Important New Paper on the Carbon Dating Samples

Pam Moon has just published a significant paper, The presence of dye in the 1988 radiocarbon date samples of the Shroud of Turin. Pam nicely footnotes the title with:

This paper came out of an online conversation with Joe Marino and Paul Maloney, with additional input from Bill Meacham, Professor Emanuela Marinelli and Barrie Schwortz. I am deeply indebted to them for sharing their knowledge, wisdom and advice.

That says a lot. So go read this paper carefully.

Great pictures and careful analysis:

imageThere is very little data about the samples tested by Oxford, Zurich and Arizona: no chemical analysis has been published and most of the photographic evidence is not sufficiently detailed. However, further evidence of encrustation is visible in the Oxford photographs.14 Below is a comparison of the 3 samples tested at higher magnification (the Shroud, Thebes and Nubia). There is a density of encrustation coating Shroud sample p2574_9 which is not present on the other two samples. The “frosty” 6 contaminant is also not present on the Mark Evans image of the Shroud.15 As ‘the "frosty" coating is almost certainly a plant gum in the Raes sample’ 6 it is likely to be a plant gum in the Oxford sample.



Searching for Papers

imageA reader writes:

… you know that by typing in “" you get a list of all of the pdf papers on the site in alphabetical order. This can be useful in doing research. You should let others on your blog know.

Actually, the pdfs directory is not the only place pdf files are stored on the site.

The preferred method, to my way of thinking, is to use the following Google search: filetype:pdf

If you want to limit yourself to the pdfs directory (why would you?) modify the command so it reads thus: filetype:pdf

If you want to search elsewhere, you may. For instance: filetype:pdf filetype:pdf filetype:pdf

With any of these searches, it is a good idea to add some words like shroud or pollen or whatever is your particular interest of the moment.

If you start your search with Google Advanced Search, you can specify a language. is altogether another matter.   It is a rich archive of papers on the shroud – probably the largest and you’ll find many newer English language papers there – but you can’t search it with Google or any of the other major search engines if you specify a filetype. So don’t. On the other hand, it is a good bet that whatever it is you find in, it will be a PDF file. And using words like Shroud and Turin are a must. For instance the following work well in Google: shroud of turin

The Blood is Red Because

hitherto unnoticed details …  experiments … and more

An exciting paper by Adrie A. M. van der Hoeven, Cold Acid Postmortem Blood Most Probably Formed Pinkish-Red Heme-Madder Lake on Madder-Dyed Shroud of Turin has just been published in the Open Journal of Applied Sciences (published 30 November 2015).

The abstract reads:

imageThe Turin Shroud was extensively scientifically investigated in 1978. In its pinkish red bloodstains, normal features of human blood were found, but also seemingly anomalous ones. In the present study, hitherto unnoticed details of the data are presented, Shroud data and more modern reference data are compared, and the results of a few experiments with linen, madder dye and blood are shown. It turns out that the Shroud’s ‘anomalous’ data are strong consistent evidence that its bloodstains contain acid heme-madder lake, of which the heme derived from cold acid postmortem blood and the madder had been applied to the Shroud at manufacture. It implies that the bloodstains were formed on the Shroud before the still not reproduced body-image was. Several other ‘red-color’ hypotheses for the Shroud’s bloodstains are discussed and dismissed.

Taken from the conclusion:

The anomalous features of the Shroud’s bloodstains, instead of being evidence against their authenticity, turn out to be very strong evidence for their authenticity…

This, too:

A few experiments confirmed that much serum can drain from human blood on a cold surface and that human blood is able to form pinkish stains on starched and madder-dyed linen that remain pinkish while simultaneously formed bloodstains on pure linen turn brown. New scientific investigations on the Shroud of Turin with more modern methods and techniques may further corroborate these conclusions.


Note:  You can download the PDF from the above link.

Nevertheless, the images are real enough!

imageOur resident Kiwi, daveb of wellington nz, of late, has been mentioning Giovanna de Liso, repeatedly, as we continue to struggle with an explanation for the images on the shroud  He has been talking about de Liso since at least April of 2013. Most recently — like a couple of hours ago — in a comment to Because I Don’t See It, he wrote:

I have yet to see a satisfactory explanation of how or why Giovanna de Liso obtained her Shroud-like images from her 12 years of seismic experiments. A protegee of Giulio Fanti, I cannot believe that she faked them. However, neither Fanti nor anyone else has come with what to me might be a satisfactory explanation. She claims that she only ever obtained images under very specific conditions, including the detection of radon! Nevertheless, the images are real enough! […]

And, Hugh Farey, our resident 60/40 skeptic, quickly responded:

Daveb is quite right about the possibilities of geological explanations; they just haven’t been explored or quantified sufficiently for anything much to be said about them. Yet. […]

That woke me up this morning. I realized it is time to read or re-read, as the case may be, Shroud-like experimental image formation during seismic activity by Giovanna de Liso. 

The abstract reads:

Seismic oxidative phenomena on vegetal structures and ferromagnetic rocks, occurring only along parallel surfaces to the ground, led me to verify experimentally if, naturally, in conjunction with earthquakes, it is possible to form images with a 3D character similar to Turin Shroud image, of objects placed between the two edges of linen cloths folded in two and soaked with different solutions. Some similarities with the Shroud image were obtained only on ferromagnetic rocks, during seismic radon emission, with electrostatic discharges and geomagnetic variations, in agreement with Lattarulo s theoretical hypothesis.

Why did I not pay more attention when the paper was included in the Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Scientific approach to the Acheiropoietos Images in Frascati in 2010? Did it then seem too much off-the-wall?  And now, not?

Psychological Influences in Seeing Inscriptions on the Shroud of Turin

… the normal psychological processes underlying perception of writing, and the tendency of these processes to produce illusory perceptions, should be an essential consideration when addressing the existence of religious inscriptions on religious artifacts such as the Shroud of Turin.

In sum, the aim of this research has not been to question the authenticity of the Shroud or the presence of images of a human body and face. Instead, our focus has been the claims made concerning the existence of religious inscriptions which many believe cast crucial light on the provenance of this important artifact.

imageOn October 28, 2015, PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed, open access journal, published Seeing Inscriptions on the Shroud of Turin: The Role of Psychological Influences in the Perception of Writing by Timothy R. Jordan, Mercedes Sheen, Lily Abedipour, and Kevin B. Paterson. (You can also access this article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine
at the National Institutes of Health)

Do access the article and read it. It is well done. 


