Paper Chase: New observations on the Sudarium of Oviedo

. . . In the back of the Man of the Shroud the hair is apparently arranged in a “ponytail”
shape. . . .  A simpler and more probable explanation is provided by Barta: the “ponytail”
is the result of the use of the Sudarium of Oviedo which was placed and sewed
around the hair in this area. . . .

imageI’ve always found accounts of the coincidences between the Sudarium of Oviedo and the shroud fascinating. Never, however, have I crawled through the details as carefully as I should have.  This paper afforded me a chance to begin that process. This St. Louis conference paper is fascinating. It is worth your time to carefully read New Discoveries On The Sudarium Of Oviedo by César Barta, Rodrigo Álvarez, Almudena Ordóñez, Alfonso Sánchez and Jesús García

Piture: Location of measurement spots on the reverse side of the Sudarium of Oviedo.
The reference numbers are listed in Table III, in the "label" column

I cheat! I jump to conclusions first. But that’s okay as long as I then read the whole paper:

The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin are two relics attributed to Jesus Christ that show a series of amazing coincidences previously described. These similarities suggest that both cloths were used by the same personality.

In this contribution, we describe the X-ray fluorescence analysis performed on the Sudarium and we highlight a new fascinating coincidence with the Shroud and with the place of the Passion. Among the chemical elements detected, the concentration of Ca is the most reliable one. It is associated to soil dust and it shows a significantly higher presence in the areas with bloody stains. This fact allows us to conclude that the main part of the Ca located in the stained areas was fixed to the cloth when the physiological fluids were still fresh or soon after. As the stains have been correlated with the anatomical part of the deceased man, the amount of Ca can also be related with his anatomical features. The highest content of Ca is observed close to the tip of the nose, indicating unexpected soil dirt in this part of the anatomy. A particular presence of dust was also found in the same place in the Shroud providing a new and astonishing coincidence between both cloths.

The low concentration of Sr traces in the Sudarium, even lower in the stained areas, matches also well with the type of limestone characteristic from the Calvary in Jerusalem.

This new finding complements two other recently publicized: The ponytail shape of the Man of the Shroud hair, whose origin is justified by the use of the Sudarium of Oviedo and the alleged presence of a scourge mark in this cloth.

Such a gathering of evidences strengthens the tradition that both cloths have wrapped the same body, that of Jesus of Nazareth.

Paper Chase: The Second Face Defended

Realizing how easily I had accepted the second image of a face discovery
and eventually realizing the need for questioning such discoveries
was one of the reasons  I decided to actively blog.

imageThe paper in question from the St. Louis Conference is About the Second Image of Face Detected on the Turin Shroud  by Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolo (Read by Joseph G. Marino).

    Maybe if Giulio had been there or maybe if there had been a PowerPoint it might have been more interesting. It’s not that there is anything wrong with the paper; there isn’t. It’s just that . . . let’s let an ellipses-for-adjectives abstract of the abstract explain why:

A second faint image of the face of the Turin Shroud has been discovered in 2004 . . .  but a recent paper has questioned . . . its presence. . .  . it explained those patterns with pareidolia and Gestalt effects of the human perception . . .  in a not proper way. This paper both discusses these results showing why the image processing used in that paper seems not proper to sustain its thesis and presents additional image processing for pattern recognition.

imageIn other words the 2004 discovery of a second face on the backside of the cloth had been shot down in a peer reviewed journal paper, Pattern recognition after image processing of low-contrast images, the case of the Shroud of Turin by Paolo Di Lazzaro, Daniele Murra and Barrie Schwortz. The paper is sadly behind a pay wall at Science Direct but we have the abstract and some highlights:


We discuss the potentially misleading effect of software techniques for elaborating low-contrast images. In particular, we present the example of the stains embedded into one of the most studied archeological objects in history, the Shroud of Turin. We show for the first time that image processing of both old and recent photographs of the Shroud may lead some researchers to perceive inscriptions and patterns that do not actually exist, confirming that there is a narrow boundary between image enhancement and manipulation.


► The limited static contrast of our eyes may render problematic the perception of low-contrast images.

► Brain’s ability to retrieve incomplete information interpret false image pixels after image processing.

► Image processing of Shroud photographs leads to perceive patterns that do not actually exist.

► There is a narrow line between enhancement and manipulation of low-contrast images.

Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolo are fighting back or at least asking us to reserve judgment for awhile:

Before to reach a conclusion in agreement to Ref. [10] it will necessary a sure and objective demonstration that the second fainter face detected in Ref. [1] is really a trick of the human perception. Meanwhile, in agreement with various TS experts, see Refs. [23 – 26], we consider credible the presence of a second image of face on the back side of the TS. The analysis of the UV photo of face made by Turin Archdiocese in 2002 and not yet made available to the scientific community will help to confirm this fact.

Those references being:

-1. G. Fanti, R. Maggiolo: The double superficiality of the frontal image of the Turin Shroud, (J. of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics, volume 6, issue 6, 2004, pages 491- 503, April 2004).

