Radiocarbon Dating of the Turin Shroud: New Evidence from Raw Data

image.pngHat tip to Joe Marino for spotting this. The following was published yesterday, March 22, 2019, in Archaeometry, a Wiley publication. If you don’t have institutional access you can have access for 48 hours for $7.00, print-restricted online access for $16.50 or full PDF rights for $42.00.

Link:  Radiocarbon Dating of the Turin Shroud: New Evidence from Raw Data © Oxford University 2019

Abstract: In 1988, three laboratories performed a radiocarbon analysis of the Turin Shroud. The results, which were centralized by the British Museum and published in Nature in 1989, provided ‘conclusive evidence’ of the medieval origin of the artefact. However, the raw data were never released by the institutions. In 2017, in response to a legal request, all raw data kept by the British Museum were made accessible. A statistical analysis of the Nature article and the raw data strongly suggests that homogeneity is lacking in the data and that the procedure should be reconsidered.

Authors: T. CASABIANCA† Ajaccio 20000, France E. MARINELLI Collegamento pro Sindone, Rome, Italy G. PERNAGALLO Department of Economics and Business, University of Catania, Corso Italia 55, 95129 Catania CT, Italy and B. TORRISI Department of Economics and Business, University of Catania, Corso Italia 55, 95129 Catania CT, Italy

Fair Use Quote: A telling tidbit from page 6 of 9:

The same rationale applies to the intra-laboratory differences. We also computed the Ward and Wilson test for the raw radiocarbon dates of Arizona, and in both cases (raw 1 and raw 2), the null hypothesis was rejected. Using OxCal for Arizona Raw 2, the overall agreement index (34.6%) is below the threshold (with 12.8% for A3 and 43.0% for A6), whereas for Arizona Raw 1 the overall agreement index is lower (21.4%). Based on these results, a relevant problem emerges in the consistency between the Arizona raw radiocarbon dates and the published results from the other laboratories.

Ah, something that makes sense published in a real scientific journal.

37 thoughts on “Radiocarbon Dating of the Turin Shroud: New Evidence from Raw Data”

  1. How the whole Shroud dating issue should be properly cited in scientific literature:

    The dating of the Shroud:

    The sample from the corner of TS has been carbon-dated by Damon et al. [1989], resulting
    in age 1260-1390. However, this result has been disputed recently. Rogers [2005] compared
    the properties of fibers from the dated corner with those from other areas of the Shroud,
    pointing to the significant chemical differences, suggesting that the sample dated originated from repaired area with interpolated material. This has been further corroborated by Benford and Marino [2008]. Riani et al. [2013] performed statistical analysis of Damon et al. [1989] results, pointing to the high probability that the results were not homogeneous. New, alternative dating techniques developed by Fanti et al. [2013] suggest much earlier age for the creation of TS, 90 CE+/-200 years [Fanti et al., 2015], 279 CE+/-216 years [Basso et al., 2015].


    Basso, R., Fanti, G., and Malfi, P. (2015). Monte carlo method applied to the mechanical
    dating of the turin shroud. MATEC Web of Conferences, 36:01003.

    Benford, M. S. and Marino, J. G. (2008). Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the
    turin shroud. Chemistry Today, 26(4):4-12.

    Damon, P. E., Donahue, D. J., Gore, B. H., Hatheway, A. L., Jull, A. J. T., Linick, T. W.,
    Sercel, P. J., Toolin, L. J., Bronk, C. R., Hall, E. T., Hedges, R. E. M., Housley, R., Law, I. A.,
    Perry, C., Bonani, G., Trumbore, S., Woeli, W., Ambers, J. C., Bowman, S. G. E., Leese,
    M. N., and Tite, M. S. (1989). Radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin. , 337:611-615.

    Fanti, G., Baraldi, P., Basso, R., and Tinti, A. (2013). Non-destructive dating of ancient
    flax textiles by means of vibrational spectroscopy. Vibrational Spectroscopy, 67:61 – 70.

    Fanti, G., Malfi, P., and Crosilla, F. (2015). Mechanical ond opto-chemical dating of the turin
    shroud. MATEC Web of Conferences, 36:01001.