The Shroud of Turin (hereafter the Shroud) is one of the most widely known and widely studied artifacts in existence, with enormous historical and religious significance. For years, the Shroud has inspired worldwide interest in images on its fabric which appear to be of the body and face of a man executed in a manner consistent with crucifixion, and many believe that these images were formed in the Shroud’s fibers during the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. But, more recently, other reports have suggested that the Shroud also contains evidence of inscriptions, and these reports have been used to add crucial support to the view that the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus. Unfortunately, these reports of inscriptions are based on marks that are barely visible on the Shroud, even when images are enhanced, and the actual existence of writing on the Shroud is still a matter of considerable debate. Here we discuss previous evidence concerning the psychological processes involved generally in the perception of writing, and especially when letters and words are indistinct. We then report two experiments in which the influence of religious context on perception of inscriptions was addressed specifically, using an image of woven fabric (modern linen) containing no writing and with no religious provenance. This image was viewed in two different contexts: in the Religious Context, participants were informed that the image was of a linen artifact that was important to the Christian faith whereas, in the non-religious Neutral Context, participants were informed that the image was of a simple piece of linen. Both groups were told that the image may contain faint words and were asked to report any words they could see. All participants detected words on the image, and indicated that these words were visible and were able to trace on the image the words they detected. In each experiment, more religious words were detected in the Religious Context condition than in the Neutral Context condition whereas the two contexts showed no effect on the number of non-religious words detected, indicating that religious context had a specific effect on the perception of illusory writing. Indeed, in the Neutral Context condition, no religious words at all were reported in either experiment. These findings suggest that images of woven material, like linen, inspire illusory perceptions of writing and that the nature of these perceptions is influenced considerably by the religious expectations of observers. As a consequence, the normal psychological processes underlying perception of writing, and the tendency of these processes to produce illusory perceptions, should be an essential consideration when addressing the existence of religious inscriptions on religious artifacts such as the Shroud of Turin.

Now you can read it online

Should anyone wonder what I think about the images of coins let me be clear:  IMHO, there are no images of coins over the eyes. I can’t see them and I don’t believe it is possible that the images could be there.

imageTHIS IS GOOD NEWS: Barrie Schwortz, according to the Late Breaking News at has added…

The Dating of the Shroud of Turin from Coins of Pontius Pilate by Francis L. Filas, S.J. – 2nd Edition, Updated to June 1982. Although not widely accepted, this theory is nonetheless a part of Shroud research and has been referenced by a number of Shroud authors, so we thought it important to archive it on Our thanks to Richard Bernatchez for sharing it with us.

Thumbs up In addition, in the archives of Holy Shroud Guild, you can find:

Storm cloud Should anyone wonder what I think about the images of coins let me be clear:  IMHO, there are no images of coins over the eyes. I can’t see them and I don’t believe it is possible that the images could be there. SEE  Dear Stephen E. Jones in this blog.

Want more on the “not widely accepted [coin] theory”?  These are a representative sampling of blog postings on this topic.

  1. The Forger and the Coins: One in a Gazillion with 13 Zeroes
  2. Coins on Eyes Issue Again
  3. An Excellent Analysis of the Coins-on-the-Eyes Issue
  4. More on Max Patrick Hamon and the Coin-on-Eye Issue

Paper Chase: New Paper on SEM Analysis of Pollen

imageI missed this recent paper. I only discovered it while reading through Barrie Schwortz’ Late Breaking News for the most recent update to Here is what Barrie reports:

Exploration of the Face of the Turin Shroud. Pollens Studied by SEM Analysis by Gérard LucotteArcheological Discovery, Vol.3 No.4, October 2015. Here is an excerpt from the abstract:

"We studied by SEM-EDX analysis the pollens on the Face of the Turin Shroud. A total of ten pollen grains were found; they were photographed, characterised and analysed. Three of them (pollens p6, p7 and p10) belong to Ceratonia siliqua, the carob tree; one of them (pollen p1) belongs to Balanites aegyptiaca (the palm tree of the desert), and another one (pollen p9) belongs to Cercis siliquastrum (the Judean tree). These three plants have their geographical distributions in the Near-East; that is indicative of a Palestinian origin of the Turin Shroud…"

FREE PDF:  The full paper (DOI: 10.4236/ad.2015.34014), richly illustrated with 23 photographs, is published in Scientific Research, an open access journal. The PDF file can be downloaded from the summary and abstract page.

And now you have something to do this weekend

I must admit I feel a little sceptical, not based on the evidence, but from
an innate doubt that God would work in this way…

image image Joe Marino uncovered a weekend’s worth of reading and reflection, specifically a blog posting and two papers:

Posting:  The Turin Shroud: fake or genuine? by Eric Hatfield (pictured in white shirt)

Main Paper:  The Shroud of Turin – A Critical Assessment by Atle Ottesen Søvik (pictured in striped shirt)

Supporting Paper:  Excursuses to the Article "The Shroud of Turin – A Critical Assessment" by Atle Ottesen Søvik

Joe’s email to me reads:

Hi Dan,

I came across this interesting article at the "Is there a God" blog (from June 2015):

It references 2 substantial Shroud articles on, one of which Barrie mentioned on his site back in 2014:

The Shroud of Turin – A Critical Assessment by Atle Ottesen Søvik – (This article is a translation of the article “Likkledet i Torino – en kritisk vurdering," published in Teologisk Tidsskrift (Journal of Theology), no 3, 2013: 266-294). The author holds a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion and teaches at MF Norwegian School of Theology. You can follow Atle and read some of his other papers (many in English) on We have also added a permanent link to the article on the Scientific Papers & Articles and Website Library pages of the site. Here is the abstract:

This article discusses the question of whether the Shroud of Turin is the real burial cloth of Jesus, and it consists of four parts. First I present facts about the Shroud. Then I discuss whether the image comes from a corpse or is artificially produced another way, and conclude that it comes from a corpse. This means that if it is a forgery, a corpse was used to create the image. After that, I briefly discuss whether it may be the burial cloth of an unknown crucified man, and argue that it must be the burial cloth of Jesus or a forgery meant to resemble Jesus. Finally, I discuss the crucial question of when the image was formed: is it a forgery from the fourteenth century or is it the real burial cloth of Jesus from AD 30?