-10. P. Di Lazzaro, D. Murra, B. Schwortz , Pattern recognition after image processing of lowcontrast images, the case of the Shroud of Turin, (Pattern Recognition J., available online 31 December 2012).

-23. J. P. Jackson, Does the Shroud of Turin show us the Resurrection?, (Biblia y Fé, 1998).

-24. G. Fanti, et al. (24 authors): Evidences for Testing Hypotheses about the Body Image Formation of The Turin Shroud, (III Int. Conf. on the Shroud of Turin: Dallas, Texas, 2005), accessed January 31, 2013.

-25. G. Fanti, J.A. Botella, F. Crosilla, F. Lattarulo, N. Svensson, R. Schneider, A.D. Whanger, List of Evidences of the Turin Shroud, (Int. Workshop on the Scientific Approach to the Acheiropoietos Images, ENEA Frascati, Italy, (2010).

-26. O. Scheuermann, Turiner Tuschbold aufgestrahlt?, (VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrucken Deutchland, 2007).

Paper Chase: A critical (Re)evaluation of the Shroud of Turin blood data by Kelly Kearse

There are only 109 charts in the PowerPoint

Barrie Schwortz also wrote in A Personal Report on the 2014 St. Louis Conference:

imageOne of my favorite conference papers was the special presentation by Kelly Kearse see photo at right) titled, “A Critical (Re)evaluation of the Shroud of Turin Blood Data.” After the death of Al Adler in 2000, and for more than a decade, no credible credible blood or DNA experts remained actively actively involved in Shroud research. Then, in 2012, Kelly Kearse came on the scene and published the first of his blood blood papers that year (we have published four more since). Not only has he brought us his expertise in this critical area of Shroud research, but equally as important is the amazing ability he brings to make these complex issues understandable to everyone. Perhaps it is because he now uses his Ph.D. to teach high school science and has to make the materials interesting and understandable to younger folks. In the end, I guess I liked his paper because I actually understood it! I also overheard Mark Borkan tell Kelly at the end of his talk that he had “…learned more about the blood in that 30 minute presentation than in all the personal conversations he had had directly with Al Adler.” Now that is a compliment!

Read A critical (Re)evaluation of the Shroud of Turin blood data: strength of evidence in the characterization of the bloodstains (Paper) and the PowerPoint Presentation. I didn’t recall that there were 109 charts. It was just too interesting to notice. Maybe he skipped a couple charts.

And what a pleasure it was to meet Kelly.

Paper Chase: New paper by Jos Verhulst on Rubens’ Descent from the Cross

imageThe paper, The esoteric content of The Descent from the Cross (P.P.Rubens 1612; Our Lady’s Cathedral, Antwerp) – Part I has just been uploaded to The 22 page paper is interesting and richly illustrated:

Rubens depicts the retrievement of Christ’s body from the cross upon a white shroud. A shroud is mentioned in the gospels, but only in connection with Christ’s tomb (John 19:40; 20:5-8). The scene of the descent of the cross is not described in the New Testament. Rubens was a devote christian. He knew his bible. The question arises why he so conspicuously placed a shroud at the core of his Descent from the Cross.

Contemplating the overall stage set on the painting, we notice that the outline of the shroud with the lifeless Christ seems to extend along the second diagonal of the painting (from top right to bottom left). The eight characters surrounding the shroud appear to be disposed along some oval or ellipse-like loop. The ellipse that seems to waver within the scene can indeed be drawn (figure 4) and it possesses some surprising properties.

Click on the above image to see an enlarged version.

This is interesting:

Horoscopes are embedded in many of Rubens’ religious paintings. He was acquainted with a rather elaborated Christian chronology that, apparently, was transmitted throughout the ages and that goes back to the gospels (especially the gospel of John). As infuriating as the idea might seem, a current of underground teaching did indeed exist in Christianity from its very beginning and it played a major role in the history of Christianity and in Christian art. Chronological data are encoded in the gospels, especially in John. According to esoteric tradition, Christ’s death and resurrection happened on Friday, April 3, 33 AD, and Sunday, April 5, 33 AD (Julian calendar), respectively.

FYI:  The Descent from the Cross (Rubens) in Wikipedia

Paper Chase: The origin of Rogers’ Raes and C14 samples by Thibault Heimburger

In view of the suggestion yesterday in a paper by Giorgio Bracaglia that The Raes samples that Rogers used had been switched it seems like a good time to examine the St. Louis presentation by Thibault Heimburger, The origin of Rogers’ Raes and C14 samples along with his PowerPoint Presentation.

Here is a chart that addresses that very point:


Here is the concluding PP chart from Thibault’s talk:


*The paper at HSG has been locked up with a password. Apparently and unfortunately, it was not supposed to have been released.

