Aug 17, 2008

New findings reveal that the sample used to carbon-date the Shroud of Turin was not the original linen

(Title changed from "Los Alamos National Laboratory chemist brands Shroud of Turin as medieval fake")

Written on August 15, 2008 – 10:55 pm | by admin |

In his presentation yesterday at The Ohio State University’s Blackwell Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) chemist, Robert Villarreal, disclosed startling new findings proving that the sample of material used in 1988 to Carbon-14 (C-14) date the Shroud of Turin, which categorized the cloth as a medieval fake, could not have been from the original linen cloth because it was cotton. According to Villarreal, who lead the LANL team working on the project, thread samples they examined from directly adjacent to the C-14 sampling area were “definitely not linen” and, instead, matched cotton.

Villarreal pointed out that “the [1988] age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case.” Villarreal also revealed that, during testing, one of the threads came apart in the middle forming two separate pieces. A surface resin, that may have been holding the two pieces together, fell off and was analyzed. Surprisingly, the two ends of the thread had different chemical compositions, lending credence to the theory that the threads were spliced together during a repair.

LANL’s work confirms the research published in Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) by the late Raymond Rogers, a chemist who had studied actual C-14 samples and concluded the sample was not part of the original cloth possibly due to the area having been repaired. This hypothesis was presented by M. Sue Benford (43016) and Joseph G. Marino (43016) in Orvieto, Italy in 2000.

Benford and Marino proposed that a 16th Century patch of cotton/linen material was skillfully spliced into the 1st Century original Shroud cloth in the region ultimately used for dating. The intermixed threads combined to give the dates found by the labs ranging between 1260 and 1390 AD. Benford and Marino contend that this expert repair was necessary to disguise an unauthorized relic taken from the corner of the cloth. A paper presented yesterday at the conference by Benford and Marino, and to be published in the July/August issue of the international journal Chemistry Today, provided additional corroborating evidence for the repair theory.

[See also Shrouded in mystery and Shroud of Turin stirs new controversy.]


Anonymous said...

Why would anybody think any of this crap was real in the first place? The dark ages are over.

Anonymous said...

So, take a "good" sample and redo the tests. The utilized sample came from a faked portion of the Shroud, but what about a sample from an appropriate region?

It seems to me that proving the age of this linen shouldn't be such a difficult task. If it's a fake, let's find out as soon as possible. Christianity won't be uphelded or destroyed based on the validity of this old relic.

qgrrrl said...

I concur with anonymous I and anonymous B -- not so important, and it would be easy enough to repeat the test.

A couple of historical notions: First, I don't believe cotton was terribly common in Europe prior to its cultivation in North America, surely not before the 16th century. To me that argues for a rather later repair of the shroud with cotton thread or patches.

Second, in the early days of cotton's availability in Europe, it was common to weave cloth with a cotton weft and a linen warp, so a fabric with both fibers would not have been uncommon at that time. While today cotton is the less expensive, more common fiber, and linen is the more expensive, less common fiber, prior to the mass cultivation of cotton in North America, the reverse was true in Europe. You can grow linen in much of Europe, including pretty far to the north, but you can only grow cotton in the far southern parts of Europe (e.g., southern Spain).

Anonymous said...

Didn't Bob V take the SSP?

Why isn't his name listed in the program?

Who else was on the team?

Anonymous said...

"If it's a fake, let's find out as soon as possible. Christianity won't be uphelded or destroyed based on the validity of this old relic."

The whole thing is fake, starting with Jesus.

Anonymous said...

The website made a error in the headline, they have changed. The 1998 tests were made on a fake Turin. The Shroud of urin was not carbon tested.

Anonymous said...

But if it's a fake, then the whole thing could be made of cotton.

How does he know it's not from the "original linen"?