    Riani, M., Atkinson, A. C., Fanti, G., and Crosilla, F. (2013). Regression analysis with partially
    labelled regressors: carbon dating of the shroud of turin. Statistics and Computing, 23(4):551-561.

    Rogers, R. N. (2005). Studies on the radiocarbon sample from the shroud of turin. Ther-
    mochimica Acta, 425(1):189 – 194.

  2. I suppose it’s no use saying that for me, the most telling sentence is: “Our statistical results do not imply that the medieval hypothesis of the age of the tested sample should be ruled out.”

    1. Dear Hugh, you must have misinterpreted the sentence you quote. The authors are referring only to the “tested sample” itself. They are not talking about the Shroud as a whole. In fact two paragraphs below the statement you quote they state the actual results of their investigation of the data, now for the first time being made available through legal “freedom of information” access. Compliments to Oxford for complying with the “freedom of information” access, by the way. But, without rancor or accusations of malfeasance or fraud, the authors of the paper move gently but firmly to completely trash the conclusions of the 1988 testing. Here is the statement:

      “They (the testing laboratories) used the known locations of the tested samples in each laboratory and showed a significant decrease in the radiocarbon age as one gets closer to the centre of the sheet (Shroud) (in length, from the tested corner). This variability of the Nature radiocarbon dates in a few centimeters, if linearly extrapolated to the opposite side of the TS, would lead to a dating in the future.”

      This paper totally discredits the results of the 1988 radiocarbon dating as related to the entire Shroud. This paper is a PROFOUND game changer . . . after 30 years of critical data tragically being unavailable. The tested sample might be medieval, BUT EVEN THE TESTED SAMPLE IS NOT HOMOGENEOUS. The 1988 result must be discarded unless you believe the Shroud is yet to come into existence in the FUTURE.

      It may take some time for it to sink in and to become widely known to the general public, but the 1988 dating results are simply being set aside.

      I think it is an amazing coincidence that this paper is posted on this blog just three days or so after Dan started reposting. A strange coincidence? But in any case Dan, thank you. Your timing is impeccable and I pray your blog is widely accessed as it has been in the past. Bless you.

      1. I fear I disagree. Much is made, quite validly, about the chronological gradient of the sample, which, to my mind, if genuine, is more likely to indicate some kind of very minor contamination, perhaps of an oily nature, and probably of marine or mineral hydrocarbon origin. I accept that another hypothesis is that this gradient can be extrapolated towards the middle of the cloth, making the centre of it date far into the future, but, in the absence of any good reason why it should be so, do not give it credence myself.

        However, the inhomogeneity of the sample is certainly not a game changer. As I said before, it is more like a game clarifier. Had the British Museum co-ordinators known the order of the samples, and hypothesised the gradient, I think their final conclusion would have been even more conclusive, not less

        Although the new paper certainly adds to our knowledge, I do not think it significantly contradicts the Nature paper (although I have written to Tristan Casabianca to confirm one or two things I’m not clear about).

        1. Hi Hugh,
          I would like to send you a private message. Could you send me an e-mail address so that I may do so ? If you don’t want it’s okay.

        2. Inhomogeneity of the sample means that THE sample (in this particular problem) is simply a garbage -for whatever reason (statistics alone does not specify it). You cannot make any valid conclusion based on it.

          The reason maybe some minor surface contamination, that cleaning did not removed -or that the corner has been rewoven, as postulated by Benford & Marino, Rogers, and others. Any extrapolation towards the center of the cloth is pointless, because: 1) linear regression is only first approximation 2) inhomogenity may be not regular.

          As I mentioned in the previous comment, after Fanti & colleagues work, which provided alternative dating -based on different, but scientifically sound (no matter that the precision is +/-200 years -this is enough to spot a clear contradiction with C-14 date) methods, the 1988 C-14 dating is shattered. Either Fanti is right, or C-14 is right (or neither of them). C-14 date has been scientifically challenged in peer-reviewed literature (and not only -there are many good non peer-revieved papers on the matter, which unfortunately, cannot be cited in most peer-reviewed publications). So far, no one has challenged Fanti in proper scientific way.