Newly Published Paper: Othon de La Roche and the Shroud by Alessandro Piana

imageA paper, Othon de La Roche and the Shroud: An hypothesis between History and Historiography by Alessandro Piana (pictured) has just been published at The introduction reads:

From the fourteenth century, when the Shroud appeared in the French village of Lirey, there are no historical gaps. Unfortunately, there isn’t a tradition of the precise way in which Geoffroy I de Charny has come into possession of an object of such importance [1]. Although the period prior to the fourteenth century we have no certain news as well as that of the centuries that follow, not for this has ceased to carry out research and, most importantly, does not mean that we must hold closed adversely research on the ancient history of the Shroud, especially considering the significant acquisitions that direct examination have over the years accumulated [2]. Even if it is accepted that the Turin Shroud and the cloth observed in Constantinople by the crusader knight Robert de Clari [3] (“Among other astonishing things there is a church called Saint Mary of Blacherne, where there is the sydoines (Shroud), in which Our Lord Jesus was wrapped and that every Holy Friday is lifted up vertically, so that the shape of Our Lord could be seen very well” [4].) were one and the same object, there still difficulties remain in establishing a chronology for the relic during the historical gap of more or less one hundred and fifty years, from 1204 in Constantinople to its reappearance in Lirey in the fourteenth century. Different hypotheses have been formulated [5].

In this paper, the author presents an additional hypothesis in an attempt to explain that intervening period during which the Shroud completely disappeared.

The paper goes from there through . . .


and concludes . . .

A set of elements make suppose transit of the Shroud in Athens, thank to Othon de La Roche, at the beginning of thirteenth century. To this Burgundy noble family are linked a series of attestations that, if further confirmed, would help to set Shroud arrival in Europe a long time before the middle of fourteenth century. At present this hypothesis appears the most likely, well-documented and able to give a series of ideas for further researches that other hypothesis cannot suggest. This work has to be considered as the seeds of ongoing research, not the end but just the beginning.

Decrypted: Iconosteganalysist or Iconocryptanalyst

imageFive days ago, close reader and frequent commenter Max Patrick Hamon wrote:

You are totally entitled to deny my expertise as iconosteganalysist or iconocryptanalyst. This is fair enough since I haven’t had time to show you much so far and you do seem not to know the first thing what iconosteganalysis and iconocryptanalysis are all about.

Here are attached the first three pages of a study still in progress on the Hungarian Pray Ms-Turin Shroud connection; this just to give you an idea of what iconosteganalysis/iconocryptanalysis is all about.

New approaches to the Turin Shroud and existing iconographical, literary and archaeological documents are badly needed to go out of the authenticist-anti-authenticist dead end.

Hope it can help.

I don’t recall denying Max’s expertise. I can’t. I don’t know what those words mean. I checked a couple of dictionaries on my bookcase and also went online. Nothing! I called the library.

“Honey. . .” (all South Carolina lady librarians call everyone honey) “Are you maybe talking about someone who finds secret codes in icons?” the librarian asked, with a long drawn out “maybe” that sounded like “ma bay.”

Yes, yes, of course. I do see something of the meaning of one of those words. Which one, now? I intended to write back to Max wondering when the rest of the paper would arrive. Before I did I saw this comment yesterday:

BTW Dan, I emailed you on October 30, 2014 I emailed you the first three pages of a research paper still in progress entitled: The Hungarian Pray Ms-Turin Shroud connection: MORE THAN MEET THE NON-INITIATED EYE…Or An Iconosteganalysis

I had you to be fair play enough to publish them in your blog.You haven’t. WHY?

And Louis chimed in begging me to publish the first three pages while we await the rest of it. So HERE IT IS. (I had to convert it from a DOCX to a PDF. I hope in doing so that I didn’t mess up the iconocryptanalysis in any way.)

New Paper: The Face of the Shroud in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment?

This past week, Jos Verhulst uploaded a paper to entitled, The Embedment of the Face on the Shroud of Turin in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment: A corroboration of the Dayvault hypothesis.

The paper is interesting. And I notice if I stand back a few feet, squint and fiddle with the angle of the screen on my laptop, then I almost think I almost see the face from the shroud portrayed in the fresco. I don’t mean to sound fatuous. I’m saying, maybe it’s me. This paper helps me grasp the idea.


Figure 1: The Dayvault hypothesis in a nutshell. The fresco has the shape of a rectangle surmounted by two lunettes. According to the hypothesis, these eyebrow-shaped lunettes correspond to the eyes of the Man of the Shroud. The pear-shaped central cluster encompassing Christ and his mother, with Saint Lawrence and Saint Bartholomew at their feet, corresponds to the nose. . . . (emphasis mine)

I just don’t have the artist’s eye. I would have never seen these lines:


Figure 10 : The encodement of the structure of the Shroud fabric in Michelangelo’s Last Judgement. The position of the centre fold is indicated by the skin held by Saint Bartholomew. Together with the yellow-dressed‘assistant saint’ behind him, Saint Bartholomew looks (blue line) at the index finger of the saint in green who points at the position of the related primeval fold (see figure 6). The symmetry axis of Saint Lawrence’s grid, together with the tilaka’s (purple points) of Saint John, Saint Lawrence’s ‘assistant saint’ in yellow, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Peter, form a V-shape corresponding to the herringbone-pattern of the Shroud fabric (orange lines). The median axis(green line) of this V-shape is indicated by the hands of Christ. Saint Lawrence holds his grid in a very peculiar way that reflects the weaving structure (figure11) of the Shroud: his arm overarches three cross bars of his gridiron, just as a warp thread overarches three weft threads in the fabric of the Shroud.