The author of the blog article states:

I was fortunate to come across a 2013 review of both sides of the argument by Atle Søvik, a Norwegian Philosopher of Religion and Professor of Theology. His review is based mainly on published peer-reviewed papers, and is found in a main paper and a supporting paper.

It may be thought that a Professor of Theology isn’t an impartial observer, but I believe this is the most balanced assessment I have come across, because he is an academic, he seems impartial and reliable, it is in a peer-reviewed journal, he is not Catholic and he is likely a liberal Christian who isn’t as strongly biased towards supernatural explanations as a naturalist would be biased against them. I am strengthened in this conclusion after brief correspondence with a sceptical member of his review team.

The link for the "main paper" is what Barrie posted.  However, Barrie apparently didn’t post the "supporting paper," which is actually 2 pages longer than the main paper.  Funny, I don’t even remember seeing the main paper from when Barrie posted it–I must have somehow missed it.  I’m getting more senior moments than I used to.  I did a search on your blog for article name and author and didn’t see anything.  Both articles are impressive.

I GO TO CONCLUSLIONS:  It is a bad habit of mine.  But then I do go back and read. Here is Eric Hatfield’s conclusion from his blog site:

It seems to be a case of the carbon dating vs the rest of the evidence. Søvik cautiously concludes that the evidence for a first century date is slightly stronger, but I think neither side has proved their case or shown the other side to be wrong. The sceptical case relies on a few old papers and a lot of bluster, but the case for authenticity stumbles on the radiocarbon dating. I don’t think we can be confident either way. (I’m sorry to have to sit on the fence.)

I must admit I feel a little sceptical, not based on the evidence, but from an innate doubt that God would work in this way – after all, Jesus refused to use spectacular signs to authenticate himself. I cannot remove from my mind the many other relics, some of which are quite impossible, and some of which (e.g. non-decaying saints) seem quite superstitious.

If only the radiocarbon and vanillin testing could be re-done by agreed best methods, we might get a better answer. In the meantime, both believers and sceptics would do well to avoid making over-strong claims.

Bravo!  I have always had a bit of that gut-over-brain skepticism. 

And thanks, Joe.

Guest Posting on the Thermochimica Acta Editorial

O.K., a frequent participant in this forum, writes:

Bella, Garlaschelli & Samperi editorial exposed

imageIn the beginning, I want to say that this response to the editorial of Bella, Garlaschelli & Samperi editorial in Thermochimica Acta (TCA, freely available until 30th October 2015) is not focused about mass spectrometry, pyrolysis, nor any of the purely scientific issues regarding it. Those issues will be addressed in much more comprehensive response to TCA, being prepared by Thibault Heimburger. It is not about whether Rogers was right or wrong in his paper. Nor it is not about authenticity of the Shroud. It is mainly about style (and the ethics) presented in that editorial, which is enough to discredit it as a scientific publication, and prove it to be actually a manipulation of the reader. This response is based purely on the text of that editorial, Rogers article, and Marco Bella comments in the thread Editorial in Thermochimica Acta by Bella, Garlaschelli and Samperi on Rogers’ 2005 Article on

One fundamental rule: in scientific publications the text must be as precise as possible. No vague, or ambiguous terms.

Having that in mind, let’s look at the title of the editorial:

There is no mass spectrometry evidence that the C14 sample from the Shroud of Turin comes from a “medieval invisible mending”

Why not simply:

There is no evidence that the C14 sample from the Shroud of Turin comes from a “medieval invisible mending” ?

Why did they need to insert those two bolded words?

Because, as we will see, the two bolded words change the meaning of the title diametrically.

Nevertheless, Marco Bella wrote in a comment (September 8, 2015 at 2:48 am):

Dear Tristan,

You might be right that the word “medieval” is not fully appropriate in the title. It might give the impression of not ruling out the possibility that the mending has been executed at another time, while there is actually no evidence of whatsoever mending. […] Since they first used this term to describe their theory, I feel it is correct to keep it, even if there is no evidence at all to support this pseudoscientific hypothesis and the term might be not fully appropriate. -my emphasis.

So no evidence, or no mass spectrometry evidence? Because the two phrases mean two entirely different things!

Rogers wrote in the abstract of his paper:

Preliminary estimates of the kinetics constants for the loss of vanillin from lignin indicate a much older age for the cloth than the radiocarbon analyses. The radiocarbon sampling area is uniquely coated with a yellow–brown plant gum containing dye lakes. Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud. -my emphasis.

And also on pg. 193 (this can be treated as a sort of conclusions of that paper):

The combined evidence from chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, cotton content, and pyrolysis/ms proves that the material from the radiocarbon area of the shroud is significantly different from that of the main cloth. The radiocarbon sample was thus not part of the original cloth and is invalid for determining the age of the shroud.-my emphasis.

While Rogers based his reasoning on combination of observations, data and measurements, in contrast Bella, Garlaschelli & Samperi concentrate only on mass spectrometry (which was not the only, nor even principal method Rogers used)- According to the Author, however, the key evidence to support his thesis is the analysis of two pyrolysis spectra(pg. 170 of Editorial ) dismissing all other evidence as the unspecific qualitative chemical tests presented by Rogers (pg. 171). In general the editorial is full of insinuations, weasel phrases, and derogatory terms -extremely bad style for scientific publication. But it lacks a very key element. Rogers wrote The combined evidence from chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, cotton content, and pyrolysis/ms


Therefore writing There is no mass spectrometry evidence, instead of no evidence is misleading people -especially coupled with concluding remark Therefore, none of the presented data supports the conclusion by Rogers. As we have seen, the authors did not analyze nor address fully Rogers claims. Writing There is no mass spectrometry evidence is de facto admitting that there is some other evidence for invisible mending -of which even the authors in their apparent desire to debunk Rogers had apparently forgotten.

The word “cotton” is the SMOKING GUN that the editorial of Bella, Garlaschelli & Samperi is at least a manipulation of the reader.

Objections that the cotton issue will be addressed elsewhere? Not allowed: Marco Bella himself wrote in a comment (September 7, 2015 at 12:16 pm):

When evaluating a scientific paper, the analysis must be limited to what is actually written or referenced in the paper. The “ideas” of the author written somewhere else (specifically, a book which did not pass any peer-review) are of no significance for our editorial. I just focus on the reported data in Rogers’ TA paper This is how science works.

