The Shroud Research Network
Seeking Solutions to the Mysteries of the Shroud.
Click here to learn about the 2019 Shroud conference August 14 to 17.
This website is devoted to pursuing, as far as possible, the best explanations for the mysteries of the Shroud of Turin through research and conferences. The mysteries of the Shroud include:
Why can we see the image of a crucified man on the Shroud?
How was the image formed?
When was the Shroud made?
What about the 1988 carbon dating of the Shroud?
What is the nature of the apparent blood on the Shroud?
How did the blood get onto the Shroud?
Could the Shroud of Turin be the burial cloth of Jesus?
Link to the following sections:
1. What is the Shroud of Turin?
2. What is the history of the Shroud?
3. What does the image contain?
4. Scientific Investigation of the Shroud
5. Could the Shroud have been made by an artist or a forger?
6. Dating the Shroud
7. The 1988 Carbon Dating Problem
8. How can the mysteries of the Shroud be explained?
9. Could it be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus?
10. Summary of research on the Shroud
1. What is the Shroud of Turin?
The Shroud of Turin is also called the Turin Shroud, or just the Shroud. A shroud is a piece of cloth that is used to wrap a dead body for burial. Turin is a city in north-western Italy. Thus, the Shroud of Turin is a burial cloth located in Turin, Italy. It has been in Turin since 1578, and measures 14 feet 4 inches long by 3 feet 8 inches wide. The remarkable thing about this burial shroud is that it contains a front and back (dorsal) image of a man that was crucified exactly as the New Testament says that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, yet the image contains no pigment. This is the only burial shroud with an image on it.
The Shroud of Turin has a continuously documented history back to about 1355 or 1356 when it went on display in Lirey, France, as the burial cloth of Jesus, but there is convincing evidence that it was in Constantinople prior to 1204. The amazing thing about this burial cloth is that it contains full size good resolution images of the front and back of a naked man that was crucified exactly as the New Testament says that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, yet the images contain no pigment. When put on display in Turin, Italy, which usually occurs only a few times each century, millions of people file past the Shroud and see the images of the crucified man. Long standing tradition claims that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. Ancient coins and artistic works are consistent with this view. The scientific investigation of the Shroud began in 1898 when Secondo Pia took the first photograph of the Shroud which revealed that the image was a good resolution negative image. The historical and scientific research on the Shroud since then makes it the most studied ancient artifact in existence. This scientific research has shown that the characteristics of the image are so unique that it could not be the result of a human agent, either an artist or forger, because the technology to create this image did not exist in any previous era and still does not exist even today. Based on this scientific research, the majority opinion of Shroud researchers is that the Shroud wrapped the dead body of a crucified man and that in some way this body encoded front and back images of itself onto the inside of the Shroud.
We believe that the evidence on the Shroud indicates that the front and back images of the crucified man were formed by radiation emitted from the body that altered the atomic structure of the atoms in the linen. We believe that the claimed C-14 date (1260 to 1390 AD) is a misinterpretation of the C-14 measurement data because neutrons were evidently included in the radiation from the body that caused the image. A small fraction of these neutrons would have been absorbed in the trace amount of N-14 in the cloth to form new C-14 atoms by the (N-14 + neutron produces C-14 + proton) reaction. The amount of C-14 at the sample location had to increase by only 16% to shift the C-14 date from the time of Jesus (about 33 AD) to the range of the carbon dating (1260 to 1390 AD). (See paper 19 on the RESEARCH page.)
2. What is the history of the Shroud?
Jesus’ linen burial shroud was found by Peter and John in the tomb after Jesus’ crucifixion in Jerusalem (John 20:3-9). It is very unlikely to have been ignored, reused, burnt or thrown out, so that if protected from moisture, insects, and intentional destruction, it could easily have survived to the present. Galatians 3:1 (about 47 to 56 AD) indicates the believers in Galatia were shown something that “clearly” or “publicly portrayed” “Jesus Christ … as crucified” (NIV & NASB). Based on the Greek word “proegrapha” translated “portrayed” in this verse, and the context, they could have been shown Jesus’ burial shroud containing his blood and possibly his image.