Something to think about.

Publishing Shroud of Turin Papers on

According to Wikipedia, “ is a social networking website for
academics. It was launched in September 2008 and the site now  has over
11 million registered users as of 2014. The platform can be used  to share papers,
monitor their impact, and follow the research in a particular field.

imageShroud of Turin papers are being published everywhere: peer-reviewed journals, open-access journals, pay-to-play journals and on all manner of websites.  Many conferences papers have been published on special conference websites as was the case for the Ohio State University conference in 2008 and the Frascati conference in 2010. In the past, many conference papers were published in and now we learn that papers from the St. Louis conference will be published there as well; that’s wonderful!

Other shroud-related papers, prepared for any number of reasons get published on all manner of websites.

  • ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development hosts papers such as The Conservation of the Shroud of Turin: Optical Studies by Paolo Di Lazzaro, Daniele Murra, Antonino Santoni and Enrico Nichelatti.
  • Dozens upon dozens of papers (in English) are published at such sites as and
  • John and Rebecca Jackson’s Shroud Center of Colorado has a few papers. 
  • David Rolfe’s Shroud Enigma site has some as well.
  • So, too, does Pam Moon’s Shroud of Turin Exhibition site.
  • This blog has a number.

And these are just the papers in English.

One site, in particular, is becoming a goto site for publishing shroud-related papers. It is increasingly popular with authors of papers because they can self-publish (upload) and make their papers instantly available. Authors can track readership. They can revise papers, even make instant corrections, all without having to wait for update schedules. has “Follow” facilities that allow anyone to follow the works of specific authors as well as papers on particular topics. For instance, because I follow the shroud, when Louis C. de Figueiredo published a paper, Professor Giulio Fanti discusses the controversies in the realm of Shroud studies, I knew about it within minutes. It was perhaps connectivity overkill, but my iPhone beeped to let me know about it. Helpfully, Louis also posted a notice on this blog.

Authors who publish on may, if they wish to do so, provide an email address or choose to rely on’s private messaging facilities – or neither. is free. It’s easy. It’s fast. It’s powerful. But do read the article by Menachem Wecker in Vitae: Should You Share Your Research on

[High readership numbers] are enough to convince many scholars looking to develop an audience. Heidi Campbell, associate professor of communication at Texas A&M University, is among them. Don’t jump on to expecting to find vibrant discussions or active networkers, she says. Think of it instead as a “great way to share my work and let others know about my scholarship.”

“While it has not been that useful for me as a social-networking tool or for building collaborations,” she says, “it offers some great features that have spread the word about my work to a broader audience beyond my subfield. I think it has helped raise my public profile as a scholar online.”’s related topic indexing helps, too. Sooner or later, if you are reading about Byzantine coins, for instance, you will encounter a list of topics that suggests you might also be interested in the Shroud of Turin – sort of like the way Amazon recommends books based on what you are reading.

It should increase readership.

Every page in the Academia site has a search box. Moreover, Google and other search engines view this site as a major site (Alexa ranks it as 1 of the top 1000 websites in the world).

The header for each report contains buttons for viewing the author profile, displaying the abstract of the paper, tweeting a message about the paper, bookmarking the paper and downloading the paper to your computer. There is also a counter to show how many times the paper has been viewed, as can be seen in this example for a paper by Emanuela Marinelli from the 2012 Valencia Conference.




I say put your paper on and then put it someplace else like  The only exception may be if you are planning to publish your paper formally in a journal. In that case, check first.

Did we mention that on Academia you can follow an author?


What’s next?

SkyDrive from Microsoft and Google Drive are making  it even easier to publish papers. Just save papers as PDF files and decide if they will be public, private or available to a select group. Everyone can have their own storage.  Just sign up and each of these Internet giants will give you a recurring fifteen gigabytes of storage for free. That is enough for 1,000 typical shroud papers in PDF format. Want more space, it’s $1.99 per month for a hundred gigabytes, enough for 6,000 typical papers. And what about bandwidth. It is free.  Really! Bandwidth is bundled into the price.

Social media. Academic papers are moving there. Set up your own blog and store as many papers as you want. File space is cheap and bandwidth is free and unlimited.

The go-to choice for finding information these days is Google. Everybody Googles. And Google doesn’t care if a paper is on,, or somewhere in the clouds. There was a time when it took Google days to index a paper and they would only examine the first few pages. Now they will index a book length paper. And they get around to doing so in minutes

A St. Louis Paper Already Online: The Roman Flagrum . . .

This morning we learned that St. Louis conference papers will be published at, something I am especially pleased to learn. Later, Paulette wondered if some authors might also upload their papers at This, wonderfully, is already happening.  As the authors of one paper tell us:

The contents of this paper have been presented on the occasion of the international St. Louis Shroud Conference (The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science), held in St. Louis on October 9th-12th, 2014. The paper has been anticipated here, waiting for the official Proceedings.

imageThe paper is The hypotheses about the Roman flagrum that was used to scourge the Man of the Shroud. Some clarifications by Flavia Manservigi and Enrico Morin.