        3. In other words, let me put example.

          We have a sample of two mammals: me and my dog. On average we have 3 legs. The measured average number of legs of a mammal; is then 3.

          The C-14 measurement of Shroud sample yielded result 1260-1390 (after callibaration). But statistically speaking, one part of the sample is 200 years older than the other. And the probability that this just a statistical error (that is that the obtained results were drawn from inherently imprecise -containing statistical errors -measurements of the homogeneous sample) -the p-value -is unacceptably low.

          This means that if the Shroud had been woven at one time (in, say 1300 AD) -it is very unlikely we would have obtained the results we had. And the hypothesis that the different parts of the Shroud were woven at different times, is absurd. Unless we accept reweave/repair hypothesis. Then 1260 -1390 is like the average number of 3 legs among mammals.

        4. Hugh & others

          Look at the Table at 59th page of this lecture:

          Click to access Datowanie-radiow%C4%99glowe-pdf.pdf

          There are the various (not all that I know are included!) results of various datings of the Shroud and related cloths (Sudarium of Oviedo and the Tunic of Argenteuil) by various methods.

          The numbers are actually a complete mess -almost each result contradicts almost all of the others.

  3. But 2 sentences later it adds “But, as emphasized by Ramsey et al. (2010, 959), ‘the inclusion and exclusion of outliers should not be seen as a black box to cover up poorly understood problems in the data’.”

  4. Statistics (especially when testing for ‘homogeneity’ within data), hardly has us all on the edges of our seats . Yet here we are being asked to pay to see what it has or has not revealed regarding the Linen and its surviving content of C-14!

    Why bother at all with statistics – which is, after all, a separate discipline from science?

    Answer: because it allows conclusions can be inferred regarding an entire ‘population’ derived from taking a sample.

    Yes, in the real world, one generally has to be content with taking mere samples, not supposedly commonsensical “representative” ones but ones taken entirely blind, i.e. hit-and-miss RANDOM ones , then applying “confidence tests” that are based on the supposition of TOTAL randomness of sampling!

    Yes, let’s be in no doubt as to the bottom line where statistical confidence testing is concerned. Random sampling is the ONLY WAY one can have any degree of confidence (NOT absolute certainty) whether low, intermediate or high, in the validity of final conclusions about the population, if based merely selecting small samples.

    So let’s be brutally honest with ourselves, and cease making rods for our own backs: any statistically- sound dating of the Linen would have needed RANDOM samples from the entire linen or at any rate, image and blood-free regions). But we all know that did not and could not happen in the case of a ‘holy icon’ or, as some prefer to believe, authentic relic. So, yes, not surprisingly, the decision was made to restrict sampling to a corner region (that pesky real world intruding yet again!), not a random sample.

    Indeed, the single corner sample was further divided with two further cuts into 3 side-by-side (non-randomly divided/allocated) sections for each of the 3 labs. (That’s as distinct, say from dividing into divided into 30 equal size fragments, distributed at random between 3 labs. So, non-random sampling of the Linen AND non-random division of the single sample! Who’s idea was it to deploy a statistical bulldozer to demolish the 88 dating? Er, let me guess….

    Best then to view the 1988 dating as a preliminary ranging shot.

    Realistically speaking, the primary purpose was NOT to yield a final gold-standard answer. It was to see how PRELIMINARY answers would compare from 3 different, entirely independent labs, each deploying its own preferred decontamination clean-up procedure and other differences. (Yes, a third source of non-homogeneity!).

    So why the intrusion of high falutin data homogeneity tests?

    It’s as if one had purchased an off-the-peg jacket at a cheap department store, then felt obliged to take it back because one’s next door neighbour, working for a made-to-measure outfitters, observed over the garden fence that too much cuff was showing (then presenting a bill for his professional advice)!

    Simple eye-balling of results says that all 3 labs came back with a date somewhere between the mid 13th and late 14th century! That suggests to me that while the non-existent statistical design was less-than-ideal, sob, sob, reflecting the intrusion of extraneous considerations, the actual methodology was reasonably reproducible, probably basically sound. Indeed the answers, even with the modest degree of scatter around mean, were in my humble view remarkably consistent. The ranging shot exercise had served its purpose with minimal disfiguration to the Linen.