A tradition preserved in the writings of Athanasius (298–373 A.D.) indicates that prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Christian relics, including the icon of our Lord, were brought from Jerusalem through Pella to Syria, perhaps Antioch. Ancient texts and an inscription indicate Jesus’ shroud may have been involved in the conversion of King Abgar the Great of Edessa probably in the second century.
The image that is now on the Shroud of Turin was frequently copied in Byzantine art. The earliest surviving example is the Christ Pantocrator painting from St. Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai, which probably dates to about 550 AD. The Shroud was most likely brought to Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, in 574 as the Image of God Incarnate, or it may have come into Constantinople in 944 as the Mandylion or Image of Edessa. Its presence in Constantinople long before the C14 date of 1260 to 1390 is confirmed by Byzantine coins starting in 692, the Hungarian Pray Manuscript (1192-1195), and the report (1203-1204) of French crusader Robert de Clari that Jesus’ burial cloth was exhibited weekly at a Church in Constantinople. It may have been sold by Byzantine emperor Baldwin II to his cousin, King Louis IX of France, between 1237 and 1261, or it may have been stolen from Constantinople in the sack of the city in 1204. In about 1355 it was exhibited in Lirey, France, as the true burial cloth of Jesus by the French knight Geoffrey de Charny. In 1453, it was sold by Geoffrey de Charny’s granddaughter to Louis, the Duke of Savoy, and gradually transported across France till it came into Turin, Italy, in 1578. (Summarized from section 4 of paper 19 on the RESEARCH page.)
3. What does the image contain?
1. Rigor mortis in feet shows that the victim was on the cross for a significant amount of time after he had died.
2. Two nails are through one foot, but only one of the nails is through the other foot. This allows one foot to rotate, so that the victim can push up and down on the cross in order to breath during crucifixion. If the victim of crucifixion is not pushing up and down, then it is clear he is dead. The soldiers had no doubt that Jesus was dead (Mark 15:43-45, John 19:31-35).
3. In 1532, the church where the Shroud was located caught fire. This fire produced two scorch lines on either side of the front and dorsal images. Water stains can also be seen on the Shroud from water thrown onto the metal box containing the Shroud after it was rescued from the fire. The heat from the fire did not produce a gradation in the intensity of the image discoloration, indicating that the image is not due to application of an organic compound.
4. Shortly after the fire in 1532, charred material was removed and replaced by patches. The repeating pattern of patches and scorch marks that can be seen on the Shroud resulted from the way in which the cloth was folded at the time of the fire. One corner of the folded Shroud that burned resulted in the many areas that had to be patched.
5. The Shroud has four sets of burn holes in an L-shaped pattern. This same pattern of holes appears on a picture in a document known as the Hungarian Pray Manuscript, which is dated to 1192-1195 AD. This indicates that the Shroud of Turin ought to be identified as the cloth that was in Constantinople until the city was sacked during the fourth crusade in 1204 AD. This indicates that the conclusion of the 1988 C-14 dating of the Shroud to 1260 to 1390 AD must be erroneous. Other dating methods are consistent with a first century date for the Shroud: 1) test results of tensile strength and reflectivity of linen as it ages, 2) stitching used to sew on the 3-inch wide side piece onto the main Shroud is nearly identical to that found at Masada which was destroyed in 73-74 AD, 3) the size of the Shroud being very close to 2 by 8 cubits - the ancient unit of measurement, 4) crucifixion being outlawed after the fourth century, and 5) a possible Roman Lepton over one eye dating to 29 to 32 AD. Several hypotheses have been made to explain the erroneous conclusion of the C-14 dating, including an invisible reweave of the sample area and neutron absorption in the trace amount of nitrogen in the linen shifting the C-14 date by the (N-14 + neutron --> C-14 + proton) reaction. Details of this last option are discussed further on the RESEARCH page.