So be it -with regards to Bella as well!

The main question for Bella et al., given all what Rogers wrote, and what Bella et. al wrote (and nothing else) –is there any evidence for invisible mending? YES OR NO?

This editorial is not only below any scientific, but moreover below any ethical standards -and as such, it should have been not allowed for publication.

Faint Images: The Case of the Shroud of Arquata

imageOver at, Paolo Di Lazzarro has posted an uncorrected proof of a paper, Non invasive analyses of low-contrast images on ancient textiles: the case of the shroud of Arquata by Paolo Di Lazzaro, Massimiliano Guarneri, Daniele Murra, Valeria Spizzichino, Alessandro Danielis, Arianna Mencattini, Veronica Piraccini and Mauro Missori. The paper is to be published late this year in in the Journal of Cultural Heritage

Here is the abstract:

We present the results of the first in-depth measurements of the linen cloth of the shroud of Arquata, a precious copy of the Shroud of Turin, which dates back to 1653. The measurements aimed at finding the nature of the faint and low-contrast body impressions on the linen cloth, which are not produced by drawings or paintings as in the other copies of the Shroud of Turin. In general, the optical analysis and the imaging of low-contrast stains on ancient textile is a complex task, due to the irregular surface and the influence of spectrum, position and uniformity of the illuminating source on colour accuracy and rendition, A correct evaluation requires a multidisciplinary approach. We used noninvasive technologies. including imaging topological radar, laser induced fluorescence, absolute diffused reflectance and absorption spectra, which were previously used to study frescoes, paintings, antique papers, but were never exploited on ancient textiles. The combined results of our measurements and data elaboration allowed identifying the origins of the body impressions. of the stains simulating blood and of the other marks embedded on the linen cloth. Our results can be used to plan the proper long-seem conservation of the linen cloth and of marks on it.

Free Link to Thermochimica Acta Editorial Until October 30

image Marco Bella has kindly provided me with a free link to the final paper, There is no mass spectrometry evidence that the C14 sample from the Shroud of Turin comes from a “medieval invisible mending” 

<< >>

(Please Read Guest User Guidelines)

Based on the following in an email to Marco from ScienceDirect …

… You are also welcome to email the link to your co-authors and colleagues, or post the link on your own homepage, Facebook, Google+, Twitter or other social media profile, to tell your network about your new publication.  Anyone who clicks on the link until October 30, 2015, will be taken to the final version of your article on ScienceDirect for free. No sign up or registration is needed – just click and read!

As an author, you may use your article for a wide range of scholarly, non-commercial purposes, and share and post your article online in a variety of ways….

… I am posting that link. My interpretation of that email is that I may do so, ethically and legally.

Thank you, Marco.

Note:  Please direct any comments to Editorial in Thermochimica Acta by Bella, Garlaschelli and Samperi on Rogers’ 2005 Article or Significant Response to the Preview of the Thermochimica Acta Editorial

Why Not Luigi Garlaschelli?

What is that on Luigi Garlaschelli’s left shoulder?

imageA reader writes from the “front porch of my old Kentucky home:”

In reading through some of the newly published material on the STuRP (sic*) site, I found the paper by Paolo Di Lazzaro interesting for its introduction. We read on the first page, “none of techniques tested can simultaneously reproduce its main features, from the 3-D property to the coloration depth, to the resolution of the spatial details. The conclusion was that the image on the Shroud of Turin is not the result of the work of an artist or forger.”

Time, however, did not stand still. The latest testing was by Professor Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia. According to Reuters, Garlaschelli, claimed that he and his team “have shown it is possible to reproduce something which has the same characteristics as the Shroud.”

You would think that would be mentioned in the paper.

Well, no.  The examples were fine for the purpose of the paper. And Garlaschelli didn’t come all that close, anyway.  But maybe his method came closer than many of the methods mentioned by Jackson, Jumper and Ercoline and listed by Paolo; for that is who and what Paolo is talking about in his paper.

Maybe Colin Berry should be mentioned as well.  Scroll down a few postings to Colin Berry’s Long Running Investigation of the Shroud. You can also click on the picture of coloration by Colin to access Colin’s blog. Compare that to the coloration photograph in Paolo’s paper.


For the record, here is a relevant extract from Paolo’s Shroud-like coloration of linen by ultraviolet radiation:

In 1984, two organizers of the STuRP (Shroud of Turin Research Project), Jackson and Jumper, along with Ercoline published a paper entitled "Correlation of image intensity on the Turin Shroud with the 3-D structure of a human body shape" [1]. In this long paper (26 pages!) that I consider one of the most important works published by STuRP members, the authors describe in meticulous detail the creation of a gallery of images on linen fabrics using all the techniques potentially able to create a Shroud-like image. Note that this paper was published four years before the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, and the authors, unaware that the cloth was woven in the Middle Ages, tested all the possible techniques, ancient and modern, not only those potentially available to the alleged medieval forger.

A list of techniques tested in this article include:

o Direct contact (a statue and a person coloured by inks, or chemicals, or powders, then draped by a linen cloth);

o Thermal colouration (bas reliefs heated in a furnace and placed in contact on both dry and wet linen); o Visible light (faces covered with phosphorescent paints imaged on contoured sheets of a photographic film);

o Electrostatic field; o Vapourgraphy (ammonia vapours on plaster face diffused on linen);

o Artists (professional artists, certified forensic with documented experience in realistic monotone imagery shade a Shroud-like face on linen, first free hand, then with anchor points);

o Hybrid mechanisms (different combinations of two or more techniques among those mentioned).

Jackson, Jumper and Ercoline compared the results of the above attempts with the macroscopic and microscopic features of the Shroud image, and argued that none of techniques tested can simultaneously reproduce its main features, from the 3-D property to the coloration depth, to the resolution of the spatial details. The conclusion was that the image on the Shroud of Turin is not the result of the work of an artist or forger.

* That would be the STERA site, more commonly known as 

Paper Chase: Offensive Coins? Heads or Tails?

