New testing dates Shroud of Turin to era of Christ

shroud of turin
Full-length photograph of the Shroud of Turin which is said to have been the cloth placed on Jesus at the time of his burial. Photo by Giuseppe Enrie, 1931 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (

(RNS) New scientific tests on the Shroud of Turin, which went on display Saturday (March 30) in a special TV appearance introduced by the pope, date the cloth to ancient times, challenging earlier experiments that dated it only to the Middle Ages.

shroud of turin

Full-length photograph of the Shroud of Turin which is said to have been the cloth placed on Jesus at the time of his burial. Photo by Giuseppe Enrie, 1931 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (

Pope Francis sent a special video message to the televised event in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, which coincided with Holy Saturday, when Catholics mark the period between Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

The Vatican, tiptoeing carefully, has never claimed that the 14-foot linen cloth was used to cover Christ after he was taken from the cross 2,000 years ago, as some believers claim.

Francis, reflecting that careful Vatican policy, on Saturday called the cloth, which is kept in a climate-controlled case, an “icon” — not a relic.

But Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, the “pontifical custodian of the shroud,” said the special display on Holy Saturday “means that it represents a very important testimony to the Passion and the resurrection of the Lord,” The Telegraph reported.

Burial of Jesus, Oil paint of Giovanni Battista.  Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons (

Burial of Jesus, Oil paint of Giovanni Battista. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons (

The burial shroud purports to show the imprint of the face and body of a bearded man. The image also purportedly shows nail wounds at the man’s wrist and pinpricks around his brow, consistent with the “crown of thorns” mockingly pressed onto Christ before his crucifixion.

Many experts have stood by a 1988 carbon-14 dating of scraps of the cloth carried out by labs in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona that dated it from 1260 to 1390 — well more than 1,000 years after the time of Christ.

The new test, by scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy, used the same fibers from the 1988 tests but disputes the earlier findings. The new examination dates the shroud to between 300 B.C. and 400 A.D., which would put it in the era of Christ.

It determined that the earlier results may have been skewed by contamination from fibers used to repair the cloth when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages, the British newspaper reported. The cloth has been kept at the cathedral since 1578.

The new tests also supported earlier results claiming to have found traces of dust and pollen on that shroud that could only have come from the Holy Land.

The latest findings are contained in a new Italian-language book — “Il Mistero Della Sindone,” or “The Mystery of the Shroud,” by Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at the University of Padua, and journalist Saverio Gaeta.

Fanti, a Catholic, used infrared light and spectroscopy — the measurement of radiation intensity through wavelengths — in his test. He said the results are the outcome of 15 years of research.

(Doug Stanglin writes for USA Today.)

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Doug Stanglin / USA Today


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  • When these finding are published in a peer-reviewed article, I’ll take them seriously. Anybody can say anything they want in a book.

  • The shroud is an authentic artifact preserved by God as a witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and fulfills Luke’s prophetic utterance in Acts 2:19, pointing to His soon return.

  • You can dispute the dating of cloth, but why can’t science explain how the image was made? If no one can duplicate it now how could someone make it then?

  • It is very interesting that the actual image cannot be explained. With all our advancements in technology it would seem there would be some scientific explanation to how the image was captured in the cloth. That said, to state that it was the actual burial cloth that Jesus was wrapped in is a stretch. For instances, Doubting Thomas stabbed Jesus in the side of the torso to make sure he was dead. This wound is not apparent in the Shroud. I’ll go with the time frame in the 1200-1400s.

  • If you believe in Jesus you have no problem in believing that the shroud is real. If you don’t then any explaniation can be given but ask yourself, why would anyone in the middle ages go through such trouble producing an image of Jesus that would not be recogonized until the 20th century. If you had that capability I would think you would want the world to know it at the time it was produced? Think about it”””

  • The article is almost a decade behind the times in one respect. The scientist who performed the original C14 dating fully retracted/repudiated his 1988 position that the shroud was a medieval forgery in a peer reviewed scientific journal after he personally confirmed the fabric he tested was not actually the shroud itself, but a patch sewed onto it to repair it (the patch therefore, not the shroud, is of medieval origin on the basis of the 1988 study). Here is an older article from 2005 explaining the retraction:

  • The truth will out in the end. In the meantime, the evidence todate suggests overwhelmingly that the Shroud is genuine: notably, conclusively there are no pigments in the fibres of the cloth; the blood residue is consistent with the wounds suffered by Christ; the stiching of the original cloth is unique to the period of Christ; pollen samples are specific to that region (Holy Land); the figure on the cloth is anatomically correct; the image is a product of a radiographic burst; i.e., the thumbs are retracted owing to the radial nerves being severed and they can be seen through the hand. Other criteria may be cited, however space is limited in this application.