6. The back (dorsal) image on the Shroud shows a separation of blood and clear blood serum that flowed from the wound in his side that shows on the front image. This separation indicates that the victim’s heart was not beating for long enough to allow the red blood cells to settle out of the clear blood serum before the side wound was made. Compare this with the "blood and water" that is said to have exited from Jesus' side wound in John 19:34.
7. The Shroud shows 100 to 120 scourge marks from two Roman flagrum, one striking from each side, with dumbbell shaped weights on the ends of the straps. The blood marks from these wounds show blood serum rings (visible only under UV) around the dried blood exudate.
8. There are abrasions on both shoulders evidently caused by the victim carrying a heavy rough object. Compare this with Jesus carrying his own cross (John 19:17). This refers to the horizontal piece (patibulum) but not the vertical piece, which would have been stationary in the ground at the location of the crucifixion.
9. The front and back of the head show puncture wounds from sharp objects. Jesus had a cap of thorns beat into his scalp with rods (Matthew 27:30, Mark 15:17-19).
10. Pollen is on the Shroud that is unique to the area around Jerusalem. Pollen from a plant with long thorns was found around his head.
11. The front and back (dorsal) images of the crucified man are negative images and contain 3D or topographical information content related to the distance of the cloth from the body. Of the 100 to 200 fibers in a thread, the images result from only the top one or two layers of fibers in a thread being discolored. The thickness of discoloration in a fiber is about 0.2 microns, which is less than a wavelength of light. There is no indication of capillarity (soaking up of a liquid) between the fibers or the threads, which means that the image could not have been made by a liquid. The discolored regions of the fibers in the image result from a change in the electron bonding of the carbon atoms that were originally in the cellulose molecules in the linen. This change in the electron bonding of the carbon atoms is equivalent to a dehydration and oxidation of the cellulose molecules, but how could this form the image of a naked crucified man? The conclusion is that an artist or forger could not have produced the unique characteristics of the images in any era, either ancient or modern.
12. The image on the Shroud has swollen cheeks and a possible broken nose from a beating (John 18:3) or a fall. Abrasions on the tip of the nose have a microscopic amount of dirt in the abrasions. Jesus probably fell while carrying his cross (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21).
13. The side of the front image on the Shroud shows a 2-inch wide elliptical wound, which is the size of a typical Roman spear (John 19:34). Post-mortem (after death) blood and watery fluid flowed down from this wound.
14. The blood running down his arms is at the correct angles for a crucifixion victim. Two angles for the blood flow can be seen on his arms. These two angles are consistent with the crucifixion victim shifting between two positions while on the cross in order to breath (See #2 above). What appears to be blood on the Shroud has passed 13 tests indicating that it is consistent with human blood. The evidence indicates that the blood is probably type AB. And most significantly, the blood is high in bilirubin which is a compound produced by the liver when it processes damaged red blood cells, which occurs when a victim is severely beaten, as Jesus was. Normal blood turns very dark brown to black as it ages over days and weeks, but the blood marks on the Shroud show a reddish hue. There are various proposed causes for this coloration.
15. Paintings from the Middle Ages show the nail wounds in the palms, but nails through the palms do not support the required weight since there is no bone structure above this location. Archeology has confirmed that during crucifixion, the nails were driven through the wrists. The Shroud shows the correct nail locations - through the wrist instead of through the palm. If the image on the Shroud was made by an artist or forger during the time interval indicated by carbon dating (1260-1390), it would have the nail wounds in the middle of the palms. This indicates that the image on the Shroud is not from the Middle Ages.
16. On the Shroud, the thumbs are folded under, contrary to paintings of the Middle Ages. Nails through the wrists automatically fold the thumbs under due to contact of the nail with the nerve that goes through the wrist. This also indicates the image was not made during the Middle Ages.
17. Abrasions on one knee show a microscopic amount of dirt, which is evidence of a fall.
18. The three-inch wide side strip is sown on with a unique stitch nearly identical to that found only at Masada which was destroyed in 73-74 AD. This is evidence that the Shroud was made in the first century. The reason for this three-inch side piece is not certain, but the most likely explanation is that it probably was sown on in the process of originally making the Shroud.