The authors tells us, as part of this fascinating paper:

In the Roman world many different instruments were used to inflict chastisements through flesh beating. The use of the different tools was determined by the gravity of the crime, but also by the social class of the prisoner and by its nationality.

The lowest level of this punishment was carried out in schools, against undisciplined children: in this case was used an instrument called ferula, which was a thin stick or a flat leather strip (Martial, Epigrammata, X, 62; 14, 79; Juvenal, Saturae, I, 15).

Another instrument which could be used for the domestic punishment was the so called virga (Juvenal, Saturae, VII, 210); in the case of serious crimes, it could become an instrument of death. It was a small rod made of elm or birch, which could be used singularly or joined together; in this form, virgae were also carried by the lictors as symbols of the juridical and administrative authority of the magistrates, because they were used to flog criminals (Cicero, In Verrem, 2, 5, 140; Livy, Ab Urbe conditam, II, 5; XXVI, 15-16; XXVIII, 29; XXIX, 9; Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, XVI, 30, 75; Acts of Apostles, 22, 24-29).

. . . and it goes on from there. Fascinating. Do read it.


St. Louis Papers to be Archived at

imageBarrie Schwortz reports on the STERA Facebook page:

Great News! The organizers of the recent St. Louis Shroud Conference have decided that, rather than creating and maintaining a separate website, they will have all the papers and presentations permanently archived on We are asking all participants to submit their final papers to us by December 15th so we can include them on a new St. Louis Conference page as part of our 19th Anniversary update on January 21, 2015. Watch for our last major update of the year in early December.

Great news, indeed.  Individual conference archives are always at risk. Over the years, the conference organization drifts away and no one is left to maintain the conference website and pay for storage space and bandwidth (although storage space is now cheap and bandwidth costs have all but disappeared except for large-scale video files). The issue is loving care, time consuming maintenance.

Barrie is simply the best.

New Paper: The Lirey Toga

“poets, chroniclers, knights and others who were involved tell their own stories
and, in so doing, illuminate this time in history, the Hundred Years War,
when a most extraordinary and important story [of the shroud] unfolds”

imageDavid Day writes:

I would like to draw your attention to a narrative I have recently placed online called: The Lirey Toga.

This is the result of research into my ancestors, the De Noyers, and their involvement with the Holy Shroud, later known as the Shroud of Turin, when it was in France during the Hundred Years War.

While carrying out this work many links came to light between the Holy Shroud and Joan of Arc culminating in a remarkable conclusion concerning the Holy Shroud itself.

It is interesting, well written and informative. I am reminded of Daniel Scavone’s several papers in which he argues that emerging knowledge in Western Europe about the Holy Shroud in Constantinople, the Mandylion, inspired the legends of the Holy Grail.  Some papers, I think,  to read once again on an autumn Sunday afternoon.

A you-should-get-the-point sample from about midpoint:

. . . Does Joan of Arc ever set eyes on the Holy Shroud? Therein lies a Rembrandt or
a Van Dyke painting. Reluctantly, I believe the answer has to be that she did not since such an occasion would, without doubt, have been recorded.

However, apart from such fascinating conjecture, the proximity of the Holy Shroud to Joan’s birthplace of Domrémy lingers in the mind and I begin to wonder if there are other links between the Shroud and her life. . . .

David’s paper sort of draws to a conclusion around page 40 with this:

The essential features of the Arthurian saga, containing both historical and fictional elements, have been fulfilled in the life of Joan of Arc. All have become real: Excalibur and Joan of Arc’s sword from the church of Sainte Catherine of Fierbois. There are the several Avallon links via the families associated with caring for the Holy Shroud and, especially, Joan’s riding out of Avallon on the way from Vaucouleurs to Chinon. There are the dramatic similarities between Lançelot and Alençon. There is the route of military confrontation followed by both Joan of Arc and Arthur along the Loire with both ending up in Burgundy. Furthermore, both are betrayed. What Arthur does in history and fiction, Joan of Arc does in reality. I fully believe that her realisation of Galahad makes the Holy Shroud, with which she has many links, the equivalent in her life of the Holy Grail. This being the case, since all the other main features of the Arthurian saga have been realised, the Holy Grail itself is now actualised in the form of the Holy Shroud. In other words it too becomes real. This means it is, truly, the Holy Shroud of Jesus Christ.

Okay, one might believe so. But then:

imageThis immensely holy item, the Holy Shroud, has here been identified with the Holy Grail. Is this acceptable? Does the Holy Grail itself contain information that could provide the answer to this question? Here is something interesting. What is to be found in the twelve letters that constitute the three words, The Holy Grail? One word that can be made if the letters are reconstituted is, LIREY. Among the remainder of letters a second word stands out and the letters are in the correct order. The word is, TOGA, defined, and so similar to the Shroud, as a long piece of cloth worn wrapped around the body. The Holy Grail transmutes itself into the Lirey Toga, a garment worn by a living Roman at the time of Christ. How appropriate considering Christ’s miraculous Resurrection.