  • There is a great deal of empirical evidence regarding the Shroud; however, that won’t satisfy many. In 1978 the STRUP organization conducted many tests, chief among those tests was to look for pigment: there were none. At the same time, tape was used to pull microscopic evidence from the cloth which was examined by Swiss criminologist by the name of Max Frei who found pollen evidence which was only found in the region of the Holy Land. A more recent examination of the Shroud revealed 1st C. stitching found by textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg. Any of this information is easily accessible online.

  • “Accessible online” is not the same as “published in a peer-reviewed journal.” Can you cite a source for me?

  • I would argue that it makes the most sense to trust STURP, which dates it to the 13th-4th centuries, over Fanti’s book. The former have published results in scientific journals, where the latter has not.

  • The Shroud was not radiocarbon dated under STURP, but rather some years later (1986) under the Turin Protocol when only ONE swatch was taken from the cloth and then divided into three pieces and sent out to labs in: Oxford, Tucon and Zurich. Apparently, the piece of material was not taken from the Shroud proper, but from a section that was sewn on after the fire of 1532. I would contend that in the interest of intellectual honesty two samples should have been removed from the Shroud: a piece from the main body of the Shroud and a piece from the add-on. The results of course were a foregone conclusion working with these premises.

  • Great. And since we have the technology to do that now, anyone who does so and publishes a peer-reviewed paper on the issue has got a reader in me.

  • The Sudarium of Oviedo matches exactly the stains on the Shroud and they were blood type AB. So if you understand probability (math) then you know snake eyes is 1/6 x 1/6 = 1/36 but two snake eyes in a row is 1/36 x 1/36 — what re the odds of a crucifixion in Jerusalem (lots of crucifixions in Roman places) at approximately 33 AD WHERE there is a linen shroud (Jos. Arimateha purchased fine line)(most just left the bodies or put them in a ditch – no grave clothes), a head cloth (john mentioned), exact same stains (at death – before they dry) and the stains show crown of thorns wounds, spear wounds, nails in hands and feet wounds, the same size and male.. but they are NOT in a grave but saved and there’s no body? 1/n x 1/n .. you very soon get into millions to 1 odds it is anyone OTHER than Jesus.

  • Why would he make it any more verifiable? Do you understand the odds against YOU existing? You are a miracle .. how much more ao a “sign” do you need?

  • Everyone who has examined it says they cannot reproduce it now (the stains are human blood .. not staining material). Everyone who has examined it agrees it is not counterfeit. Odds (probability .. math ) are it is the Shroud from Jesus grave. But what you believe is up to you.(always is). Some people doubt Apollo mission .. and some doubt the holocaust. You can only lead a horse to water.

  • “Why would he make it any more verifiable?”
    Uh, so that we could verify it.

    “Do you understand the odds against YOU existing? You are a miracle .. how much more ao a “sign” do you need?”
    I’d say the odds depended on how much my parents had sex. They had sex. I resulted. Doesn’t seem very miraculous to me.

  • The flaw in your math is that the Shroud has NOT been dated to 33AD. Don’t believe me? Cite a source confirming that.

  • On the contrary, the Shroud has been reliably dated to the first century by Giulio Fanti and his team, however that aspect has not been published yet; although his initial examination was published in the: Journal of Optics. In addition, I am minded to point out that the blood type AB, which was found both on the Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin, is a very rare blood type with only 3% of the global population having it. Moreover, blood stain comparisons from the two cloths do match exactly, which has been firmly established.

  • Not according to the article: “The new examination dates the shroud to between 300 B.C. and 400 A.D.,”

    And that’s assuming the dating is reliable. Since it hasn’t been peer-reviewed, I don’t buy it.

  • What I don’t buy is the piece of cloth that was removed from the Shroud during the 1988 carbon14 dating test was already compromised; that is to say, the piece of cloth had been reweaved with cotton fibres and dyed during, circa the 1500s. It would have been incumbent upon the various institutions to analyse the material under an electron microscope to meet certain imperatives, which they clearly did not before subjecting the material to the destructive carbon 14 dating – the entire world was sitting on tenterhooks waiting for their ‘scientific’ results! I refer you to: Studies on the… : Raymond N. Rogers – Sept., 2004

  • John 20:6-7 (NIV)
    6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.

    One possibility is that the creator of the bloodied brow on the Turin linen shroud was not well informed on God’s Word, or did not interpret scripture literally. Alternatively, the biblical author was misinformed. Or both may be genuine: Jn20:6-7 text is accurate in its particulars, and the shroud is real in its particulars; but they relate to different corpses.

  • I don’t see any incongruity with the biblical account. In Jewish custom every effort was made to preserve both ante-mortem and post-mortem blood; hence, when Christ was removed from the cross the Sudarium would have been applied and then removed when the body was interred within the Shroud.

