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Shroud of Turin Probably Fake

Posted: 2005-06-25
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The French science magazine "Science and Life" says that recent experiments prove that the shroud of Turin is a fake. The shroud, which has an image of a crucified man on it, is thought to be the burial wrapping of Jesus...

The French science magazine "Science and Life" says that recent experiments prove that the shroud of Turin is a fake. The shroud, which has an image of a crucified man on it, is thought to be the burial wrapping of Jesus. The authenticity of the shroud has been debated since it first turned up in 1537, so what finally clinched it for the French researchers? They made one themselves.

In 1988, scientists carried out carbon-14 dating on the linen cloth and concluded that the material was made some time between 1260 and 1390. But later, contradictory, studies showed that since only the edges of the cloth were removed to be carbon-dated, this result could have been due to bacteria left on the surface by the many hands that have held it over the years. Also, samples for the 1988 study were taken from a piece of cloth that had been sewn into the fabric by nuns who repaired it after it was damaged in a fire in 1532.

The French researchers decided to test one of the theories about how the shroud was created. They had an artist create a sculpture of a face like the one on the shroud. A damp linen sheet was then put over the face and allowed to dry, so that the cloth was molded into the shape of the sculptured face. After this, gelatine, a chemical that leaves marks that look like blood, was dabbed onto the cloth in the correct places. Analysis has revealed that the blood spots on the shroud were not painted on, because there are no brush marks, but dabbing the collagen-like substance on with a cloth explains this mystery.

Researchers have long known that the image wasn't painted on the cloth, but had to have been produced by a three-dimensional object—but whether or not this was the face of an actual man was unknown. While the French scientists used a sculpture, the original artist could have used a corpse.

The cloth was then turned inside-out, revealing a shroud-like image. Gelatine contains collagen, so modern testing methods would identify it as an organic substance, like blood. In medieval times, it was used as a glue, to bind pigments to cloth. The image on the newly-created shroud did not fade when washed in hot water.

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