New experiments on Shroud show it’s not medieval – it’s older!

Professor Giulio Fanti and journalist Saverio Gaeta have published a book with the results of some chemical and mechanical tests which confirm that the Shroud dates back to the 1st century


(Vatican Insider) New scientific experiments carried out at the University of Padua have apparently confirmed that the Shroud Turin can be dated back to the 1stcentury AD. This makes its compatible with the tradition which claims that the cloth with the image of the crucified man imprinted on it is the very one Jesus’ body was wrapped in when he was taken off the cross. The news will be published in a book by Giulio Fanti, professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at the University of Padua’s Engineering Faculty, and journalist Saverio Gaeta, out tomorrow. “Il Mistero della Sindone” (The Mystery of the Shroud) is edited by Rizzoli (240 pp, 18 Euro).The Shroud

What’s new about this book are Fanti’s recent findings, which are also about to be published in a specialist magazine and assessed by a scientific committee. The research includes three new tests, two chemical ones and one mechanical one. The first two were carried out with an FT-IR system, so using infra-red light, and the other using Raman spectroscopy. The third was a multi-parametric mechanical test based on five different mechanical parameters linked to the voltage of the wire. The machine used to examine the Shroud’s fibres and test traction, allowed researchers to examine tiny fibres alongside about twenty samples of cloth dated between 3000 BC and 2000 AD.

The new tests carried out in the University of Padua labs were carried out by a number of university professors from various Italian universities and agree that the Shroud dates back to the period when Jesus Christ was crucified in Jerusalem. Final results show that the Shroud fibres examined produced the following dates, all of which are 95% certain and centuries away from the medieval dating obtained with Carbon-14 testing in 1988: the dates given to the Shroud after FT-IR testing, is 300 BC ±400, 200 BC ±500 after Raman testing and 400 AD ±400 after multi-parametric mechanical testing. The average of all three dates is 33 BC  ±250 years. The book’s authors observed that the uncertainty of this date is less than the single uncertainties and the date is compatible with the historic date of Jesus’ death on the cross, which historians claim occurred in 30 AD.

The tests were carried out using tiny fibres of material extracted from the Shroud by micro-analyst Giovanni Riggi di Numana who passed away in 2008 but had participated in the1988 research project and gave the material to Fanti through the cultural institute Fondazione 3M.

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17 Responses to New experiments on Shroud show it’s not medieval – it’s older!

  1. kathleen says:

    I believe most level-headed people – i.e. all those who did not have an invested interest in dis-proving the authenticity of the Turin Shroud – were a bit sceptical about the 1988 Carbon 14 testing putting the Shroud’s origins to the Middle Ages. (Apparently it was discovered later, that the cloth sample for this experiment made in three prestigious universities, was unwittingly taken from a carefully camouflaged medieval patch weave.)

    There are just so many proofs pointing to the Shroud’s existence being from the first century AD.
    Just two examples: it carries in its fibres the pollen of one plant from the region of Palestine that has been extinct for over 1.500 years! Two: the coins placed over the eyes of the dead Man are from the reign of Pontius Pilate.

    For these and many other reasons of astounding revelation (thanks to modern scientific means) we are brought to only one obvious conclusion: this was the very same linen cloth that was placed over the Sacred Body of Jesus Christ Our Lord when He was laid in the Tomb.

    This is a fitting subject for today, Good Friday, for on the Holy Shroud of Turin we see the marks of the numerous horrifying and appalling sufferings Our Blessed Lord and Saviour underwent for our sakes. The beatings, bruises, scourging, crown of thorns, etc. all so clearly identifiable, should move us to a humble and profound gratitude, and a corresponding desire to return our little hearts of love and faithfulness to our God.


  2. toad says:

    Explain a bit more about the coins, please, Kathleen.
    Toad had not heard the shroud either contained coins in some way or that the shroud itself has the marks of coins over the eyes.
    Or what? Fascinating.


  3. kathleen says:

    In fact, coins have been detected over both the eyes, but the other coin is harder to identify.


  4. toad says:

    Yes, Kathleen, but why would anyone leave coins on someone’s eyes, after they were no longer necessary? Would you?
    Possibly to pay the ferryman to take you over the Styx? Why else?


  5. kathleen says:

    Silly Toad….. it was a Jewish custom used to make sure the eyes remained closed in death.

    Not very successful, eh? 😉


  6. Reblogged this on Beyond Sodality and commented:
    I admit it, I’ve always believed in the authenticity of the Shroud. There’s no way to prove it is the real deal definitively, but they’re getting closer to disproving the theory of the Shroud originating in the Middle Ages.


  7. toad says:

    “While medical studies of the body image were providing strong evidence for genuineness, inquiries into the Shroud’s history showed its case to be extremely weak. In 1900, the distinguished scholar Canon Ulisse Chevalier published a series of historical documents shedding light on the early years of the Shroud in France and casting seemingly insurmountable doubts on its authenticity. An English Jesuit, Herbert Thurston, condemned the relic in a persuasive and powerful style “that muted and almost stifled the controversy in the English-speaking world” (Walsh 1963:69).
    With rivals at Besançon, Cadouin, Champiegne, and elsewhere, this purported “Shroud of Christ” appeared in 1353 in Lirey, France, under mysterious circumstances and with no documentation whatever. It immediately began to draw large numbers of pilgrims to a modest wooden church founded by the Shroud’s owner and tended by six clergy but in financial difficulties. Its exhibition was condemned by the resident bishop, Henri de Poitiers.
    His successor, Pierre d’Arcis, compiled a memorandum in 1389 urging the pope to prohibit further exhibitions of the relic because its fraudulent nature had been discovered by de Poitiers and an unnamed artist had confessed to painting the image. To d’Arcis, the absence of historical reference was equally damning; he considered it “quite unlikely that the Holy Evangelists would have omitted to record an imprint on Christ’s burial linens, or that the fact should have remained hidden until the present time” (quoted in Thurston 1903).
    In all the recorded veneration of countless relics down to the 13th century, there had been no mention of Christ’s shroud’s bearing an imprint of his body. This silence of history together with the suspicious circumstances of the Shroud’s appearance and the confession of the artist seemed sufficient to settle the matter. Thurston concluded confidently, ”The case is here so strong that. . . . the probability of an error in the verdict of history must be accounted, it seems to me, as almost infinitesimal.”*

