Resurrected Jesus” that passed through the linen cloth, something similar the Jackson’s hypothesis…).
    Here Particular References:

    1- “Forces of the Quantum Vacuum”
    An Introduction to Casimir Physics
    Edited by: William M R Simpson
    (The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel),
    Ulf Leonhardt (The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel)


    >Forces of the Quantum Vacuum presents a number of
    theoretical approaches to Casimir, van der Waals and Casimir–Polder
    forces that have been fruitfully employed in mainstream research,
    and also reviews the experimental evidence for Casimir forces. … etc. …

    2- “Quantum vacuum energies and Casimir forces between
    partially transparent δ-function plates”
    J. M. Muñoz Castañeda, J. Mateos Guilarte, and A. Moreno Mosquera
    Phys. Rev. D 87, 105020 – Published 29 May 2013


    3- “Giant vacuum forces via transmission lines”
    Ephraim Shahmoona, Igor Mazetsb, and Gershon Kurizkia

    An excerpt from the abstract:
    >Quantum electromagnetic fluctuations induce forces between neutral particles,
    known as the van der Waals and Casimir interactions.
    >These fundamental forces, mediated by virtual photons from the vacuum,
    play an important role in basic physics and chemistry and in emerging technologies involving, e.g., microelectromechanical systems or quantum information processing.
    >Here we show that these interactions can be enhanced
    by many orders of magnitude upon changing the character
    of the mediating vacuum modes. … etc. …


    4- Quantum Vacuum Forces Project
    >A project, sponsored by NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program,
    to study ways of influencing the energy density of the quantum vacuum
    with a view to possible applications in spacecraft propulsion.
    >It is being conducted by a team of scientists from various academic
    and corporate institutions in the United States and Mexico.


    5- Quantum energy teleportation.

    >Quantum energy teleportation, a hypothesis first put forward
    by Japanese physicist Masahiro Hotta of Tohoku University,
    proposes that it may be possible to teleport energy by exploiting
    quantum energy fluctuations of an entangled vacuum state of
    a quantum field…


    Click to access extended-version-qet-review.pdf

    Perhaps there is an interesting possibility to write a new novel based on a
    “Black Order of Templar Knights” (…an evocation received by an unknown
    ET civilization who decided to mock our own World, producing the famous
    and presumed textile fake) that “presumably produced that Image” [included
    a chapter on explanations about the lack of investigations into the exact
    level of sophisticated textile attack to our Christian civilization… !]
    Or: A case of Applied “Quantum energy teleportation” (= QET).

    But this Science-Fiction seems to be far from our normal
    Scientific knowledges about the Shroud!
    >The 2006 James Rollins novel “Black Order” discusses
    suspected zero-point energy research by the German military
    during the Second World War…

    Instead in 2013 Fanti, Baraldi, Basso, Tinti,
    published their work about
    “non-destructive dating of ancient flax textiles”
    on “Vibrational Spectroscopy”.

    1. I don’t know what exactly happened yesterday.
      The text is a text composed by me, but it is an incomplete reasoning…
      In fact I was trying to write the text of a message, but the computer
      was then locked and so I had to turn it off and then back on …
      — —
      Instead regarding the argument “Cosmology”,
      here is what I can now add:
      “New model of cosmic stickiness favors “Big Rip” demise of universe”.


      >…According to the scientists, the results of their
      pen-and-paper analyses of this new formulation for
      relativistic viscosity are quite promising but a much deeper
      analysis must be carried out to determine its viability.
      >The only way to do this is to use powerful computers
      to analyze the complex equations numerically.
      >In this fashion the scientists can make predictions that
      can be compared with experiment and observation. …

      But this interesting cosmological speech does not seem
      to have anything to do (in a direct manner) with the formation
      of the Image on the Shroud cloth.

      In fact I just wanted to point out the possibility
      (more or less remote, depending on your point of view…)
      that physical forces hitherto little known or even unknown (!? !!)
      may have created the particular image on linen cloth.
      — —
      The other point to deepen:
      ATR and Raman spectroscopy.

