Carbon Dating – Showing the real age of the Shroud?
In 1986, the Roman Catholic Church gave their consented to allow carbon dating to take place on the Shroud. Before they had said that carbon dating would cause too much damage to the shroud, but scientific advancements had been made to the extent that a dating could be made from using only 5mg of cloth.
Samples were taken from the Shroud on 21 April, 1988, and given to laboratories in Arizona, Oxford and Zurich for testing. To ensure accuracy, control samples were given from pieces of cloth of known origin, but the origins of the control samples were not made known to the participants. The four pieces of cloth were:
*A piece taken from the shroud.
*A piece taken from a Christian tomb at Qadr Obrim, dated to the 11th or 12th Century.
*A piece taken from a tomb at Thebes dated to AD75
*Threads taken from a piece at the Basilica of St Maximin, known to date from the mid-13th Century.
The laboratories agreed not to exchange results until they had given them first to the British Museum. The results, together with a full write-up of the experiments and the calibration curves were published in an article in the magazine, Nature. All details were given so that people could check the way the experiments had been carried out. The results were, that with a 95% confidence level, that the flax plants used to create the Shroud of Turin had only come in to existence between AD1260 and AD1390.
A Twist to the Carbon dating theory tail?
The shroud is unquestionably old. Its history is known from the year 1357, when it surfaced in the tiny village of Lirey, France. Until recent reports from San Antonio, most of the scientific world accepted the findings of carbon dating carried out in 1988. The results said the shroud dated back to 1260-1390, much too new to be Jesus’ burial linen.
Now the date and other shroud controversies are under intense scrutiny because of discoveries by a team led by Leoncio Garza-Valdes, MD and Stephen Mattingly, PhD, professor of microbiology.
After months examining microscopic samples in 1996, the team concluded in January that the Shroud of Turin is centuries older than its carbon date. Dr. Garza said the shroud’s fibers are coated with bacteria and fungi that have grown for centuries. Carbon dating, he said, had sampled the contaminants as well as the fibers’cellulose.
Such startling findings ordinarily would be published in a scientific journal, but the team has waited. The shroud’s ultimate custodian, the Catholic Church, has declined to designate the San Antonio fibers as an official sample. Dr. Garza received them in Turin, Italy, in 1993 from Giovanni Riggi di Numana, who took t heofficial shroud samples for the carbon dating in the ’80s.
Dr. Garza’s hypothesis, however, transcends the shroud, and it is being taken seriously by archaeologists, microbiologists, and even those most closely associated with carbon dating.
“This is not a crazy idea,” said Harry E. Gove, PhD, co-inventor of the use of accelerator mass spectrometry for carbon dating. Dr. Gove is professor emeritus of physics at the University of Rochester in New York.
“A swing of 1,000 years would be a big change, but it’s not wildly out of the question, and the issue needs to be resolved,” he said.