… nothing but a numismatic and pseudosindonological myth

imageMax-Patrick Hamon writes:

Please find attached in pdf format ‘Part One’ (OFFENSIVE COINS? HEADS OR TAILS? Or the Stauffer pseudo- numismatic evidence) of a longer paper (I wrote in 2008, updated in 2011 and not yet published) entitled: Turin Shroud: Coin Over Eyes And Die-Hard Misinformation.

I uploaded it. So, just click on the above title or on the image of the first page shown here.

A Treasure of Reading Material

Thank you, Enrico Simonato

imageWe have received copies of six handouts from the International Centre of Sindonology May 2nd meeting that have been translated into English. These have been provided to us by Enrico  Simonato, the organization’s secretary:



Shroud-like coloration of linen by ultraviolet radiation by Paolo Di Lazzaro Chief of research, ENEA ENEA Research Centre, via E. Fermi 45, 00044 Frascati (Rome, Italy)

Palynology: instrument of research for the relics of the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo by Marzia Boi

The role of historical research within the Shroud studies by Gianmaria Zaccone


There are two more handouts that are still to be translated.  I’ll post those when they arrive.

Nine Selected and Revised Papers from the Bari Conference

unscheduled decision to select 9 the above contributions for revision
and publication in the SHS Web of Conferences


imageA special open access collection of nine selected and revised papers from the 2014 Workshop on Advances in the Turin Shroud Investigation (ATSI 2014) in Bari, Italy, September 4–5, 2014 

Why nine?  Read the following from the preface to the collection:

… Of the 30 contributions submitted to peer review, only 19 was accepted for presentation and discussion during the workshop. The Official Program for this two-day forum is reported in Later, the Major Chairpersons made the unscheduled decision to select 9 of the above contributions in order for them to be re-examined with a view to a possible publication on SHS Web of Conferences. The reference Authors of each of the 9 selected papers were asked to revise their papers taking into account comments and questions raised both after presentations and during informal discussions through the workshop. Finally, the revised papers were submitted to a second round of peer-review and modified according to Reviewers’ remarks.

This restricted collection of papers essentially cover a number of topics distinctive of the Turin Shroud (TS) studies, notably in-situ and laboratory investigation on TS-like electrostatic imaging; micro-scale optical observation and macro-scale reproduction; TS coloration, conservation and pattern perception; commonalities and coincidences with the Oviedo Sudarium; archaeological survey on funerary textiles in ancient Israel with a comparison with the TS; historiographical contribution to the debated question of the burial cloths reported in the Gospel account for the benefit of related applications, e.g. Liturgy and Iconography


Cognitive Response to Thermochimica Acta Paper

clip_image001We learn over at the Holy Shroud Guild website that Giorgio Bracaglia has just uploaded an interesting research  paper to  The Reader’s Cognitive Response toward Two Problematic Peer-Reviewed Manuscripts

From the abstract we learn:

This research explores two populations’ cognitive responses towards two peer reviewed manuscripts. In both manuscripts, experts in the field criticize the text, and conclude them unfit for publication. To examine participants’ feelings relative to the critic’s report, a survey was created that deliberately opposes the manuscript’s legitimacy, and accepts the critic’s assertion. Two populations were surveyed on two distinct subjects. The subjects ranged from the radiocarbon testing of the Shroud of Turin defying the results performed by three distinguished laboratories, to the dangers of Glyphosate (Roundup) for human consumption. The first group was specifically targeted based on their expertise on the Shroud of Turin. The second group was randomly selected, and has no known level of expertise on either of the two topics.

Jumping right away, as I often do, to the conclusion, I find this:

Rogers work is immeasurable in the Shroud s scientific community. The intent to use Rogers manuscript was not to discredit Rogers thesis, but to offer why division existed between two factions about its rank.

The one peer reviewed manuscript we care about:

Thermochimica Acta, by Raymond Rogers is a manuscript about the Shroud of Turin. Rogers was a chemist who was considered by his peers to be an expert in thermal analysis. In 2005, his writing challenged the radiocarbon dating result performed in 1988 stating the Shroud’s origin was between 1260-1390 AD. Rogers was no stranger to the Shroud of Turin. He was the co-founder of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), which was a group of American scientists that performed an investigation of the Shroud in 1978. In 1981, STURP’s official statement reported that the Shroud is not a product of an artist but is a form of a scourged crucified man. In the Christian community, this was wonderful news. However, the exhilaration did not last long when three laboratories, University of Arizona, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, and Oxford University in 1988 announced that the radiocarbon measurements dated the Shroud’s origin between 1260-1390 AD. These findings prompted strong reactions from Sindonologists who refuted the laboratories claim. Sindonologists are a group of specialized scientists or researchers that studies the Shroud of Turin.

In 2000, Rogers received reports from long time Sindonologist researchers, Joe Marino and Sue Bedford. They hypothesized that the radiocarbon dating was not from threads excised from the main body of the Shroud, but rather from a location contaminated with dye cotton used in the restoration of the Shroud.

Remember: this is not a study of Rogers’ manuscript (or the other paper) but The Reader’s Cognitive Response toward Two Problematic Peer-Reviewed Manuscripts. The paper should be read in its entirety.

Even though both manuscripts faced strong opposition from their contemporaries, both manuscripts had a broad support amongst their followers. The broad support might be attributed to confirmation bias. Nickerson (1998) explained that confirmation bias“gives undue weight to, evidence that supports one’s position while neglecting to gather or discounting, evidence that would tell against it” (p.175).

Giorgio has summarized the “strong opposition from … contemporaries” to Rogers’ paper for us. Here are some pieces of that.

Example 1:

Rogers’ manuscript successfully established ownership for the threads; however, what Rogers failed to offer was the chronological documentation pertaining to the threads. It is possible Rogers familiarity with the threads made him lax in procuring the proper protocol producing the chain of custody.

Example 2:

Gonella then said that he had reason to believe that some or all of Raes’ samples had been switched with materials not originally from the Shroud. (Personal archive collection of the Holy Shroud Guild, Nitowski, 1986)

Example 3:

Manuscript validity depends on the author and reviewer’s ability to ensure the accuracy of the final manuscript. People are all guilty of confirmation bias…. Social bias also threatens the peer review process. Reviewers can be influenced by the perceived status of the researcher’s reputation in their particular field, rather than the actual content of the manuscript. In the case of Rogers, he served on the editorial board of Thermochimica Acta from 1970 until his retirement, in 1988….