    OK, so there were inhomogeneities where data spread was concerned, with the possibility of SMALL but significant numerical trends across the width of that corner sample (but NOT based on random sampling so therefore statistically OTT). But that doesn’t justify a rejection of the entire data, far less the bad-mouthing of the personnel involved, some of it bordering on slander or even libel. What it does suggest is the need for a return visit, 30 years later, with ever-more sensitive methodology, able to deal with single excised threads, say, that doesn’t leave disfiguring gaps in the fabric.

    So why hasn’t there been a return visit? Answer: take a look at the Discussion Forum, led by STURP’s John Jackson in October 2104 at St.Louis.

    Skip the first 20 minutes, then pay especial attention to what’s said either from JJ or the floor between 20 and 30 mins (shame about the poor sound quality). Note the intrusion of the word “dangerous” (like the suggestion that any re-run would “dangerous ” were it to return the same answer, albeit more statistically sound. First priority, we’re informed, must be to determine the scientific basis whereby a 2000 year old linen can seem some 13 centuries younger “than it really is” So listen folks. Let’s not rush into things. Let’s take our time – years, maybe decades… In the meantime we can continue to pour cold water on the 88 dating, largely though not entirely on a failure to snip away anywhere and everywhere all over the Linen.” Yeah, right…

    To which I say: data collection must take precedence, albeit preliminary ranging-shot data first, then checked and re-checked. (It’s called science, tedious, boring, repetitive hands-on science ).

    Interpretation, nitpicking, eye-rolling, tearing hair out in frustration, one’s own or others’, aerial castle-building, rewriting the laws of physics, throwing toys out of pram etc etc … all these can and must wait till later…

    First let’s confirm that the initial data were not a statistical fluke due to possibly atypical sampling location. Are we looking at sampling error? Or are eternal optimists angling for the intervention of a a mind-boggling supernatural phenomenon – based on the claim of shoddy statistics – when statistics were if the truth be told sidelined, indeed ignored from the outset?

    Please, let’s request that Turin consent to a re-run of the C-14 dating before wasting any more time on our internet websites – and especially behind- paywall, reach for your-credit-card statistical print-outs. Let’s cease the never-ending nitpicking over a non-random sample (which rendered number-crunching homogeneity and other significance-testing largely, nay ENTIRELY irrelevant from the word go).

    1. Collin, you forget the comments so soon regarding the issue of retesting. It is only a couple of days ago. Test, test, test . . . yes. But other testing must now be allowed before another go at traditional carbon date testing. If you would agree to that, then we would be on the same page. Best regards.

      And best regards to you Joe Marino.

      1. Sorry, I disagree profoundly, Robert. We are not on the same page. Indeed we are reading from different books. Mine has just one word on the cover|: SCIENCE. (Yours has additional words).

        Science works via an alternation of hypothesis, data, hypothesis, data etc etc.

        The great thing is that one can start from Square 1 with either – hypothesis or data.

        But where’s there’s a start already been made, one has to take a long hard look at where one’s at, and decide what comes next – hypothesis or data.

        We’ve heard the hypotheses regarding one-off radiation, sub-atomic particles etc creating surplus C-14.

        But they do not throw light on the sampling errors previously proposed to account for the Linen seeming “too young”, and the accompanying scorn heaped on the 3 labs and/or the British Museum overseers.

        So the next step MUST BE to repeat the dating with a wider range of sampling sites, if only to see whether the previous estimate of age is confirmed. Then, and only then we can return to hypothesis (whether that includes blue-sky speculation or not|).

        1. Colin, you make a point. Science is a noble and legitimate path to the truth. But science is a process, and a broad multi-disciplinary process, not single thread test based. The truth is the end we are all seeking and different paths can lead to the truth. At this time other testing, that is also scientific in nature, besides just radiocarbon testing, must come first if the truth about the Shroud is to be advanced. No one is suggesting to turn away from sound scientifically based research.

          You must agree, as an honest scientist, that the Shroud custodians essentially have shut down access to the Shroud for scientific research after the 1988 radiocarbon testing results were announced. That, as you MUST also acknowledge has hindered for over 30 years now the scientific quest for the truth about the Shroud. You and Hugh should both now be delighted that true additional scientific studies may in the not too distant future now be permitted. We should all be on the same page for that. But it must be carefully controlled so that the tragic 1988 carbon dating fiasco is not, that is never, repeated.