Do read it. You will learn a lot about and from the . . .

poets, chroniclers, knights and others who were involved tell their own stories and, in so doing, illuminate this time in history, the Hundred Years War, when a most extraordinary and important story unfolds.

A Significant Article by Charles Freeman in History Today

Charles is a regular and frequent participant in this blog. He has written, The Origins of the Shroud of Turin being published in History Today (Volume: 64 Issue: 11 2014)

imageCharles Freeman, surprised by the lack of research into one of the great unsolved mysteries, reveals for the first time his groundbreaking examination into the creation of the venerated object.


When one sees the variety of depictions of the Shroud in the 16th and 17th centuries it is hard to see any other explanation for their vividness than that they were painted on the linen. . . . A study of the depictions of expositions in 1842 and 1868 suggests that serious deterioration of the images set in during the 19th century: it is symbolised by the replacement of the enormous crowds originally able to see the images from afar by the single-file observers of today’s framed Shroud within the cathedral. Each dramatised unfurling would cause the fragmentation of its painted surface, especially when one custom was for the crowds to throw rosaries at it (in the Tempesta engraving the outstretched hands of those awaiting their return can be seen).

While we are left with only the faint images of the original painting it remains an interesting question as to whether any pigments of the original paint still remain on the Shroud. The STURP team, which descended on Turin in 1978 with several tons of imaging equipment, removed a number of samples from different areas of the surface of the cloth with sticky tape, which, remarkably,  they were allowed to take back to the US for examination, without any requirement that they should be returned to Turin (they do not appear to be kept together in a single archive, hampering further research). A furious argument took place when an expert microscopist, Walter McCrone, who was given the tapes to examine, claimed that he had indeed found pigments, vermilion on the bloodstains and red ochre for the main part of the bodies. Although McCrone does not seem to have known this, vermilion is the pigment used to depict blood on other medieval painted linens, while red ochre is ubiquitous as a medieval pigment. McCrone dated the painting to the middle of the 14th century (ten years before the radiocarbon laboratories came to the same conclusion). . . .

Hat tip to Gian Marco Rinaldi

Out of Bari: The Shroud of Arquata in Contact with he Shroud of Turin

From the Charlotte, North Carolina Airport en route to St. Louis

imageRecently uploaded to Multidisciplinary study of the Shroud of Arquata, “extractum ab originali” by P. Di Lazzaro, A. Danielis, M. Guarneri, M. Missori, D. Murra, V. Piraccini, V. Spizzichino, S. Bollanti

An outline:

  1. The Shroud of Arquata, a touch of history
  2. Analyses of the cloth and stains
  3. U V induced fluorescence
  4. Imaging Topological Radar Scanner
  5. Laser Induced Fluorescence
  6. U V-visible-near infrared absolute reflectance
  7. Summary of the results
    . . . a touch of history:

1655: Parchment signed by the Bishop of Alba, stating that during the TS exposition in Turin on the 4th May1653, a copy of  the TS 20 hands long and 5 hands wide was put in contact with the . . .

To Revisit a Stochastic Process

To twice slay the slain,
[…] Is but labour in vain,
Unproductive of gain,
—"Monkeyana" from Punch, May 1861

Blogging is different than mid-nineteenth century satire. It is at once more interesting and less poetic.

Barrie Schwortz, in his latest update, highlighted a relatively new, fascinating paper, The Mysterious Coexistence of Bloodstains and Body Image on the Shroud of Turin Explained by a Stochastic Process by G. Fazio, Y. Clement and G. Mandaglio. The article was published in the Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry International Journal (Vol.14, No. 2) in June of 2014. Barrie noted that he has added the above link to appropriate lists of papers on his site.

If you missed it before (or you want to twice slay the slain) there are some interesting comments from when I blogged about this paper this past June in Paper Chase: A Natural Stochastic Process May Explain the Coexistence of Bloodstains and an Image on the Shroud of Turin. Read all 15 comments.

Within a day of the posting, Yannick Clément felt compelled to write, at some length, Clarification of the Stochastic Process Paper. It is important to read this along with the paper.

Thibault Heimburger was one of the people who had commented. That evoked this from Colin Berry (see Photomicrographs and Stochastic Imaging):

Thibault Heimburger is correct – Shroud photomicrographs lend no support to the notion of a ‘stochastic’ imaging mechanism.

And there is more. You can enter ‘stochastic’ in the blogs search field.

Threads photograph is inlined from Colin’s blog HERE. Colin captions the image: “The difference between those areas within the blue and red rectangles may possibly have theoretical significance as regards the mechanism of imaging (stochastic v deterministic, if you’ll pardon the jargon). Why? Read on…”

Paper Chase: New Paper by Tristan Casabianca

imageFrench philosopher and historian Professor Tristan Casabianca, in the Abstract of a paper for ATSI 2014 in Bari, writes:

In a topic as controversial as the shroud of Turin, it is always surprising to notice that there still exists a large area of consensus among scholars holding opposite opinions on the topic. According to the consensus view, neither science nor history can ever prove that the Turin Shroud shows signs of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. However, the reasons given for such an important claim are not convincing, especially in regard of recent developments in historiography and analytic philosophy.