And so what did the conclusion say?

… These observations may have indicated that participant’s cognitive responses towards these two problematic peer reviewed manuscripts appear to be dependent on the participant’s predetermined experience and inferences on the subject….

Confirming what I thought! (I couldn’t resist).

After all, that was what the study was about.  But the criticisms of Rogers and his paper remain, wanting to be examined more, refuted hopefully and dismissed. Yes, I seem to be biased. I know that.

New Bari Paper on

clip_image001José L. Fernández-Sánchez  has uploaded a paper prepared for the Bari conference:  A Features Model of the Shroud of Turin: Considering it as a system. The paper is in English and may be found at

Here is an abstract:

The Shroud of Turin is among the most studied, controversial and enigmatic of all archaeological objects. The Turin Shroud is an old linen fabric imprinted with the image of a man who lies prone with his hands crossed before him.

The big effort spent in studying the Turin Shroud has produced a huge amount of observations and features describing it. Unfortunately this knowledge is not well classified and structured, and it is frequently presented as ordered lists or tables of properties of the archaeological object.

This paper proposes a modeling approach borrowed from systems engineering and computer science, to be applied to the structuring of the Turin Shroud knowledge representation. The scope of the research modeling presented in the paper includes those features related to the image, but includes, although incompletely, other features as well.

The model shows the features allocated to the different parts of the object, giving a quick view of the Turin Shroud breadth of properties. Further organizing the features in this model makes it easier to identify inconsistent features, missing features and redundant features. The features model presented here may be a framework for adding the new features to be discovered in future observations and experiments of the Turin Shroud.

I very much like the way many features are not overstated. This takes discipline. For instance:

. . . Other experiments show that the shading of the TS image has a correlation with expected cloth-body distances as the shading produced by an unknown image formation mechanism actuating on a cloth draping over a body shape [6].

How much better is this than saying that the shading represents distance? For instance, I think it represents shape. It could be distance. But no one has ever shown me that it is, in fact, distance. The word “correlation” works for me.

I wonder, though, how can we get past the controversy and the presumptions about imaging or authenticity that some features imply? For instance:

No image under bloodstains. As the feature described previously this absence, that needs to be confirmed [21], suggests than the blood images where present on the cloth before the body image formation mechanism actuated on the TS cloth.

How do we call this a feature? System engineering principles are loath to accept ambiguity.

It is a great idea.  It will take a lot of work.

New Paper on the Shroud of Arquata

not produced by apparent drawings or painting

used sophisticated optical and spectroscopic non-invasive technologies


The paper by P. Di Lazzaro, M. Guarneri, D. Murra, V. Spizzichino, M. Missori, V. Piraccini, A. Mencattini and A. Danielis is available at:

Academia   &   ENEA’s Open Archives.

An English version is in the works. In the meantime:

1)  There is an English abstract:

In this report we summarize the main results of the first in-depth measurement of the Shroud of Arquata, a 1:1 copy of the Shroud of Turin which dates back to 1653. The most peculiar feature of the Shroud of Arquata is the front and back human footprint which is not produced by apparent drawings or painting as in the other copies of the Shroud. In the frame of an agreement between the City of Arquata, the Technical Unit Application of Radiation of the ENEA Centre of Frascati and the Institute of Complex Systems of CNR, we used sophisticated optical and spectroscopic non-invasive technologies, suitable to the study of Cultural Heritage.

The elaboration of experimental results allowed to obtain scientific data apt to suggest the possible origins of the double image, of the stains simulating blood and of the false patches embedded on the Shroud of Arquata.

In addition, the experimental data allowed to develop a plan for the proper long-term conservation of the Shroud of Arquata.

2) and you can translate the paper into English with Bing or Google translation tools by converting it to an editable Word (doc or docx) file and then pasting the text into the translation tool. Here, for example, are three translated paragraphs from the Introduction:

During the restoration of the church of S. Francesco at Borgo di Arquata del Tronto , in the province of Ascoli Piceno , in 1980 is found a double urn of gilded wood , hidden in the niche of an altar . Inside there is a large sheet folded and a scroll. On the sheet is visible footprint front and back of a human body , and the center is the word ‘ EXTRACTVM AB ORIGINAL ‘ (extract from the original, which is sanctified by direct contact with the real relic ) .

It is a copy in 1: 1 scale of the Shroud of Turin , the most valuable and controversial relic of Christendom [ 1 ] . Copying Arquata accurately reproduces the image and stains on the Shroud of Turin : in addition to the double human footprint are noticed reddish spots in the side , feet and head , the drawings that recall the patches corresponding to burns inflicted to the Shroud Turin by fire in 1532 , and even water stains .

However , there is one important difference between the Shroud of Arquata and the other 50 copies of the Turin Shroud survived to our times [ 2 ] : at first glance , the impression you do not recognize human brush strokes , nor drawings , nor anatomy of the face and body . Conversely , the origin of painting and art of the other copies of the Shroud is evident even at a superficial analysis [ 2 , 3 ] .

Should a St. Louis Conference Paper be Withdrawn?

Please, somebody who was there, tell me you noticed!

imageA reader wanted to know if I had seen Hugh Farey’s comment about Jeffrey Skurka’s presentation?  No, I had not. 

Should it not be withdrawn?, he or she wondered.

Well, now I have read it. And I read, as well, Piero’s comment referenced by Hugh (which is reproduced below). Well done, Piero!

First, here is Hugh’s comment:

Piero, you appear to be absolutely correct. I cannot be sure what the “measured age” of 106.8+/- 0.6% refers to, but the comment “reported result indicates an age of post 0 BP” means that the book was found to have been made after 1950, which is, by convention 0 BP.

The page on the [right] of slide 83 of Sturka’s presentation is a general Explanation Sheet, which shows how a normal test is calibrated. it takes, for example, a date of 2400 +/- 60 BP, and shows how it correlates, on the chart below, to a calendar date of 530 BC to 390 BC. Presumably the same sheet accompanied every report the Dating Company made. In a feat of quite staggering incompetence, Jeffrey Skurka has

1) assumed that the illustration on the Explanation Sheet actually refers to the radiocarbon test report itself,

2) assumed that a calculated radiocarbon date of 2400 BP in fact means a calendar date of 2400 AD.

