Research radiocarbon dating and the shroud of turin

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Records suggest the Shroud changed hands many times until 1578, when it ended up in its current home, the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy.

The 14-foot long herringbone woven cloth appears to show the faint imprint of a man bearing wounds consistent with crucifixion.

Raymond Rogers says his research and chemical tests show the material used in the 1988 radiocarbon analysis was cut from a medieval patch woven into the shroud to repair fire damage.

It was this material that was responsible for an invalid date being assigned to the original shroud cloth, he argues.

Levels of vanillin in material such as linen fall over time.

'Older date' "The fact that vanillin cannot be detected in the lignin on shroud fibres, Dead Sea scrolls linen and other very old linens indicates that the shroud is quite old," Mr Rogers writes.

"We believe it is possible that neutron emissions by earthquakes could have induced the image formation on the Shroud's linen fibres, through thermal neutron capture on nitrogen nuclei, and could also have caused a wrong radiocarbon dating," said Professor Alberto Carpinteri, from the Politecnico di Torino.

It is hoped that such an investigation will be able to confirm or rule out the radiation theory.

"The radiocarbon sample has completely different chemical properties than the main part of the shroud relic," said Mr Rogers, who is a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, US.

Fire damage He says he was originally dubious of untested claims that the 1988 sample was taken from a re-weave.

The Shroud of Turin is much older than suggested by radiocarbon dating carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study in a peer-reviewed journal.

A research paper published in Thermochimica Acta suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.

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