          Are we on the same page now, or do you still profoundly disagree?

  5. (Aimed at no one in particular, here or elsewhere – merely expressing one’s frustration and despair with those sindonologists fixated with the notion of supernatural agency, forever attempting to rewrite the laws of physics).

    Time for this frontline sceptic, correction, realist, to take a break from the eternal headbanging exercise…

    (KIndly hold off from spotlighting any of my latest new thinking please Dan, whether communicated here or via email).

  6. The results, which were centralized by the British Museum and published in Nature in 1989, provided ‘conclusive evidence’ of the medieval origin of the artefact

    No, it did not. There was fairly conclusive evidence for the medieval origin of the corner strip taken for analysis, certainly, but not for the entire Linen. That still allows for a tentative conclusion that the entire Linen is of medieval origin, but a return visit for collecting a wider, RANDOM range of samples is needed, at least in the radiocarbon-sceptic world in which we live.

    But we now have the bizarre situation in which one group of radiocarbon sceptics invokes sampling from a repair site, declaring the dating to have been botched (while making no attempt to get it repeated) while there’s another that declares that the medieval date is not due to an atypical sample, but to supernatural irradiation of 1st century linen to make it seem 14th. Spokesmen for that second group declared at the 2014 St. Louis conference that it would be “dangerous! to repeat the dating over wider sampling sites, since it might return the same dating. That second group wants us to view it as soberly science-based while it plays its silly games with sub-atomic physics, invoking protons for this, neutrons for that.

    Give it time and it’ll no doubt manage to work electrons and even neutrinos into the story.

    As for those “homogeneity tests” applied to non-random samples, that Archaeometry journal has done both science and statistics a huge disservice in publishing that nonsensical cant.

    One of the authors routinely prefaces her name with “Professor” or merely “Prof”. Apparently it’s the norm in Italy for schoolteachers to adopt that title. Not in the UK, it’s not, which is the location of that Archaeometry journal!

    1. “Give it time and it’ll no doubt manage to work electrons and even neutrinos into the story.”. Surely we can now move on to dark matter and dark energy.
      I saw one enthusiast suggesting the image could have been etched by the body of Christ being instantly converted from matter to energy. My rough calculation was that this would have been an energy release equivalent to 80,000 Hiroshima scale nuclear bombs. I think that would have laid waste to much of the Middle East.

      1. Even if one gave science a brief holiday, and entertained albeit briefly the notion of the resurrectional selfie, there are profound difficulties.

        Top of my list would be the means by which selectivity of action at numerous levels could be assured. How can there selective scorching of linen at the gross level, without simultaneous scorching of hair at the same time (to say nothing of heat-sensitive molecules in blood, skin etc). And what about that so-called half-tone effect, where two linen fibres can exist side by side, one coloured yellow with image chromophore, the other totally uncoloured?

        Both those different types of selectivity (“macro” v “micro”) can be accommodated within shunned models of medieval simulation of the body/blood images onto J of A’s linen, e.g. via my Model 10 (using finely particulate wheat flour as imprinting medium, capable of selective contact/coloration of some fibres, not others) with second stage thermal energy applied only to the imprinted linen, as distinct from the first stage imprinting of the thermolabile subject!

        It’s imaging via self-generated radiation that needs the holiday – a long one – not just weeks, but years, decades, centuries even…

  7. Dear Hugh Farey:

    In relation to radiocarbon dating I would like to know your opinion on Christen, J. (1994). Summarizing a Set of Radiocarbon Determinations: A Robust Approach. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series C (Applied Statistics), 43(3), 489-503.

    Has Tristan Casabianca responded your mail?

    Glad to contact with you again.

  8. Christen used a fairly simple technique of his own to analyse the 12 dates given by the Nature paper on the radiocarbon testing, treating them all as independent, and decided that the oldest and the youngest were outliers. Outliers can be difficult statistical anomalies at the best of times, and deciding whether the two extremes of a range of measurements are outliers is even more contentious. However, once these were eliminated, the others were sufficiently coherent for him to consider them all consistent.