19. Small chips of travertine aragonite limestone were found in dirt near the feet. This rare form of limestone is commonly called "Jerusalem limestone" because Jerusalem is the main location in the world where it is found. This limestone found in dirt on the Shroud had a spectral signature nearly identical to a sample of limestone taken from the Damascus Gate - the closest gate to Golgotha. No other place on earth is known to have the identical spectral image. This indicates that the victim whose image is shown on the Shroud probably walked on the streets of Jerusalem before being crucified. (See books by Mark Antonacci)
4. Scientific Investigation of the Shroud
Scientific investigation of the Shroud of Turin began in 1898 when an amateur photographer named Secondo Pia took the first photograph of the Shroud and found to his amazement that his negative was a high resolution positive image, which meant that the image on the Shroud was a high resolution negative image. This implied that it could not be a painting since artists cannot accurately produce a negative image because they never see one. Subsequent investigation of the wounds observed on the Shroud by experts in anatomy and medicine led them to conclude that the images and blood marks on the Shroud were in some way the result of a real human body that had been wrapped in the Shroud. In 1976, using a VP-8 image analyzer, it was discovered that there is 3D or topographical information in the image on the Shroud related to the body-to-cloth vertical distance. Since such information does not exist in any painting or photograph, this indicated that the image on the Shroud could not be a painting or photograph. This motivated scientists at leading national laboratories and research facilities in the United States to form the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) to apply the best scientific methods and equipment to determine how the image on the Shroud was formed. About 24 of their team went to Turin in 1978 where they were allowed five days, 24 hours a day, to perform non-destructive testing on the Shroud. The STURP investigation found that:
· The image has no pigment, no carrier, no brush strokes, no clumping of material between the fibers or threads, no cracking due to centuries of folding or rolling the Shroud, and no stiffening of the cloth. This means that the image could not be due to paint, dye, or stain.
· There is no capillarity (soaking up of a liquid) of the discoloration in the fibers or threads, so the image could not be due to application of a liquid such as an acid or a chemical in a liquid state.
· The image is not luminescent under ultra-violet light. This means that the image could not be due to a scorch from contact of a hot object with the cloth.
· The image is only visible in front lighting. It is not visible in back lighting. From this, the STURP team concluded that the image does not result from any substance placed on the cloth, which means that the image could not be a rubbing, a dusting, or a print.
· A typical thread contains about 100 to 200 fibers. The image is caused discoloration of only the top one or two layers of fibers in a thread.
· On a discolored fiber, the discoloration is located on the outside circumference of the fiber, usually 360 degrees around the fiber. The thickness of this discolored layer is about 0.2 microns, which is less than a wavelength of light, and only a small fraction of the 15 to 20-micron diameter of a fiber. The inside of the fiber is not discolored.
· The discoloration of any fibers in the image results from a change in the electron bonding of the carbon atoms that were already in the cellulose molecule. This change in the electron bonding of the carbon atoms is equivalent to a dehydration and oxidation of the cellulose molecule. But how can this change in the electron bonding of the carbon atoms be accomplished to create an image of a crucified man?
(See paper 15 of the RESEARCH page.)
5. Could the Shroud have been made by an artist or a forger?
The two most common explanations of the Shroud are: 1) Based on the C-14 dating, the Shroud was made by an artist or forger between 1260 to 1390 AD probably in northern France, and 2) It is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus from about 33 AD. Note that several of the above items are inconsistent with the Shroud being a forgery from the Middle Ages. A forger would not have known or been able to:
· Place invisible serum rings around the blood exudate of the scourge marks.
· Add pollen to the Shroud that is unique to the Jerusalem area.
· Add pollen around the head that is from a plant with long thorns.
· Put a microscopic amount of dirt in abrasions on the nose and one knee.
· Put bilirubin and nanoparticles of creatinine and ferritin into the blood, indicating torture.