The full paper, The Shroud of Turin, the Resurrection of Jesus and the Realm of Science: One View of the Cathedral, may be found at (uploaded two days ago).

Paper Chase: Kim Dreisbach in Dallas 2005

imageA paper by Fr. Kim Dreisbach archived in this blogspace was moved from one directory to another and thus links to it were broken. Barrie Schwortz tipped me off. It was good to be reminded about the paper:


A Comparison of Jesus’ burial shroud in John 20:7 (i.e. one among the othonia) & 12  testifying to His Resurrection and the face cloth of “Lazarus” (soudarion aka the Oviedo
Cloth ) in John 11 – a didactic narrative in which the latter serves as a “spy clue”
guaranteeing their own resurrection to members of the primitive Church.

by The Rev. Albert R. Dreisbach, jr.

Do read the paper. It contains gems like this:

Mozarabic Rite (6th century, Spain)

If one continues to wonder if Peter actually saw "images" on the Shroud, a confirmatory "Spy-clue" indicating same may well appear in the preface (i.e. illatio) of the Mozarabic rite for the Saturday after Easter:

"Peter ran with John to the tomb and saw the recent imprints (vestigia) of the dead and risen man on the linens. [Emphasis added.]

Pietro Savio translates vestigia as “imprints”, while Guscin indicates:

The first meaning can be quickly dismissed as totally inappropriate in the context, which leaves us with some kind of mark or sign of Christ, something clearly related to his death and resurrection. This would seem to suggest that Peter and John saw the blood (death) and the body image (resurrection). There is very little else that could be seen on the burial cloths.

As important as this definition may be, it would seem that "the" real key words for correctly deciphering this passage are the dead and risen man on the linens.

Paper Chase: Uncovering the Sources of DNA on the Shroud

imageGiulio Fanti has most kindly allowed me to republish a recent paper from the Bari conference. The paper is:

ATSI 2014 – Uncovering the Sources of DNA
of the Turin Shroud

by G. Barcaccia, G. Galia, A. Achilli, A. Olivieri, A. Torroni
and G. Fanti.

The last sentence reads:

Our experimental findings and additional clues pose a further difficulty to those who postulate a central European origin and a historical interval corresponding to the Middle Ages of the Relic.

Also see:  Surprising Paper out of Bari: Plant DNA Studies on the Shroud of Turin

New Textile Report

imagePam Moon sends along a link to a new report: Consideration to the Uniformity and Effects of the Fabric in the Shroud of Turin by © Donna Campbell MA, Technical Design, Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen. It begins:

This is an interim report requested by Pam Moon, a researcher on the Shroud of Turin.

Using photographic images found on the Oxford University website, this report examines the
uniformity and effects within a small sample taken from the Shroud of Turin.

Permission has been given by Professor Ramsey at Oxford University to use these images for this report.


This analysis of the Turin Shroud fabric sample has been approached independent of any outside influences or research. I have used the images of the fabric sample at the above website as a source of information to be considered and documented as I see it. With no preconceived ideas, my interpretation of the Shroud sample is drawn from my expertise in the design of linen fabric and the technical application of the woven architecture. The ideal analysis could only be done on the actual fabric sample.

[ . . . ]

In the conclusion, at about page 16, we read:


Yarns break during weaving. The success in identifying these breaks and fixing depends on the skill of the hand weaver. However, there are signs in the Shroud sample that direct the notion of mending or reweaving of the actual woven fabric. Many of the following considerations are not evident in the control samples.

  • The stitch like forms on the more bias direction of the fabric (Fig. 20). These forms are not apparent in the control samples.
  • Consideration to the black thread and its function (Fig. 22, 23 and 24). The suggestion that the thread could have been used to reinforce the fabric. No such thread is obvious in the control samples.
  • There is disruption in the weave pattern located at one side of a pick. This disruption sits along a contour of linear staining (Fig 20 indicated by the blue markers). It is unusual that the whole pick is not effected in the same way.
  • The difference in two sections of the sample that have a noticeable change in the size of spacing between the interlacement (Fig 16). This could suggest the use of different yarns.
  • At the location of a heavy stain and buckle, there is an extreme contrast in the tension and distortion of the weave noticeably on the warp face side (Fig 15). A contributing factor could be the manipulation of mending.
  • A patchwork of staining in the form of rectangular linear shapes (Fig 18) that does not
    conform to the staining on the control samples.

[ . . . ]

Colin Berry: OK, I’ve made a start on that Di Lazzaro pdf

Misquoting STURP?

Until social media came along, Shroud of Turin conference papers did not get
much public scrutiny. Are comments like these below the way of the future for conferences?

imageDeep down in the comments to a drawn out, rambling posting in Colin Berry’s Science Buzz blog, Colin takes on Paolo Di Lazzaro for a paper he presented at ATSI Bari. To read it in the raw click on Let’s move things along one easy step at a time – making life as difficult as possible for those who leech off other people’s content and scroll down to the comments dated September 16 and 17 wherein Colin writes:

OK, I’ve made a start on that Di Lazzaro pdf (36 pages!).

