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What is the date of Shroud of Turin

On 21 April 1988 a small piece of cloth was cut from one of the corners of the Shroud of Turin to do radiocarbon testing to find the age of the Shroud of Turin cloth. This small piece was further divided and given to 3 world famous laboratories to do the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin. The three world leading radiocarbon testing laboratories which did the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin were the Oxford University of UK, Arizona University of USA and ETH Zürich of Switzerland. official announcement of the radiocarbon dating of the shroud of turin. Official announcement of the radiocarbon dating results of the Shroud of Turin was made by Cardinal Ballestrero of Turin on 13 October 1988. He announced that the 3 radiocarbon labs have come to the unanimous conclusion that the approximate date of origin of the Shroud of Turin was between the years 1260-1390 AD.

What is radiocarbon testing?

Radio carbon testing is a way to find out how old an object is. How carbon dating works is by testing the ratio between C-12 and C-14 isotopes of Carbon. An isotope means any element which exists having the same number of protons or electrons but different number of Neutrons. This makes the same element having slightly different atomic weights depending on the number of neutrons. For example, you may have heard of 'Heavy Water' - this is water containing a higher proportion of water formed with the heavier isotope of Hydrogen called Deuterium.

Carbon has three isotopes designated as carbon-12 or C-12, carbon-13 or C-13 and carbon-14 or C-14. The C-14 isotope of Carbon is not stable and slowly changes or decays into Nitrogen-14. The rate at which C-14 decays is a constant and it is known to scientists. Without getting into more Science, the ratio of C-12 to C-14 content in a living matter is known to be fixed at the time it is alive, but the moment something dies, including plants, the C-14 starts to decay but the C-12 remains stable. So the older an object gets it will have lesser amount of C-14, but the amount of C-12 does not change with time. So the ratio between C-12 and C-14 in an object changes with time. By measuring the ratio between C-12 and C-14 in an object, scientists can now accurately know how old an object is. To measure C-14, the samples for testing are burned and hence it is called a destructive testing method.


Why Shroud of Turin radiocarbon dating is wrong

To many the results of the Shroud C-14 Carbon dating to the middle ages came as a shock. Most had doubts as to whether the radiocarbon date was correct but to Shroud doubters this came as confirmation that they were right all along, the Turin Shroud was a forgery. But things changed soon. Many of the Shroudies or Shroud believers started doing their own research to find flaws in the Shroud C-14 radiocarbon date.

Many theories were put forward for the wrong dating of the Shroud. Some blame the 'Mycoplasma' or growth of biological matter on the shroud during the nearly 2000 years of its storage in unhygienic and humid conditions. They claimed that this biological growth, being of a more recent date, altered the real date of the Shroud. Others claimed that because of the Shroud was in a few fire accidents and got heated up altering the C-14 content to give a wrong dating result for the Shroud of Turin. But all these theories were rejected by the 3 labs which did the testing as not affecting their age test of the Shroud of Turin samples.

However, one of the theories put forward for the wrong carbon dates of the Shroud of Turin held ground and it is now an established fact that the Carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin done in 1988 was wrong. It was established conclusively that the Shroud of Turin samples given for radiocarbon testing was not taken from the original cloth of the Shroud, but from an area of the Shroud that had been repaired with dyed cotton threads. The following video by the late Dr. Raymond (Ray) Rogers of the famous Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico, USA conclusively proves that the Shroud dates by radiocarbon testing is wrong

Video: Dr. Ray Rogers explaining why the Shroud carbon dates are wrong

Reasons for wrong dating of Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin was dated wrongly because the samples taken for radiocarbon dating was from one of the corners of the Shroud which had been repaired in the middle ages. There were threads in the sample which were not from the original material of the Shroud of Turin. The corners of the Shroud of Turin were damaged from continuous holding of the Shroud by the corners while it was displayed during it lifetime of 2000 years. So, frayed corners of the Shroud of Turin were repaired in the middle ages using a process called invisible weaving or darning using dyed cotton threads available then.

Therefore, the simple explanation as to why the Carbon Dating was not accurate, was that the sample on which the carbon dating was done contained foreign threads and was not entirely from the original Shroud material. The Samples submitted for carbon dating were taken out of one of the corners of the Shroud of Turin. The existence of foreign threads in the corners of the Shroud of Turin has now been proven beyond doubt as explained in the above video by the late Dr. Raymond (Ray) Rogers.

The head of the Oxford radiocarbon testing laboratory, Professor Christoper Ramsey, now admits that the date of the Shroud of Turin could be wrong and is open for retesting if the Shroud of Turin authorities requests it.


Publication of Dr. Ray Rogers in the Peer reviewed journal 'Thermo Chimica Acta'

In 2005 January 20 a paper was published in the professional journal, ‘Thermo Chimica Acta’ by Dr. Ray Rogers, a retired Scientist from the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and the lead chemist with the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP). He disputed the 1988 Carbon dating of the Shroud of Turin and provided conclusive evidence that the samples for the 1988 shroud carbon dating tests was not part of the original shroud, but taken from an area of the Shroud that was repaired by being re-weaving during the middle ages.