· Locate the nails in the wrists with the thumbs folded under, contrary to paintings from the Middle Ages.
· Put microscopic chips of limestone into dirt near the feet that match Jerusalem limestone.
· Use a stitch unique to the first century to sew the three-inch wide side strip to the main shroud.
· Create a negative image that contains 3D information related to the body-to-cloth distance in the image.
· Create an image of a crucified man on the Shroud based on only the top one or two layers of fibers being discolored, and only the outer 0.2 microns of the 15 to 20-micron fiber diameter being discolored.
· Create an image of a crucified man on the Shroud based on a change in the electron bonding of the carbon atoms that were already in the cellulose molecules.
6. Dating the Shroud
There are 14 indicators for the date for the Shroud, 13 of which are consistent with the time of Jesus. Only the C14 date is inconsistent with the time of Jesus. These dating techniques are summarized below: (Summarized from section 6C of paper 15 on the RESEARCH page.)
1. In 1988, samples were cut from a corner of the Shroud for carbon dating at three laboratories. The results of the 16 measurements were interpreted to mean that the Shroud dated to 1260-1390.
2. The Hungarian Pray Codex or Manuscript is historically dated to 1192 to 1195 AD. It includes a painted drawing that must have been copied from the Shroud of Turin based on the pattern of burn holes on the painting and on the Shroud, so the Shroud must have existed in 1192-1195 AD.
3. It is believed that the spinning wheel was invented in Asia by the 11th century and had spread to Europe by the 13th century. Since the Shroud is made of hand-spun thread, the threads that compose the Shroud were probably spun before the 12th century.
4. The international standard of the market place at the time of Jesus was the Assyrian cubit which was equal to about 21.6 inches (54.9 cm). The dimensions of the Shroud in this unit is very close to 8 by 2 cubits, indicating it was made in ancient times when the cubit was used as a unit of measurement.
5. Ancient coins that contain the same image as the Shroud of Turin go back to about 675 AD, thus showing that the Shroud must have existed prior to about 675 AD.
6. The face cloth of Jesus is believed to be in Oviedo, Spain, arriving there in 840 AD. It is called the Sudarium of Oviedo. Similarity of the blood stain on the Sudarium and the Shroud mean that they covered the same body, indicates that the Shroud can also be dated back to at least 840 AD.
7. Ancient paintings and other works of art that contain the same image as the Shroud of Turin go back to about 550 AD.
8. The image on the Shroud is that of a crucified man. Specifics of this image indicates that it was made at a time when there was current knowledge of Roman Crucifixion, which was outlawed in 337 AD. Thus, the image on the Shroud was probably made earlier than 337 AD.
9. Galatians 3:1 (~ 47 to 56 AD) indicates the believers in Galatia were shown something that “clearly” or “publicly portrayed” “Jesus Christ … as crucified” (NIV & NASB). They had seen it with their “very eyes” (NIV). A very reasonable explanation is that they saw Jesus’ burial shroud containing his blood and possibly his image.
10. There is a 3.5-inch wide piece of linen that is sewn onto the main piece of the Shroud. The stitch used to connect this side piece is a unique stitch, most similar to a stitch on a piece of cloth found at Masada, which was destroyed in 73 to 74 AD.
11. The image on the Shroud is that of a naked man who was crucified exactly as the Bible says that Jesus was crucified. Many evidences indicate that it is most reasonable to believe that the image was made by his dead body. Jesus probably died either in 30 or 33 AD, so that the Shroud must also date to 30 or 33 AD.
12. A photograph of the face on the Shroud taken by professional photographer Giuseppe Enrie in 1931 indicates a possible coin over one eye. It has been identified as a Roman Lepton minted by Pontius Pilate in 29 to 32 AD. This evidence is tentative.
13. Giulio Fanti developed three different types of physical tests to determine how flax fibers change with age. When these tests were applied to the Shroud they gave an average date of 33 BC ± 250.