Already I am appalled at the liberties he has taken in his quoting, or rather misquoting, of the 1978 STURP report.

Here’s what he says:

Main findings of STuRP The Shroud is not a painting, no pigment, any directionality, not a scorch

Wrong. The STURP summary does not use the word "scorch" at all.

However, it does describe the coloration as due to surface chemical modification of the linen carbohydrates themselves via oxidation, dehydration and conjugation reactions, and helpfully points out that such changes can be the result of thermal OR chemical treatments, which in most people’s books would be described as "scorches", to distinguished from applied pigments etc.

Paolo di Lazzaro is entitled to reject scorching by whatever means if he so wishes (though his laser beam -induced coloration is surely another type of "scorch"). What he is NOT allowed to do is claim that STURP specifically rejected scorching. STURP did no such thing.

The image encodes cloth to body distance, and it is present in both contact and non contact areas.

The STURP summary makes no mention whatsoever of cloth-body distance.

Cloth-body distance is a model-dependent variable, based usually on loose draping of linen over a human subject. STURP did not propose (far less embrace) that model.

The reference in the STURP summary to the capture and encoding of 3D information has possible explanations that do NOT obligatorily require any postulates re ‘cloth-body’ distance.

[ . . . ]

At one point, Colin quotes Paolo thus: “Energy carried by short-wavelength radiation breaks chemical bonds of the irradiated material without inducing a significant heating (photochemical reaction)”.

And then comments:

This is a massive over-simplification, and even as a generalization simply cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

The majority of substances in our everyday lives can be exposed to sunshine, and can be expected to absorb some or all of its uv component WITHOUT undergoing chemical reaction. It’s (fortunately) a minority of white substances that tan (human skin being a notable exception, where there is a protective mechanism operating that involves melanin pigment) and it’s a minority of yellow substances that quickly bleach (yes; let’s not forget bleaching: uv tends to bleach, not yellow and exposure to sunshine was once used, notably in Holland, for large scale bleaching of new linen). It is a minority of uv-susceptible molecules that have given sunshine its bad press, and one is right to flag up the dangers of excessive uv exposure where humans and their crops are concerned, but to reiterate: while a lot of uv light is absorbed, chemical reaction is by no means automatic.

Yes, the First Law of Photochemistry states that for a photochemical reaction to occur, radiant energy of some kind or other must first be absorbed. But the converse is NOT true: radiant energy can be absorbed without necessarily producing chemical reaction. The energy of the uv CAN be dissipated safely in other forms, notably as thermal energy (producing a rise in temperature). So what does PDL have to say re thermal effects of his chosen instrument of TS image-formation at-a-distance, i.e. ultraviolet radiation. More to come.

More to come? We can hardly wait.

Are we getting a taste of the treatment St. Louis papers will get with an online commenting system to be provided by the conference organizers? Probably. With or without such facilities, social media is here to stay and papers will be publically challenged as never before. I think it’s a good idea.

Now Available: Two ATSI Bari Papers on ENEA Frascati Website

clip_image001The following two papers have been discovered:

1)  Shroud-like coloration, conservation, measures and image processing
A survey of experiments at ENEA Frascati
by Paolo Di Lazzaro Daniele Murra

2)  Le misure dei ricercatori dell’ENEA di Frascati sulla copia della Sindone di Arquata del Tronto (giugno 2014) A report about recent measurements on a copy of the Shroud found in Arquata del Tronto (Ascoli Piceno, Italy) by P. Di Lazzaro, A. Danielis, §, M. Guarneri, M. Missori, D. Murra, V. Piraccini, V. Spizzichino, S. Bollanti (this paper does not appear to be in the conference proceedings given to attendees)

Late Update: These two papers may also be found on the Paolo Di Lazzaro page at

Surprising Paper out of Bari: Plant DNA Studies on the Shroud of Turin

imageAt Bari, quite a few people were surprised by a paper that was not in the final program (as published on the website) and not included in the proceedings of the conference given to attendees. The three-page paper was “Uncovering the Sources of DNA in the Turin Shroud” by G. Barcaccia, G. Galia, A. Achilli, A. Olivieri, A. Torroni and G. Fanti.

I will seek out a link or try to get permission to include the paper in this blog so that everyone can read it. In the meantime, here is the concluding paragraph sent to me me by two different attendees:

In conclusion, results from this study are consistent with the presence of several plant species according to cpDNA barcodes and distinct human mtDNA haplogroups. Overall DNA data were compared with historical information to verify whether the geographic areas of origin and distribution of land plant species (embryophytes) and human mitochondrial haplogroups are coherent with the proposed temporal and spatial paths of the Turin Shroud. Our experimental findings and additional clues pose a further difficulty to those who postulate a central European origin and a historical interval corresponding to the Middle Ages of the Relic.

from, as explained earlier in the paper:

… pollen grains, cell debris and other minuscule organic specimens, such as plant-derived fibers and blood-like clots found into the dusts sampled in the Turin Shroud by STURP Members. In particular, the dust particles analyzed in this study belong to different filters of the back of the Turin Shroud, also corresponding to the areas face, hands, buttocks and feet.