Researchers are hosting a conference at Ohio State University in which they are announcing that they have shed more light on—or shrouded further in mystery, if you'll pardon the pun—the possible authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. Carbon dating authorized by the Roman Catholic church in 1998 established it, for many, to be medieval in origin. New research, however, suggests that the shroud may have been vandalized and/or patched during medieval times, introducing cotton fibers that are not part of the original.
At the conference this weekend, believers in the shroud's authenticity say they will reveal new data showing that the corner that was sampled contained cotton threads, and is therefore not representative of the main cloth, which is linen. A sample that's not representative can't be used to date the shroud, the researchers say.
The work was led by Robert Villarreal, a chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
His work further confirms the theory of Dublin couple Joe Marino and Sue Benford. Neither is a professional researcher, but they've devoted a combined 42 years to studying the shroud.
In the 1500s, the shroud went on a tour of Europe, and security wasn't tight, Benford said. It's possible somebody removed a small piece of the shroud and patched it using "invisible weaving," a common technique at the time that would've left the alteration unnoticeable to the naked eye.
The Columbus Dispatch did some pre-event coverage here, and Blogspotting Anglican Episcopalian, who is at the conference and to whom we owe a hat tip for this announcement, has more:
Using some of the most advanced analytical equipment available, a team of nine scientists at the famed Los Alamos National Laboratory confirmed that the material used for radiocarbon dating of the shroud in 1988 was not part of the shroud’s fabric. Previously, micro-chemical tests had demonstrated that the cloth is at least twice as old as the medieval date determined by the now discredited carbon 14 tests. This gives new life to historical and forensic arguments that suggest that the shroud might be the burial cloth of Jesus.
This from here.