14. Fibers from the Shroud show damage from sources of natural background radiation similar to that found on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are dated to about 250 BC to 70 AD. Thus, the Shroud should date to about this same period.
7. The 1988 Carbon Dating Problem
Results of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) in 1978 supported the authenticity of the Shroud, but this was brought into question by carbon dating. In 1988, samples were cut from the corner of the cloth and sent for carbon dating at three laboratories in Tucson, Zurich, and Oxford. Carbon dating is done by measuring the C14 to C12 ratio of samples, and the date is implied from the ratio. The three laboratories made 16 measurements of the C14 to C12 ratio. The average date from the 16 measurements at the three laboratories was 1260 ± 31 AD, which produced a range of 1260 to 1390 AD when corrected for the variable amount of C14 in the atmosphere. This 1260-1390 range was claimed to be a two-sigma range, which means that there should be a 95% probability that the true date falls within this 1260-1390 range. However, subsequent statistical analysis of the 16 measured values by multiple individuals found strong evidence the variation in the laboratory’s measurements was not only due to random measurement errors but very probably also due to something that could have altered the measured dates from the first century to the Middle Ages. In statistical analysis terminology, this “something” is called a systematic error or bias. Since it cannot be determined from the measurements how much they were affected by this systematic bias, the conclusion in Damon that the Shroud dates to 1260 to 1390 AD should be rejected. The evidence can be summarized as follows:
· Due to its unique characteristics, the image could not have been made between 1260 and 1390 AD because the technology did not exist. The technology to form this image still does not exist.
· 13 other date indicators are consistent with a first century date for the Shroud and inconsistent with the carbon date of 1260 to 1390 AD. This is discussed in the previous section.
· Dates from the three laboratories don’t agree with each other. The average dates from the laboratories in Tucson (1303.5 ± 17.2) and Oxford (1200.8 ± 30.7) are statistically different (difference = 102.7 ± 35.2) from each other at the 102.7 / 35.2 = 2.9 sigma level, which is above the normal 2.0 sigma acceptance level.
· Plotting the average values from the three laboratories indicates there is a gradient or slope to the carbon dates from the three laboratories of about 36 years per cm of distance from the bottom of the Shroud. This indicates that something altered the date measurements as a function of (depending on) the distance of the original location of the samples from the bottom of the cloth. Nuclear analysis computer calculations indicate this slope in the carbon dates is about the same as would result from new C14 produced on the Shroud by neutron absorption resulting from the distribution of neutrons in the tomb if they were emitted from within the body.
· When a Chi-squared statistical analysis is performed on the 16 measurements and their uncertainties, the C14 date measurements have only a 1.4% probability of being consistent with the uncertainties. This indicates about a 98% probability that something altered the measurements. This something, or bias, changed the measurements by about 36 years per cm as stated above.
· The date of 1260 to 1390 AD for the Shroud was based on ignoring half the data, i.e. all measurement uncertainties. It is not legitimate to simply ignore all the measurement uncertainties: 1) they were obtained using the same equipment and procedures as the measurements, 2) they were reasonably consistent for all laboratories, and 3) they were reasonably consistent with the uncertainties for the three standards that were run at the same time as the Shroud samples.
What altered the measured dates? Evidence indicates the image was formed by a burst of radiation emitted from within the body. Atoms that make up the body are composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. If neutrons were included in this burst of radiation, a small fraction of them would have been absorbed in the trace amount of N14 in the threads to create new C14 in the Shroud by the [N14 + neutron à C14 + proton] reaction. To shift the C14 date for the samples from about 30-33 AD (the death of Jesus) to 1260 AD requires only a 16% increase in the C14 content at the sample location. If only one neutron were emitted from the body for every ten billion that were in the body, this would have been enough to increase the C14 content by the required 16% at the sample location. (See papers 10, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21, and 23 on the RESEARCH page.)
8. How can the mysteries of the Shroud be explained?
In our judgment, good short answers to the main mysteries related to the Shroud of Turin are the following: (See paper 16 on the RESEARCH page.)
Q1. Why do we see the image of a naked crucified man on the Shroud?
A1. We can see the image of a naked crucified man on the Shroud because the information that defines the appearance of a naked crucified man has been encoded into the pattern of discolored fibers on the Shroud. Photons of light that reflect off the Shroud carry this information to our eyes, where the rods and cones at the back of our eyes translate it into electrical signals that travel up our optic nerves to our brains. Our brains have learned to interpret this information as the appearance of a naked crucified man (See paper 5 on the RESEARCH page).
Q2. Previous scientific research on the Shroud indicates that the characteristics of the image are so unique that no one (artist or forger) could have created the image either in a previous era or even today. How then was the image made on the Shroud?
A2. The required information, discussed above, was carried from the body to the cloth by radiation (charged particles or infrared, visible, or ultraviolet light) which deposited it on the cloth when it was absorbed. (See paper 6 on the RESEARCH page.) This radiation probably caused a static discharge from the high points of the fibers which could have discolored them by electrical heating and/or ozone production. (See paper 22 on the RESEARCH page).
Q3. How can the carbon dating to 1260-1390 not be correct?
A3. In 1988, samples were taken from the bottom corner of the Shroud and sent to three laboratories in Oxford, Zurich, and Tucson for C-14 dating, which is done by measuring the C-14 to C-12 ratio, since C-14 decays but C-12 is stable. The average date from the three laboratories was 1260 ± 31 AD, which produced a two sigma (95% probability) range of 1260 to 1390 AD when corrected for the changing concentration of C-14 in the atmosphere. However, multiple subsequent statistical analysis of the data from the 16 measurements by the three laboratories indicates that the measured values were not consistent with the measurement uncertainties. In statistical analysis terminology, the three samples were heterogeneous (inconsistent with each other) because their C-14 to C-12 ratios had been altered by a systematic bias that was a function of the distance from the bottom of the Shroud. This very strange result indicates that the measurement data should have been rejected for dating the Shroud. (See section 7)
Q4. Most of the blood would have dried on the body by the time that the body was placed into the Shroud in the tomb. Dried blood will not soak into a piece of cloth placed over the blood. In fact, blood that is dried on skin must be scrubbed off the skin to remove it. The blood marks on the cloth are pristine in appearance with no cracking or chipping on the outer edge. This indicates that the Shroud was not lifted off a body from which it had soaked up the blood. How then could the dried blood have transferred from the body to the cloth, even where the Shroud would not have been touching the body and where there was no underlying wound?
A4. The evidence is not adequate to explain this fully yet. However, the concept of a burst of radiation emitted from the body that forms the image on the Shroud raises an interesting possibility. Particle radiation and electromagnetic radiation (infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light) carry momentum. When these forms of radiation hit an object, they can transfer momentum to the object and thus force it to move. An extremely intense rapid burst of radiation from the body would have the capability to force the blood off the body and thrust it onto and into the Shroud. If the radiation were vertically collimated, as would be needed to form the image on the cloth without a lens between the body and the cloth, the blood would be transferred vertically up and down away from the body so that when it reached the cloth, it would still be in the configuration that it was in on the body.
Q5. The ultimate question is whether the Shroud of Turin could be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus.
A5. See the next section.
9. Could it be the authentic burial cloth of Jesus?
When you look at the cloth, you see good-resolution front and back images of a crucified man: a severe flogging, a nail wound in the only wrist that is visible, blood running down the arms with the angles of blood flow consistent with crucifixion, and nail wounds in the feet. Additional aspects relate to how Jesus was specifically crucified: a cap of thorns that was beat into his scalp, a puncture wound in the side with a hole the size of a Roman thrusting spear, post-mortem (after death) blood running down from the side wound, and legs not broken. The image also indicates he was dead: the curvature of the feet due to rigor mortis, and blood from the side wound separated into its components, referred to as “blood and water” (John 19:34). Closer examination indicates swollen cheeks from a beating to the head, damaged nose from this beating or a fall, abrasions on both shoulders from carrying a rough heavy object, a section of his beard missing, and no body-decay products present, all consistent with the image being Jesus. Microscopic examination is also consistent with the image being Jesus: dirt was found in abrasions on the tip of his nose and on one knee consistent with a fall, there was pollen from Jerusalem on the Shroud and pollen around his head from a plant with long thorns, and there were small chips of limestone near the feet containing impurities that match limestone in Jerusalem. Chemical analysis indicates that what appears to be blood contains bilirubin, made by the liver in processing damaged red blood cells that would have resulted from the severe flogging. The face on the Shroud also agrees with our concept of how Jesus looked. This is because our concept is based on the earliest paintings of Jesus (~ 550 AD) which were evidently based on the Shroud. All evidence is consistent with the image being Jesus.
· Based on the nature of the blood on the Shroud (pristine appearance, intact edges, clear blood serum around the dried blood), the blood must have come from a real human body that was wrapped within the Shroud. Based on the image on the Shroud, the body wrapped within the Shroud was the dead body of a man that had been crucified.
· Based on the STURP analysis, the image on the Shroud is not due to paint, dye, stain, liquid, scorch, or a photographic process. The evidence indicates the image is due to radiation damage to the linen caused by radiation emitted from the body that was wrapped within the cloth. We have no other example of this happening. It was evidently a unique event.
Thus, the question is, what man who died by crucifixion could have gone through a unique event in which his dead body emitted such a powerful burst of radiation that it encoded an image of itself onto the linen cloth in which it was wrapped? If one looks through all mankind’s historical records, only Jesus and his reported disappearance from within his burial shroud satisfy these two criteria. Thus, the most reasonable conclusion is that the image on the Shroud of Turin is Jesus. There is no other explanation that is consistent with the historical and scientific research. Using this conclusion, a holistic explanation for the mysteries of the Shroud can be developed (See paper 16 on the RESEARCH page.).
10. Summary of research on the Shroud.
The front and back images of a crucified man can be seen on the Shroud of Turin because the information that defines the appearance of a crucified man has been encoded into the pattern of discolored fibers that make the image on the Shroud. This information was only inherent to the body and was not in the limestone or air in the tomb. Thus, this information had to be transported from the body to the cloth, where it had to be deposited. It had to be deposited on the cloth to control the mechanism that discolored the fibers, i.e. to control which fibers were discolored and the length of the discoloration on the fibers. Of the various ways that information can be communicated, only radiation could have transported the focused information from the body to the cloth required to form the good resolution front and back images on the Shroud. This radiation was probably emitted in a very brief powerful burst from within the body to create the good resolution images on the Shroud, with their very unusual characteristics. (See papers 5, 6, and 22 on the RESEARCH page.)
If neutrons were included in this burst of radiation from the body, a small fraction of them would have been absorbed in the trace amount of N14 in the cloth to create new C14 on the Shroud primarily by the [N14 + neutron à C14 + proton] reaction, thus explaining the 1988 carbon dating of the Shroud to 1260-1390 AD. The C14 concentration at the 1988 sample location would have to be increased by only 16% to cause the carbon date to be changed from about 33 AD to 1260 AD. This 16% increase would result if only one neutron were emitted from the body for every ten billion that were in the body. This neutron absorption hypothesis is the only hypothesis that is consistent with the four things that we know about carbon dating as it relates to the Shroud of Turin – the date, the slope, and the range of the measurement data obtained in the 1988 carbon dating of the Shroud and the 700 AD carbon date for the Sudarium. The only person in all our historical records that was crucified exactly like Jesus and could have emitted a burst of radiation from his dead body that was sufficiently intense to create an image of his body on fabric is the historic Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, the evidence from the Shroud indicates that it is most reasonable to believe that it is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus. (See papers 10, 11, 12, 13, 21, and 23 on the RESEARCH page.)
The photographs below show additional views of the Shroud of Turin.
All photographs are courtesy of Barrie Schwortz (www.shroud.com).