  • I wouldn’t think a temporary suderium should increase confidence. The Oviedo suderium illustrates one reason, having spots of coagulated blood at the expected site of severe thorn wounds to the brow. Coagulation being fully consistent with crowning during the scourging sequence prior to the crucifixion, and more particularly with the lymphatic flow from Christ’s lanced wound while still suspended – – this detail is purposefully included in the gospel text as explicit evidence of his no longer active (i.e., coagulated) “seat of life” and thus his irrevocable death Prior to being taken down from the cross. This flow of blood from a living body is the underlying reason sacrifice and butchering in jewish and arabic cultures is done with initial exsanguination – everyone in the Biblical audience understood the significance of the lancing, and Thomas’s insistence on feeling the wound after the resurrection. The iconic traces of unclotted blood soaked fully into the fine herringbone weave of the Turin shroud appear inherently incompatible with a post-mortem enshrouding of Jesus the Christ, and the symbolism carried unerringly through the gospels. Interposing a suderium, even one applied temporarily and partially or lightly or haphazardly (perhaps the motivation was less to capture every speck of precious blood, more to spare mother Mary the horror of her son’s brutalized face) only highlights the incongruity of the mystical brow of the shroud. The evidence regarding the Turin shroud is not weakly positive, or even neutral; it’s negative.
    Suppose you had a shroud that captured a radiative glow of resurrection, but lacked an obvious link to a crucifixion, or The Crucifixion. The Romans crucified thousands in the Levant (says Josephus). Presumably few were crowned in the scourging process. How important are trickles of blood down the brow to one’s ability to believe a burial shroud is The Shroud? To an audience circa 1000 AD?
    -Luke 7:50

  • Roman execution by crucifixion was not for the purpose of exsanguination, which would lead to rapid death. Rather, death would have been drawn out by inflicting injury by degrees leading to death by traumatic shock. In the majority of cases, the coup de grace was breaking of the legs which cause massive trauma: which is not evidenced by the Shroud’s image.

  • Watch the poor translations, more literally:

    “5 and stooping sees lying the sheets [Gk. othonia], not however he entered. 6 Comes therefore also Simon Peter following him, and entered into the tomb; and he beholds the sheets [othonia] lying, 7 and the kerchief [sudarion], which was on the head of him, not with the sheets [othonia] lying but apart having been wrapped up place

    In this case the key word is othonia which you have pointed out translated “strips of linen” in one English translation would be more acurately rendered by the word othonia as “linen clothes”:

  • If the Shroud is indeed genuine it is a valuable piece of forensic evidence from which we can gain certain information and make fairly reliable inferences. There has been a tremendous amount of speculation how the image came to be on the Shroud. First, let’s suppose a burst of radiant energy passed through the cloth entering the body of Jesus and that energy was the Spirit of God. If the accounts of Jesus are to be believed, that would not be that unusual as Jesus raised the dead a number of times; viz: Luke 7: 11-15, Luke 8: 41,42,49-55, John 11: 1-44. Jesus claims he has no power in Himself, but rather the power comes from His Father; John 5: 19. If the faithful touch Jesus God’s power leaves him; Mark 5: 30-31. Moreover, it can be inferred that that power left Jesus on the cross in order to allow the physical body of Jesus to die; otherwise, Jesus would have langusihed on the cross indefinitely; Matthew 27: 45-46! As prophesied, his legs would remain intact, for God’s plan was to raise Jesus from the dead in order to reveal the Resurrection to those he knew and over the sands of time the entire world.

  • Doubting Thomas never stabbed Jesus in the side. A Roman soldier did that. Please verify statements before stating them.

  • What do you make of the original findings that were rewarded by a $1,000,000 grant to those who could prove it a forgery? What do you think of the exclamation point that the scientists put after their medieval date when they announced the “forgery” to the world? Does all this meet your criteria of unbiased work? If you think the simply publishing the material in a peer reviewed journal, when the scientists, academics, and their peers are secularist atheists with an agenda, makes it credible, you are very naive.

  • Dating something WITH fibers and remnants is this difficult / controversial? So, what are we to think of all those demands to an absolute belief in the multi-multi-million-year-old man, without any substantive relics? Modern science has truly become stagnant, with its inability (refusal?) to find reality and truth. Replacing reason with measurements was supposed to lead to something ……..

  • The notion that the pieces of cloth that were tested with C-14 came from a patch is a very unlikely idea. I don’t know who cut the test piece off, but not to notice a patch would take a careless idiot.

  • Yo DVD you need to crawl back under the rock from whence you emerged. People there is no sense in arguing with monkeys. They are mutant and their hardwiring is faulty. DVD, the shroud was found to be a photographic IMAGE. From what I do know they did not have cameras back then, did they??? It is dated to the time of Jesus’ death. It was found to have dna of Aloe, myrrh and blood just as they said they embalmed him.

  • DVD In order to “fake” something like this during the time it was dated would have meant that “One would need a constant supply of fresh clot exudates from a traumatically wounded human to paint all the forensically correct images in the proper nonstereo register and then finally paint a serum contraction ring about every wound. Logic suggests that this is something a forger or artesian before the present century would not only not know how to do but even know that it was required (9). A further level of complexity to be considered is that bloodstains are believed to have pre-existed prior to (body) image formation on the cloth, as shown by proteolytic enzyme digestion experiments.”