    Riani and Atkinson, however, built on the inconsistency observed by the authors of the Nature paper, and determined a hypothetical chronological gradient along the 4cm or 5cm strip cut into pieces for testing. Although their gradient is statistically satisfying, it is not empirically verifiable, as the 12 pieces upon which they based their results were not recorded in position, and are now, of course, destroyed.

    It is often hoped by authenticists that any anomaly in a set of measurements renders any conclusion worthless, and worse, that by not ‘proving’ the Shroud medieval it is somehow thereby ‘proved’ to be authentic. This is not the case. There is nothing about the inconsistencies in the radiocarbon measurements that contradicts a medieval date, and plenty to refute a first century one.

    I have not been able to clarify the uncertainties in Tristan Casablanca’s article, namely whether in Arizona the eight measurements combined into four actually represent eight different samples, as opposed to four samples each measured twice; and whether in Oxford the five measurements combined into three actually represent five different samples, as opposed to three samples, two of which were measured twice. I am, of course, inclined to the latter in both cases.

    1. Thanks for the answer, Hugh.

      As far as I know — that’s not much — even admitting extreme values, radiocarbon dating doesn’t allow you to get out of the Middle Ages. Only the mathematical possibility of a distortion factor does not imply the invalidation of its results. We need to know a factual possibility. That is to say, which empirical variable could produce a deviation of more than a millennium in the data. Having discarded some spurious proposals -Kuznetsov, bioplastic layer, neutron discharge, etc.-, I only see two candidates: the invisible mending and conspiracy.

      None of them seems too promising.

      1. Of course, the invisible mending is the only viable option -and it has been shown by Rogers. It also explains the statistical deviations, showing that the mean value is actually not trustworthy. Just 3 legs for an average mammal, based on a sample consisting of a human and a dog. The whole corner has been meticulously restored, thread after thread, and then in 1988 it was foolishly cut for a single sample for C-14 dating. And then surprise, we have garbage results.

        The 1988 C-14 datings are today just a history without any scientific value. They are contradicted by numerous other research, both historical and regarded to material dating: Codex Pray, Robert de Clari testimony, Byzantine icons and coins, Sudarium of Oviedo, as well as Rogers vanilin loss estimates, and Fanti et al. alternative datings (based on material from different Shroud areas provided by both Riggi and STURP). The 1988 C-14 has been falsified by other research. That’s how the science works -contrary to the pseudoscientific fantics who accept only the one unreliable result they liked (meidieval C-14 dating due to the wrong sample choice).

  9. I’m always a bit suspicious of anything which is “the only viable” option, even if it agrees with my own thinking, and I’m afraid the invisible mending option doesn’t even do that. Bob Rucker also has the only viable option, and it’s completely different from invisible mending. Stephen Jones also has the only viable option – different again.

    For me, the idea that the corner has been meticulously restored lacks credibility, both technically and contextually.

    Scientific results are not falsified by research into corollaries, that’s not how science works at all. If the research into the corollaries is more compelling than the disputed results, it may call them into further question, which is not the same thing. However, I’m afraid I don’t think any of your suggestions (Pray Codex, etc.) are compelling.

    I’m also a little wary of people who use the word “pseudo-science”. Although you may be the exception, nine times out of ten it clearly means “any thinking that diagrees with mine” and suggests that the user has no idea what he’s talking about.

    1. Hi Hugh,
      If I remember well you even contacted a company that proposes “invisible mending” , asked them to do some mending and was not at all impressed with the results afterwards?