At the 2014 conference where he presented this, there were a number of very distinguished, and very experienced physicists, who might have been looking out for evidence of a 2400 AD radiocarbon dating result having read about it in the abstract beforehand.

Please, somebody who was there, tell me you noticed!

Noticed?  With 112 PowerPoint charts attempted in half an hour? Strange topics like spontaneous human combustion and shrunken skulls?  High-speculation and the paranormal posing as science? I don’t think anyone was paying attention anymore by chart 83.  I wondered if we even saw chart 83? If so, what was said? I could go to the tape (see the 32 minute mark of what was a 40 minute talk – we did see it) but that isn’t the real question. The real question is should this presentation stand?

Here is what I think before a second cup of morning coffee:

  1. Jeffrey should fix the mistake and resubmit his presentation.
  2. In the meantime, should withdraw the paper and not at the next update cycle, but now. Simply annotating the list of papers is insufficient in that search engines don’t pick up warnings that way.
  3. The YouTube of the presentation should similarly be withdrawn by Shroud University.
  4. The conference program, still online, should be annotated with the fact that the paper contains a serious mistake and that it has been withdrawn pending correction.

Too harsh?  Too embarrassing?  Unnecessary?

Here is Piero’s comment that deals with more than just the above problem:

Here I want to consider another time the following questionable statement
(taken from the words by Siefker) :
>The body image would lose its optical properties, a result of alignment being lost
over time possibly just by moving the cloth through earth’s magnetic field
such as when the cloth is being transported.
(“The Enigma of the Apparent Age of the Shroud of Turin … etc. …”, slide 67 of 112)

because, in my opinion, this is a too vague hypothesis …
Where is the true proof on linen fibrils ?
Where are inherent experiments or useful references ?

Yesterday I didn’t consider the questions:
What were the exact conditions during the transport of the relic to/from Montevergine (Avellino)?
Who was the responsible about the (possible) photographic controls?

But I believe that I answered to the following question:
Where are the exact comparisons on inherent images?

because I indicated as irrelevant the possible comparison
and this was due to the inherent (probable) small magnitude
for the presumed effects…
— — —
Here the last phrase (of the same slide):
>Also, until confirmed the body image should be protected from any extraneous
magnetic fields such as magnets and electrical transformers.

So …
Which kind of magnetic fields were present during controls of 1978
(and subsequent “manipulations”)?

Another strange thing = slide 65 of 112 :
“The Resurrection Event” = “The electric current is running along
the threads of the linen cloth and normal to the surface
as is the magnetic field …”
In normal conditions electric current doesn’t run along
threads of linen because linen is an insulating material.
So, Siefker had not specified in a clear manner what
were these particular conditions.
In short, there is not this useful explanation…
Here the last curious thing.
Observing the document that appears on the slide 83 of 112
we can read:
Measured C14 age = 106.8 (and then this is not 2400 !)
Then : near 100 years old = “modern”… as you can easily read in that paper.
Perhaps that result was a “good approximation” for radiocarbon dating a modern book…
On the other side (see at right side of this slide) there was only a simple explanation about the Dendro-Calibration
( = Calibration of Radiocarbon Age to Calendar Years…) with an example…
Am I wrong in my conclusion?
I hope in your attention…

Papers by the Skeptic of STURP

clip_image001Just yesterday, Joseph S. Accetta, who presented Speculations on the 14th Century Origins of the Turin Shroud (Paper and PowerPoint Presentation) uploaded five papers at  (Notice differences in titles)

They warrant your attention and your consideration.

    These paragraphs caught my attention in Joseph’s commentary on Science and the Shroud:

The Shroud has thus far eluded mainstream scientific scrutiny for several reasons; (After all its just a piece of medieval linen with an image on it. How interesting could it be?) It’s value to mainstream science is limited and the second because of the extremely limited access is there is a paucity of subject material on which to do physical investigations. Given full access to contemporary techniques, the 1978 investigations would pale in significance. So Shroud “science” proceeds in a very unorthodox fashion. Mainstream science does not deal with non-mainstream issues very well. Science usually has paradigms and precursors to guide its path. There are few here.

So to cast the cloth into the domain of mainstream arts and science for the moment it is, at best, of modest archeological and historical interest, perhaps of considerable scriptural/theological interest (although there is no explicit mention of an image in scripture) of interest to the art historians and art technologists and image scientists. That it is a manifestation of as yet a totally unknown “physics of resurrection” is at best pure speculation and at worst an oxymoron. God does whatever he wants whenever he wants for whatever purpose he deems. He has no mandate to render explanations to our hopelessly inadequate intellectual frameworks. These are matters for theologians to deal with.

Lastly, I have of late taken the view that if the Shroud is a 14th century creation then it must be accounted for within the technological, historic and social circumstances of that era. This “if, then” proposition leads me to assert, for a number of compelling reasons, that the image is the remnant of a high quality 14th century woodprint. I have documented this assertion in an accompanying paper entitled” Probable Origins of a 14th Century Shroud Image.

BTW:  Back in June of last year we looked at some work by Joseph Accetta that was discovered by Colin Berry. See Good 3D from a conventional photograph

Here is the video of Joseph Accetta’s presentation in St. Louis:

Paul Maloney’s St. Louis Paper (The Shroud is not a painting)

This list, then, and the complexity it represents, itself becomes a powerful argument
against the position that the Shroud was a painting.
No artist ever painted such a complex depiction of the Crucified.

imageMUST READ:  You are not going to be able to read this in twenty minutes. You can’t even skim it that quickly. This 81-and=then-some page paper, Joseph M. Gambescia, M.D. and the Position of the Feet on the Shroud of Turin. The History of an Investigation  by Paul C. Maloney is too important and two informative to to not be read carefully including the endnotes. Here is a sampling:

Page 4:

It was a dreary, rainy afternoon, April 7, 1980. I should have had the light on in my study but I didn’t because I was in a melancholy mood. Then the phone rang. I recognized that baritone voice on the other end of the line and knew I was talking to Hershel Shanks, founder and editor of the world’s largest circulating biblical archaeology magazine, The Biblical Archaeology Review, calling from Washington, D.C.

Hershel wanted me to write an article on the Shroud for the magazine. “But, Hershel, I don’t know anything about the Shroud of Turin!”

