IL MESSAGGERO - Friday, August
9, 2002, page 8
Other polemics - The 1988
dating is questioned
Two scholars: there are also
invisible seams on that linen cloth.
The radiocarbon test may
have been altered
«According to the 14C
test the cloth appeared Medieval. Perhaps only some threads were.»
ROME - Medieval was the darn, not the Shroud. Just while 30 visible
patches are removed, some scholars direct their attention to the invisible
darns on the Turinese Sheet. They were widely used in the Middle
Ages for very precious cloths, just like the one venerated as the holiest
of relics. Therefore, the result of the dating tests of the Shroud
with the radiocarbon method (C14), carried out by the laboratories of Oxford,
Tucson and Zurich in 1988 and dating the Shroud cloth between 1260 and
1390, has been altered by the presence, just in the area of the dating
of the small linen samples, an invisible darn dating back to the 16th century.
Sue Benford and Joseph Marino, two American sindonologists, claim this.
A series of pictures of one of the samples taken in 1988 for the radiocarbon
dating and of the remaining part that was not used were submitted to three
textile experts, independently and without saying the samples had been
taken from the Shroud. All the three experts recognized a different
weaving on one side of the samples. According to the calculations
of Beta Analytic, the largest provider of radiocarbon dating in the world,
a mixture of 60% of material, from the 16th century, with 40% of material
from the 1st century would carry a 13th century dating. The proportion
of more recent material has been evaluated on the basis of what the three
textile experts observed.
Interesting observations have been carried out by Ray Rogers, a chemist
who was a member of STURP, the group of American scientists who examined
the Shroud in 1978. Rogers has linen fibers (which the Shroud is made of)
coming both from the same area of the sample for the 14C analysis (they
had been cut by the Belgian expert Gilbert Raes in 1973) and from other
areas of the Shroud. In only the Raes' corner, where the 1988 sampling
had been carried out, the fibers appear coated and soaked by a yellow-brownish
amorphous substance, whose color varies in intensity from one fiber to
the other. On the contrary, the fibers coming from the other parts
of the Shroud do not have such a coating, which is almost certainly a yellow-rubber
vegetable, very likely the gum-arabic, once used for textile applications.
Moreover, Rogers has observed a superimposition (splice) in the center
of a thread of the Raes sample: it is an invisible darn, widely used in
the 16th century. In 1982 a thread of the Raes sample had already
been dated with a radiocarbon method at the California Institute of Technology
(CalTech). Half of the thread appeared covered with starch.
The thread was divided in half: the non-starched part turned out
to date from the 3rd century A.D., while the starched end gave a date of
the 13th century A.D. This is a message for the Holy See to plan
a new 14C test with serenity but in a multidisciplinary context and with
a particular attention to the representativeness of the sample.