      1. You remember correctly.
        A Play….

        Authenticist, who has never seen invisible mending: “There’s an invisible mend.”
        Me: “There’s no such thing.”
        Authenticist: “Yes, there is, there’s a man who does it.”
        Me: “I’ve found him, paid him to do it, and it’s not invisible.”
        Authenticist: “There’s another man who does it better.”
        Me: “I’ve found him too, paid him to do another bit, and it’s still not invisible.”
        Authenticist: “But in the Middle Ages they used French Invisible Mending”
        Me: That’s the technique they still use today and it’s not invisible.”
        Authenticist: “Well I’ve got a book called The Frenway Method. It’s about Invisible Mending.”
        Me: “I’ve got it too. It’s the method modern invisible menders use, and its not invisible.”
        Authenticist: “What about if they pulled out all the worn threads, very carefully teased them apart, then very carefully teased apart some new threads, twisted the old and new threads together, and then carefully wove them all back into place.”
        Me: “It’s never been done before. Its never done now. There’s no evidence that it’s ever been done. Nobody would patch up one tiny corner so perfectly when the rest of the shroud looks as if it’s been patched by a schoolgirl.
        Authenticist: “You can’t prove that. Gotcha!”

        There is one single piece of evidence for the invisible “splice” postulated above, a piece of thread examined by Robert Villarreal, which fell apart under examination. Firstly the two ends were not spliced or teased together at all, simply “butt-joined” end to end. Secondly in order to hold them together they were glued with a resin. Thirdly both ends were made entirely of cotton. I don’t think it was a Shroud thread at all.

    2. Hugh

      To defend 1988 C-14 results, you have to:

      *assume that any statistical inconsistencies are purely incidental (rather unlikely)
      * assume that Rogers is wrong in his assesment of cotton and vanilin content
      * assume that Benford and Marino, and the textile experts they quote are wrong
      * assume that there are no spliced threads in the C-14/Raes corner
      * assume that historical testimony about repaired corners by King Umberto II according to Evaristo has no historical value
      * assume that the pray Codex has no relation to the Shroud, and robert the Calri in 1204 mentions some other cloth (despite no other shroud with the image of Christ is known in that period)
      * assume that similar traits on Byzantine coisn and icons are merely coincidence
      * undermine the relation between the Shroud and Sudarium of Oviedo (which has its own problems with C-14 -there is a soot on its surface most likely due to the bombing in 1934), and the Tunic of Argenteuil (which also has inconsistent C-14 datings see table at pg. 59 of this document: )
      * discredit the datings by fanti and his colleagues: 90 CE+/-200 years [Fanti et al., 2015], 279 CE+/-216 years [Basso et al., 2015]

      There are many results that contradict the 1989 results of Damon et al. Yet some people want to stick to them at all costs -especially the trolls that control english Wikipedia (which is worse than communist propaganda when Poland was in the Soviet block). This is completely unscientific. Bella et al tried to undermine Rogers -but actually they failed, nitpicking only the tertiary detail. Even their title -“There is no mass spectrometry evidence that the C14 sample from the Shroud of Turin comes from a “medieval invisible mending” (see the subtle difference between “There is no mass spectrometry evidence…” and “There is no evidence…”) is admission of their failure.

      Contradictory results are common in science. See for example Hubble constant:

      There were also results that were discredited in science. See for example the famous Great Debate between Shapley and Curtiss regarding the size of the Universe: van Maanen measured what he though, the rotation of M101. had he been right, it could not have been external galaxy. But it turned his measurements were actually wrong. Just as 1988 C-14 datings of the Shroud are wrong. According to the logic of 1988 C-14 results fanatics, there are no other galaxies in the Universe besides Milky Way. So much for their “scientific” approach.

      I think at this moment we can safely assume that the Shroud dates BEFORE 700 AD -but we cannot give any precise dating.

      1. You limit yourself to claiming the classic themes of syndonism in a similar way of “anti-communist propaganda”. In other words, everything that contradicts your belief in the Holy Shroud is like “communist propaganda” and has been “proven” to be absolutely false… according to you.
        This does not advance the debate a single step. Tell us what is the most important proof of the authenticity of the Holy Shroud and we will see.

        I think that Hugh has explained very well why the statistical analysis is irrelevant in itself if you want to claim authenticity of the Shroud. Can you add something?

        1. Yes, it seems that neither you, nor Hugh, nor the trolls that control English Wikipedia article about the Shroud understand the statistical issues (for example the concept of statistical significance ).

          Imagine the cloth was uniform, homogenous. It was woven as a whole at a single date (whatever).

          Then we should expect that all the statistical deviations are just results of purely random errors, following normal (Gaussian) distribution. This is true in case of the control samples.