Page 9:

It is important here to insert here that Dr. Gambescia was not rejecting the work of the French physician, Dr. Pierre Barbet; he was actually building upon Barbet’s work. Neither was Dr. Gambescia rejecting the special interpretation of the arms and their attendant blood flows proposed by the late Mons. Giulio Ricci. His proposal, however, does suggest an interpretation different from that proposed for the blood flows for the feet than that offered by Mons. Giulio Ricci. It is this new interpretation that we are introducing for further research by the medical profession to be discussed alongside the earlier discussions for the feet. . . .

Pages 80 and 81:

A List of the Shroud’s Anomalies: Problems with the Painting Hypothesis

Finally, if it is argued that an artist did paint the original Shroud—as this view has most forcefully been argued by the late Dr. Walter C. McCrone in so many of his publications—the Shroud now becomes most unique. We may therefore conclude this paper with a convenient list of anomalies, as they would become if a singular artist painted the original:

1. Artists down through the ages have presented the Crucified wearing a crown of thorns. The Shroud shows the Man of the Shroud with a “cap” of thorns.

2. Artists have always depicted the Man of the Shroud with no rope holding the torso against the stipes of the Cross. The Shroud appears to support the view that a rope pulled the torso back to hold it against the upright (stipes) of the cross.

3. Artists have traditionally rendered the Crucified with nails through the palms of the hands. The Shroud shows them to be through the wrists.

4. Artists have long painted the Crucified showing the arms in a “Y” type of stance. But Mons. Giulio Ricci, who studied this in detail, shows that the right arm was likely bent at a right angle, whereas the left was in the “Y” position.

5. Artists have followed several different paths in rendering the feet. Sometimes they show the feet (especially in crucifixes) with the right foot up against the stipes of the cross, and the left nailed atop the right—all with one nail. At other times they have depicted the left against the stipes with the right atop the left foot—again, all with one nail. And sometimes the two feet are nailed side-by-side on a slanted platform (suppedaneum). This latter view is common in Eastern Byzantine, Greek, and Russian Orthodox crucifixes. Gambescia’s view would require two nails, one going through front of the ankle of the right foot to anchor it directly to the stipes, with the left foot nailed atop the center of the right using a single nail leaving the left foot free to swivel.

This list, then, and the complexity it represents, itself becomes a powerful argument against the position that the Shroud was a painting. No artist ever painted such a complex depiction of the Crucified. Yet, students of the history of art—interested especially in cladistics—can now actually see the Shroud as the beginning of a “tree of descent” where one can study just how the many painted views of the Crucified diverged over the centuries, influenced by various translations of the New Testament in conjunction with markings on the Shroud itself and the heavy pressure of tradition in numerous different geographical locales. But that would be the subject of another paper.

Taking comfort in significant endnotes:

Nevertheless, my request to Dr. Adler was precisely because of my concern regarding pareidolia. In my case, I wanted to be absolutely certain that the features discussed in this paper could be seen easily by the human eye. This problem is well illustrated in Ray Rogers review of Mark Antonacci’s book, Resurrection of the Shroud wherein he states:

With regard to other images on the Shroud, few of us can see them. "I think I can see" is not a substitute for an observation, and observations must be confirmed. When Fr. Francis Filas (deceased) claimed he saw the coins, lituus and all, he was looking at specific photographic prints. He had many prints produced at increasing contrast. Finally, all that was left was strings of dots. It took a numismatist who was familiar with ancient Roman coins weeks to "see" the lituus in those photographs. Your mind tries to make sense out of any "patterns" your eye can see. Psychologists have a lot of effort invested in studying such phenomena… It is dangerous to build a scientific theory on such shaky foundations. Your mind tends to see what it expects and/or wants to see. (Rogers’ review, p. 15, available at:

The ever present danger of pareidolia and other related issues covered in this extensive endnote (including such problems associated with photo-lithography in the publication process; photo flipflopping [see 13.a below]; cropping, [see 13.a below] etc.) promoted my extreme caution when I asked of Dr. Adler this special favor to examine the Shroud in person in June 1997 to verify whether or not the markings that had been digitally enhanced were there and could be seen without digital enhancement. This footnote, then, not only covers pareidolia, but also other problems that are not technically defined as pareidolia.

New Paper on the crucifixion of the Turin Shroud man

clip_image001Giulio Fanti writes: “I am pleased to announce that a new paper on the TS has been published in Injury Journal [Volume 45, Supplement 6, Pages S142-S148 (December 2014), Update in Traumatology: The Italian Perspective].

The paper, How was the Turin Shroud Man crucified? is by M. Bevilacqua, G. Fanti, M. D’Arienzo, A. Porzionato, V. Macchi and R. De Caro. The full paper is available online at this time.

The abstract reads:

As the literature is not exhaustive with reference to the way the Turin Shroud (TS) Man was crucified, and it is not easy to draw significant information from only a “photograph” of a man on a linen sheet, this study tries to add some detail on this issue based on both image processing of high resolution photos of the TS and on experimental tests on arms and legs of human cadavers.

With regard to the TS Man hands, a first hypothesis states that the left hand of the TS Man was nailed twice at two different anatomical sites: the midcarpal joint medially to the pisiform between the lunate/pyramidal and capitate/uncinate bones (Destot’s space) and the radiocarpal joint between the radio, lunate and scaphoid; also the right hand would have been nailed twice. A second hypothesis, preferred by the authors, states that the hands were nailed only once in the Destot’s space with partial lesion of the ulnar nerve and flexion of the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumbs.

clip_image001With regard to the TS Man feet, the imprint of the sole of the right foot leads to the conclusion that TS Man suffered a dislocation at the ankle just before the nailing. The entrance hole of the nail on the right foot is a few inches from the ankle, and excludes a double nailing. The nail has been driven between the tarsal bones.

The TS Man suffered the following tortures during crucifixion: a very serious and widespread causalgia due to total paralysis of the upper right limb (paradoxical causalgia); a nailing of the left wrist with damage to the ulnar nerve; a similar nailing of the right wrist; and a nailing to both feet using one only nail that injured the plantaris medialis nerves.

The respiratory limitation was probably not sufficient to cause death by asphyxiation. Also considering the hypovolemia produced by scourging and the many other tortures detectable on the TS, the principal cause of death can be attributed to a myocardial infarction.

Given that this a Science Direct site, you may want to print a copy or put a copy in SkyDrive or Google Drive for future reference.