    Pesky Jesuits! Still, we’re all Jesuits now, apparently.
    However Toad is not stating categorically that the shroud is a fake. He doesn’t know. What he’s saying is simply that it looks like the biggest, howling, fake imaginable, genuine or not. Clearly we can all agree on that.
    As for “the coins on the eyes” well.. Very odd. But then, it’s all “very odd”, isn’t it? So who knows? That’s what makes it so much fun.

    *Full (pro-shroud) text here.


  8. johnhenrycn says:

    Toad, are you quoting the same Dr Meacham who wrote the following in an e-mail hwhich he sent to his colleague, Roger Sparks, in 1998?

    “I agree entirely with this statement, and mutatis mutandis it sums up the attitude towards the C14 date of most who have studied the Turin Shroud — from art historians to physicists to forensic pathologists. Of course, no real age has been *established* for the Shroud, just as it has not been established that fire cannot affect the C14 content of a sample. We must go with the best evidence that we have. In the case of the Shroud, the other evidence points very strongly toward an origin for the Shroud in antiquity, not in the 13th-14th centuries. In view of the 1532 fire AND the discovery by Garza-Valdes, it is the C14 age of the Shroud that must be viewed with deep suspicion, until another round of very careful and methodical testing is done.”
    Forgiving his double negative, I think Meacham is (or was then) on the side of guileless people, like me, who are impressed with the Shroud’s provenance, or lack thereof. Maybe I don’t follow you?


  9. toad says:

    Well, JH, possibly the above will make the whole troubled topic crystal clear. Though I doubt .
    Yes as I said above, Meacham is clearly very much a pro-shroud man.

    Personally, I am neutral on this one. Just enjoy all the knockabout fun.

    Apparently, I learned just now, there’s an “amulet ” round Christ’s neck. as well. (though why an amulet should be round anybody’s neck is yet another oddity.)


  10. kathleen says:

    It would seem Pope Francis is endorsing the widespread belief of most Catholics, that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ! At an exhibition of the Holy Shroud on Holy Saturday (and broadcast on Italian state television) he said:

    “This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love,” Pope Francis said in his message.

    “This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest,” the pope said. “And yet, at the same time, the face in the shroud conveys a great peace; this tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty.”

    Pope Francis said the “restrained but powerful energy” of the image calls people to have faith and never lose hope because “the power of the love of God, the power of the Risen One overcomes all things.”

    The pope ended his message reciting a prayer that St. Francis of Assisi was said to have recited before the crucifix: “Most High, glorious God, enlighten the shadows of my heart, and grant me a right faith, a certain hope and perfect charity, sense and understanding, Lord, so that I may accomplish your holy and true command. Amen.”


  11. toad says:

    I think you’re absolutely right, Kathleen – the Pope does believe the Shroud is genuine.
    And it’s very cunning and Jesuitical of him not to come right out and say so.

    And, after all, if we’re going to be pragmatic about it – what does it matter now if the Shroud is genuine or not – as long as enough people think it is?


  12. Brother Burrito says:

    Kathleen, I disagree (which is rare). When you think about it, Christ was very careful to leave no fingerprints, not even writing, except in sand.

    The Shroud is a fascinating phenomenon, but it can never prove the Resurrection, which is the heart of our Faith.

    Yes, it is a worthy subject of study, for it brings us close to Christ in the Sepulchre, when He was breaking open the gaol of Sheol.

    A powerful image indeed.


  13. kathleen says:

    Dear BB, what is it exactly you disagree with me about? (Not in the least bit annoyed – just asking. ;-))

    Each of the marks on the Shroud of Turin corresponds to known details of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as related by the four Evangelists of the Gospels.

    Science, running on parallel lines to religion, (i.e. only looking into investigating facts, being neither hostile nor partial to any ideology) has, in this case, been an unintentional ally to Christianity! In the discovery of an enormous amount of irrefutable evidence, science has unwittingly pointed us to a powerful conclusion: that the Holy Shroud of Turin was the burial cloth that wrapped the Sacred Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ when He was taken down from the Cross and laid in the Tomb!

    I believe it will never be proven conclusively that this was the burial cloth of Jesus Christ – for Faith (in God) must always be a choice, not a foregone conclusion. We do not base our Faith on any material object, not even the Holy Shroud of Turin, (as that could otherwise be seen as a form of coercion), but on God’s grace and mercy in our souls flowing from the testimony of the Apostles as taught by the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
    All the same, could this perhaps not be a sort of ‘gift’ for our incredulous age, for the many who need “to see to believe” of our times? To sort of jolt them in the right direction? Just a thought.


  14. toad says:

    “Science, running on parallel lines to religion, (i.e. only looking into investigating facts, being neither hostile nor partial to any ideology)”

    Are you suggesting that religion – Catholicism in particular – is “neither hostile nor partial to any ideology,” Kathleen? Let’s hope not – about the first bit, at least!


  15. kathleen says:

    It’s quite clear Toad – I was referring to science as not following any ideology. I am also saying that science and religion are not in opposition to each other. Scientists, in their investigations and analysis of the marks the Shroud of Turin, are/were searching for honest answers. The procedures were neutral, objective, or whatever you want to call it.


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