Scientists say new research on the Shroud of Turin confirms that the fabric many Christians believe is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ does indeed date roughly to the historical time of Christ. While some scientists who have examined the shroud argue that it is a clever medieval forgery, scientists involved in the project say the latest research, conducted on fibers taken from the 14-foot cloth in 1988, dates the age of the shroud at between 300 B.C. and 400 A.D.
The London Telegraph reported that the latest group of scientists to look at the shroud used infra-red light and spectroscopy — a technique that measures radiation — to test the fiber samples. Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Italy's Padua University and one of the scientists involved in the project, has published a book on the research, entitled (in English) The Mystery of the Shroud. Both Fanti and journalist Saverio Gaeta, who co-authored the book, are devout Catholics, leading some to question the objectivity of the findings they publish in the book.
The latest results are at odds with findings from earlier carbon-dating experiments conducted on the same fiber samples in 1988. “Those tests, conducted by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich, and Arizona, appeared to back up the theory that the shroud was a clever medieval fake, suggesting that it dated from 1260 to 1390,” reported the Telegraph.
But those findings have been challenged by Fanti and fellow scientists, who say the earlier carbon-dating research was flawed through the testing of fibers contaminated by fabric that was used by craftsmen in the Middle Ages to repair the Shroud after it was damaged by fire.
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Photo of Shroud of Turin: AP Images