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.