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Shroud of turin carbon dating 2015

The square-foot rectangle of linen known as the Shroud of Turin is one of the most sacred religious icons on Earth, venerated by millions of Christians as the actual burial garment of Jesus Christ.


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The Shroud of Turina linen cloth that tradition associates with the crucifixion and burial of Jesushas undergone numerous scientific tests, the most notable of which is radiocarbon datingin an attempt to determine the relic 's authenticity. Inscientists at three separate laboratories dated samples from the Shroud to a range of — AD, which coincides with the first certain appearance of the shroud in the s and is much later than the burial of Jesus in 30 or 33 AD. The idea of scientifically dating the shroud had first been proposed in the s, but permission had been refused because the procedure at the time would have required the destruction of too much fabric almost 0.

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When I ed the editorial team of Nature inI quickly discovered what a lively, controversy-riven place it was to be working. But few Nature papers from that era have remained such a cause of dispute as the one published in on radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud.

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It was meant to be the end of the story, not a fresh stimulus for argument. The shroud is one of the holy relics of the Catholic Church, and is believed by many of the devout to be the burial wrapping of Christ.

It is a piece of antique linen measuring 4. No one knows how the image was made, although the general view is that the coloration comes from some sort of chemical transformation of the surface fibres of the linen.

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On this subject it is only fair to lay your cards on the table at the outset some efforts to defend the traditional interpretation betray an underlying religious agenda. That puzzle persists largely because there has been so little archaeological research on the shroud. Kept in the cathedral complex in Turin, it is in the charge of the Vatican, which now cautiously refrains from pronouncing on its authenticity but calls it only an object of veneration.

And the papal authorities have been unwilling to release samples for scientific study. That was the big deal about the paper, which analysed small samples taken from one region on the edge of the cloth. The first historical record of the shroud appears too in the fourteenth century.

Yet this was not the last word. Some critics claimed that the radiocarbon dating was inconclusive. They said, for example, that the might have been distorted by the presence of fungal biofilms on the cloth, or by damage caused by a fire in the 16th century, or that the region sampled was not representative of the whole. It sounds like special pleading, but some assert that other tests on the fabric, as well as historical analysis, suggest it was made at an earlier date.

Those who favour this contention will surely draw support from a new study 5 that re-examines the radiocarbon data. The raw data used for the paper were stored at the British Museum in London, but have been made available to independent researcher Tristan Casabianca and his coworkers through a Freedom of Information request. ly, the teams involved in the work have stood by their claims. So where does this leave us? One thing is sure: the conclusions of many papers could probably be challenged if subject to this level of close scrutiny.

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Nothing published so far on the shroud, including this paper, offers compelling reason to think that the study was substantially wrong — but apparently it was not definitive either. But what about the shroud? Of course, the papal guardians are bound to be reluctant to cut off more pieces for destructive tests — but the scientific, historical and theological interest surely justify that small sacrifice.

Besides, quite aside from dating, it would be good to know more about the chemistry of the image to try to figure out how it was made.

As it stands, reticence looks more like fear of what further studies might reveal. Why not start here? Archaeology can offer unique perspectives on our place in the world, but the field has some challenges to overcome along the way.

Nina Notman tells the story of the interwar industrial chemist whose analytical skill and persistence saw her outmanoeuvre sexism and prove her research aptitude. Site powered by Webvision Cloud. Lorem ipsum.

No comments. New evidence has reopened the debate on radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud.

References 1 P E Damon et al. Related articles.

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