To quote from the article of Dr. Rogers: “Pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry results from the sample area coupled with microscopic and microchemical observations prove that the radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.”

“As part of the Shroud of Turin research project (STURP), I took 32 adhesive-tape samples from all areas of the shroud and associated textiles in 1978.” “It enabled direct chemical testing on recovered linen fibers and particulates”.

“If the shroud had been produced between 1260 and 1390 AD, as indicated by the radiocarbon analyses, lignin should be easy to detect. A linen produced in 1260 AD would have retained about 37% of its vanillin in 1978… The Holland cloth, and all other medieval linens gave the test [i.e. tested positive] for vanillin wherever lignin could be observed on growth nodes. The disappearance of all traces of vanillin from the lignin in the shroud indicates a much older age than the radiocarbon laboratories reported.”

“The fire of 1532 could not have greatly affected the vanillin content of lignin in all parts of the shroud equally. The thermal conductivity of linen is very low… therefore, the unscorched parts of the folded cloth could not have become very hot.” “The cloth’s center would not have heated at all in the time available. The rapid change in color from black to white at the margins of the scorches illustrates this fact.” “Different amounts of vanillin would have been lost in different areas. No samples from any location on the shroud gave the vanillin test [i.e. tested positive].” “The lignin on shroud samples and on samples from the Dead Sea scrolls does not give the test [i.e. tests negative].”

“Because the shroud and other very old linens do not give the vanillin test [i.e. test negative], the cloth must be quite old.” “A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests that the shroud is between 1300- and 3000-years old. Even allowing for errors in the measurements and assumptions about storage conditions, the cloth is unlikely to be as young as 840 years.”

“A gum/dye/mordant [(for affixing dye)] coating is easy to observe on… radiocarbon [sample] yarns. No other part of the shroud shows such a coating.” “The radiocarbon sample had been dyed. Dyeing was probably done intentionally on pristine replacement material to match the color of the older, sepia-colored cloth.” “The dye found on the radiocarbon sample was not used in Europe before about 1291 AD and was not common until more than 100 years later.” “Specifically, the color and distribution of the coating implies that repairs were made at an unknown time with foreign linen dyed to match the older original material.” “The consequence of this conclusion is that the radiocarbon sample was not representative of the original cloth.”

“The combined evidence from chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, cotton content, and pyrolysis-mass-spectrometry proves that the material from the radiocarbon area of the shroud is significantly different from that of the main cloth. The radiocarbon sample was thus not part of the original cloth and is invalid for determining the age of the shroud.”


New tests prove the Shroud Carbon dating wrong

Professor Gulio Fanti, of the University of Padua in Italy, has recently carried out some tests on fibers obtained from a reserve sample of a piece of the Shroud which was cut in 1988 for Carbon dating. Results of his tests date the Shroud of Turin to the 1st century AD.

The tests by Professor Gulio Fanti, were carried out in University of Padua laboratories in collaboration with professors from various Italian universities, led by Giulio Fanti and the results of these tests have been published in an articles entitled “Non-destructive dating of ancient flax textiles by means of vibrational spectroscopy” by Giulio Fanti, Pietro Baraldi, Roberto Basso, and Anna Tinti in the peer-reviewed research journal ‘Vibrational Spectroscopy’, in July 2013. He also wrote an article titled “A new cyclic-loads machine for the measurement of micro-mechanical properties of single flax fibers coming from the Turin Shroud” with Pierandrea Malfi for the AIMETA (Italian Association of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics) congress in 2013. Professor Gulio Fanti has also published a book in 2013 called “il Mistero della Sindone” (The Mystery of the Shroud).

The tests carried out by Professor Fanti comprised of three tests: one mechanical and two chemical. The mechanical tests were to measure and compare the tensile strength and elongation of several samples of individual linen fibers. The chemical tests were done with Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy, which examined the relationship between age and a spectral properties of ancient linen fibers.

Final results of Professor Fanti’s research shows with 95% certainty that the Shroud fibers are from the first centaury AD.


Please visit the following good websites about Shroud of Turin

  1. Very informative Turin Shroud Site: www.shroud.com
  2. Shroud of Turin research Project (STURP) leader's website: www.shroudofturin.com
  3. Good article about Turin Shroud: St. Antony's Padua website
  4. About Roman Coins on Turin Shroud: www.numismalink.com
  5. About NASA VP-8 3D Shroud image: www2.ljworld.com
  6. Turin Shroud Blog: www.shroudstory.com

Good online shopping sites for Shroud of Turin pictures, medals, etc.

Please, you should not feel that the people involved with the following websites are not being ethical by doing commercial operations using the Shroud of Turin. They are all very dedicated people, very devoted to the Shroud of Turin, but they are not rich enough and cannot afford to give away free Shroud of Turin materials. They also need to make a living, especially since they devote almost their entire time doing service promoting the Shroud of Turin.

  1. Official photographer to STURP, good Shroud pictures Shroud.com
  2. Shop for Turin Shroud pictures from Emmy winner, 3D computer graphics artist, Ray Downing RayDowning.com
  3. Shop for Turin Shroud memorabilia and souvenirs like picture cards, medals, etc. HolyFace.org.uk