A team of Italian scientists, behind Professor Giulio Fanti (University of Padua), has just published a new study, according to which the Shroud of Turin dates well from the time of Christ and not of the Middle Ages, contrary to what the famous C 14 test of 1988 had affirmed and left in the collective memory as an inescapable truth.
In 2013, Professor Fanti had already shown, by an analysis in Infrared Spectroscopy and Raman Spectroscopy, that the fabric of the Shroud could have been made at the turn of the Christian era. « Sindone? Sono sicuro: è del I° secolo”, he wrote then. But his books were not translated into French, so this result was known only to a very limited audience. By examining a dozen linen fabrics, dated to 3 BC. JC until the present time, Professor Fanti had indeed observed a decrease in the amplitude of the spectroscopic absorption peak of cellulose, which characterizes the crystallographic aging of this molecule. After having established the law corresponding to this ageing, he tested a small sample of linen, which he affirmed that it came from the Shroud of Turin, and he was thus able to date it from the time of Christ, at +/- nearly 500 years.
The new method, by X-rays (WAXS analysis, “wide-angle X-ray scattering”), proceeds from the same approach: determining a law of structural degradation of cellulose on a dozen linen fabrics, dated from 3 years BC. JC until the present time. X-ray testing of a very small sample (000mm x 0,5mm), indicated as coming from the Shroud of Turin, allows the response curve to be placed in the area of tissues that are 1 years old. This study, conducted by the Institute of Crystallography of Bari, was approved and published on April 2, 000 in the journal “ Legacy ". However, it remains to be confirmed, on other objects, this new method of dating; and to make sure that the sample is definitely from the Shroud of Turin.
This new X-ray study would therefore confirm the very great age of the Shroud of Turin which is also attested by many other objective elements. In particular, the upper longitudinal seam does not exist on any old fabric made in Europe, but it does exist on fabrics found at Massada (Jewish fortress taken in the year 73 by the Romans), of which a thread was precisely used to carry out the calibration of the new study; the traces of the pieces that closed the eyes of the victim correspond to pieces made only in Palestine, between 29 and 32 AD. JC; and above all, the Shroud presents four series of four L-shaped holes, which an iconographer duly “wrote” in Constantinople on an engraving of a manuscript, dated at the latest 1195 and currently kept in Budapest.
One can then wonder why the 14 C 1988 test would be disqualified? Apart from the arguments already put forward at the time, there are several new elements:
– on the one hand, the raw results tests carried out by the three laboratories (Arizona, Oxford and Zürich), were finally communicated, in 2017, by the British Museum, while their publication had always been refused. The statistical analysis of these Raw Data », led by Tristan Casabianca and published in March 2019 in the journal Archaeometry, showed: that the three samples are even less homogeneous than we thought (see review Nature - No. 337, February 1989) as regards their C 14 content, although they come from the same piece of fabric measuring 7cm x 1cm; and that the lowest age found would lead to a calendar date later than the presentation of the Shroud at Lirey, around 1356;
– on the other hand, the new study above points out that the tissue may have undergone various carbon pollutions, remained in the spaces between the fibers (50% of the surface), which could not have been completely cleaned, thus distorting the dating obtained;
– finally, according to the hypothesis of Jean-Baptiste Rinaudo on the formation of the visible image on the Shroud, the fabric could, at the same time as the flow of protons which would have produced the image, receive strong neutron flux also emitted by the body of the victim: it would thus have been immediately enriched in C 14 (by the action of neutrons on the nitrogen molecules contained in the binder), rendering inapplicable any dating by this method (which is perfectly applicable to other objects).
Altogether, this fabric still remains « challenge to intelligence », as Pope John Paul II said in 1998.
This article is published from Selection of the day.
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