      Some reference:

      1- “Application of an ATR Method in Raman Spectroscopy”
      M. Futamata, P. Borthen, J. Thomassen, D. Schumacher, and A. Otto
      published in:
      Applied Spectroscopy Vol. 48,
      Issue 2, pp. 252-260 (1994)

      >The attenuated total reflection (ATR) method in a prism/gap/metal
      configuration was used in Raman spectroscopy of molecules adsorbed
      on silver to improve the detection limit. … …


      2- Advances in Instrumentation and Techniques – Advances in Visualizing Tissue Chemistry at the Cellular Level Using Infrared and Raman Microspectroscopy and Imaging
      Attenuated Total Internal Reflection (ATR) Raman Microspectroscopy
      L. G. Tisinger and A. J. Sommer

      published in:
      Microscopy and Microanalysis, Volume 10
      Supplement S02 / August 2004, pp 1318-1319
      Copyright © 2004 Microscopy Society of America


      3 – Near-Infrared Attenuated Total Reflection Raman Spectroscopy for Polymer Surface Observation
      by Fumihiko Ishizaki and Munsok Kim
      Japanese Journal of Applied Physics Volume 47 Number 3R
      2008 Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. 47
      Published 14 March 2008

      > We first constructed an apparatus for near-infrared
      attenuated total reflection Raman (ATR-Raman) spectroscopy
      and measured fluorescent polymer surfaces with
      near-infrared excitation.
      >Near-infrared ATR-Raman spectra were observed
      without the aid of multiple reflections, resonance Raman effects,
      or surface-enhanced Raman effects.
      >The usefulness of the constructed apparatus was evaluated
      by measuring the 130-nm-thick top layer of a layered polymer film.
      >The incident-angle dependence of ATR-Raman intensity was
      analyzed based on a theory about the optical electric field at
      the interface between the prism and the top layer.
      >We also observed the ATR-Raman spectra of an
      industrial fluorescent polymer film.

      Copyright by
      The Japan Society of Applied Physics


      Another way: ATR-SNOM-Raman spectroscopy
      on thin layers on linen fibrils (= hypothesis for BIF investigations)…

      1a – ATR-SNOM-Raman spectroscopy
      by M. Futamata, A. Bruckbauer

      Chemical Physics Letters
      Volume 341, Issues 5–6, 29 June 2001, Pages 425–430

      Here a short excerpt from the abstract:
      >In this study, an ATR-SNOM-Raman equipment was built
      to obtain topography and SNOM images simultaneously,
      Raman spectra from copper phthalocyanine (CuPc) were
      obtained with 600 s without using the resonance effect … …


      1b – ATR-SNOM-Raman spectroscopy

  4. If I am right cellulose degradation (see also:
    cellulosic degree of depolimerization) has nothing to do
    with Image Formation Process …

    At least: we have not yet well investigated this question
    (using AFM controls or AFM-Raman [or ATR-Raman
    spectroscopy, etc.] on presumed radiation effects,
    Corona Discharge effects, etc.)…

    Cellulose degradation is connected to aging (mechanical
    or physical-chemical aging…)…

    1. I wrote (another time) in a very approximate and
      rough manner, like a sort of fanciful “Rogers-believer”…
      Dr. Ray Rogers showed us several images of linen samples and
      also underlined that cellulose crystals are good radiation detectors …
      But this fact was not similar to a systematic mapping of the Shroud
      or a deep investigation (using AFM, CFM, AFM-Raman, ATR-FTIR, etc.)
      about linen fibrils already taken from the TS and safely kept inTurin…
      So, you have not to believe (in a blind manner) what I wrote yesterday….
      The possible generic solution was indicated several years ago (in 1998), but one thing is to indicate a way … and another thing is to be able to persuade some Laboratory to work in a good manner… and that is particularly true if one cannot pay the inherent work!

      It’s a bad thing to discourage the attempts to further investigate
      linen materials coming from the Shroud.
      But I wouldn’t to see “people that went back home empty-handed”…
      What do you want that happens? …this kind of scenario?
      B.T.W.: In the past I have bought the CD about the interesting
      “Rogers-Zugibe collection” [digitized and archived by Barrie Schwortz, 2003],
      but there was not included a decent set of comments (for that collection).
      Have you an interesting or useful answer?

      Those pictures, although very interesting, do not have the level
      of resolution needed to deepen the key issues
      relating to two main questions:
      – Degree of antiquity of that particular textile material.
      – Possible origin of the Imprint of the Body, on that famous linen.

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