          But not in the case of the Shroud, the significance of the result is unacceptably low.

          This is first yellow light suggesting: WARNING something may be wrong

          We must reject at least two of the measurements as outliers to have the results significant (while all the measurements devices seem to work fine for control samples).

          More, there seems to be a systematic correlation between the lenght of the sample and date obtained. This should not happen, had the cloth been relatively uniform. Statistically, one end of the sample seems to be nearly 200 years older than the other (but ONLY statistically, this may not reflect reality)

          All of this is red light: yielling: THIS MEASUREMENT IS WRONG!

          But statistics does not tell you WHAT is wrong, and what is the correct result.

          Then there are all other contradictions I listed: Fanti et al. datings, vanillin content, Sudarium of Oviedo, Byzantine coins etc.

          But this still does not tell you WHAT is wrong, nor what is the correct result.

          The answer what is wrong is provided by Rogers following earlier hypothesis by Benford & Marino and others. The C-14 corner has been meticulously rewoven, restored in modern (16th-19th century) times.
          Thread by thread, so there are no differences visible to the naked eye (and X-ray and transmitted light photographs are difficult to interpret). The presence of dye is obvious on the photographs (despite Jull & Freer-Water claims based on superficial examination of the Arizona sample, which was in the center of dyed area) , and it is not the key. The key is vanilin content in the Raes sample (compared to the other parts of the cloth) + presence of cotton (compared to lack of it in other parts of the Shroud according to Rogers and others). This shows that the material in C-14 sample is DIFFERENT and younger than in the rest ofd the Shroud.

          And this is consistent with all other results -statistical deviations, Fanti et al. results, historical consideration and so on. That’s hopw the science works. We know that this area got ripped and was restored. Then in 1988 it was sampled for C-14 dating which was plain stupidity. Garbage sample provided garbage results.

          But still we don’t know what is the correct result, the true age of the Shroud. We just know that the 1988 C-14 datings have been discredited by all the evidence.
          The best we can do, is to follow Fanti et al. datings, which still need to cross-checked by other measurements to check their reliability.

          And all what I have written above it is not the case for or against the authenticity of the Shroud. It is a case for a good scientific practice.

        2. No, OK, that’s simply not the case, although you have correctly identified the source of the controversy.

          You are correct that the spread of the measurements for the Shroud were “somewhat greater than would be expected from the errors quoted.” From then on, however, you wander off track.

          1) We need not reject any of the measurements as outliers. As a group of independent measurements, none of them is more than 2 SD from the mean.

          2) The fact that the spread of the measurements is greater than would be expected from the errors quoted ought to be explained. Three possibilities are often suggested.
          a) The errors were too small.
          b) The biggest and smallest measurements were wrong.
          c) There was a slight chronological gradient along the sample strip.
          d) All the measurements and the errors were invented by the KGB.

          Of these, ‘a’ and ‘c’ are more likely than ‘b’ and ‘d’.

          Once either of these (‘a’ or c’) is taken into account, the measurements need no longer excite any controversy at all.

          As I have said, I have studied all your evidences suggesting that the radiocarbon corner was rewoven and rejected them as inadequate. We certainly do not know that the area was ‘ripped and then restored’.

          I do not think that the scientists appointed by the Catholic custodians of the Shroud to select the area for testing showed “plain stupidity”.

          I do not accept your characterisation of good scientific practice.

          But I do not resent or object to your having a different view.

  10. Well no, obviously. To we mathematicians, an assumption is a premise we take to be self-evident, or at least generally agreed by the participants. I have not assumed anything. As you know, I have examined all your factors in detail, both on shroudstory and elsewhere, and concluded that none of them detract from the medieval date. I quite appreciate that you have come to a different conclusion, but find no reason to alter my opinion on that account.

    My point though was not whether I am right and you are wrong about the Shroud, but on your pronouncement that your ideas are the only possible correct ones. Now there you certainly are wrong.

    1. ~ Hi Hugh, “To we mathematicians” ~ you write this in a symbolic way or are you actually a mathematician ?

  11. If a mathematician is someone who can do maths, I’m a mathematician. Actually, of course, I’m a science teacher, but I have some experience with maths and statistics as a concomitant.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: