Shroud turin dating
Any material of plant or animal origin, including textiles, wood, bones and leather, can be dated by its content of carbon-14.Scientists remove a small sample from an object, treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base, and finally burn it in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas.Perhaps more difficult to dismiss than medieval bishops was the evidence of 20th Century scientists from the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, who were allowed to carbon date samples of the shroud in 1988.After three separate tests in laboratories in Arizona, Oxford and Zurich, the scientists stated with 95 per cent confidence that the shroud dated from 1260-1390, (a date range which happened to include the first documented references to the cloth).Rowe's new method eliminates the destructive steps of sampling, acid-base washes and burning.
They concluded that two short rivulets of possible blood on the left hand of the shroud’s ghostly figure could only have been formed by someone who was upright with their arms at an angle of about 45 degrees.
Some shroud believers suggested the carbon dates fragments may have included part of a 16th Century attempt at ‘invisible’ repair of a shroud dating from the time of Christ.
This garnered the response that if the scientists really had tested samples that combined 16th Century and first Century elements, they would have got a carbon dating reading of around the 7th Century – still much earlier than the actual results obtained.
“And further to attract the multitude so that money might cunningly be wrung from them, pretended miracles were worked, certain men being hired to represent themselves as healed at the moment of the exhibition of the shroud.” Even in 1355, d’Arcis told Pope Clement, medieval experts were debunking the claims being made about the shroud.
The bishop recalled that during Henry of Poitiers’ investigation “Many theologians and other wise persons declared that this could not be the real shroud of our Lord having the Saviour's likeness thus imprinted upon it, since the holy Gospel made no mention of any such imprint, while, if it had been true, it was quite unlikely that the holy Evangelists would have omitted to record it, or that the fact should have remained hidden until the present time.” Some modern commentators, however, have dismissed Bishop d’Arcis’ comments as nothing more than jealousy and synthetic outrage.