The sensational statement appeared on Catholic websites. X-ray imaging scientist Liberato de Caro says a new X-ray analysis shows a more accurate dating of the Shroud of Turin.
The Shroud of Turin is a linen canvas with dimensions of 4m by 1m, which depicts (it is depicted, not printed) a bearded man. Believers have faith that the shroud is the very fabric that wrapped the body of Jesus Christ.
Previously, scientists found out that the shroud cannot be the same shroud of Christ, because it was created during the late Middle Ages, according to a radiocarbon method result of 1988 which showed that the relic is no more than 800 years old.
However, this prior scientific outcome did not dissuade the millions of believers who continued to come to Turin to pray to the historical landmark.
Liberato de Caro’s study
Now believers can strengthen their faith in the Shroud of Turin, because the researcher Liberato de Caro from the Italian Institute of Crystallography in Bari, accompanied by a group of Italian scientists, conducted an X-ray analysis of the tissue and came to interesting conclusions.
The scientists used a “Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering” technique known as WAXS, which measures the natural aging of flax pulp.
De Caro has been using x-rays in his research for three decades now.
“Three years ago we developed a new method for dating linen fabrics,” he said in an interview with the American resource Catholic National Register, published on April 19, 2022. The method was approved by three independent experts.”
This process has several key features that make it more efficient than radiocarbon dating. In addition, much less fabric is enough to study the shroud – only 0.5 mm by 1 mm.
De Caro points out that the disadvantage of carbon-14 analysis is that the analyzed textile samples are easily contaminated with substances that can skew the results:
“Back in 2019, Benedetto Torrisi, head of a team of researchers working under the auspices of the University of Catania (Sicily), came to the conclusion that the dating carried out in 1988 was not credible,” De Caro said.
“Mold and bacteria that colonize textile fibers, as well as dirt or carbonaceous minerals, such as limestone, adhering to them and settling in the void spaces between the fibers, which at the microscopic level make up about 50% of the volume, can be so difficult to remove at the sample cleaning stage, which may eventually distort the dating results, he added.”
The scientists claim they have obtained one-dimensional integrated data profiles for the Shroud of Turin sample that are fully consistent with similar measurements taken from a flax sample dated to AD 55-74 (the time of the siege of the Jewish fortress of Masada in Israel). The degree of natural aging of the cellulose taken from the sample showed that the fabric of the Shroud of Turin is significantly older than the seven centuries proposed by radiocarbon dating in 1988.
The results of the analysis are consistent with the hypothesis that the Shroud of Turin is a 2000-year-old relic, as suggested by Christian tradition, provided that it was stored at a temperature of 20.0-22.5°C and a correlated relative humidity of 75-55%.
If the results of the study are accurate, then it can be assumed that the shroud originated around the time of the life of Jesus Christ and was used for the funeral purposes of the Christian leader.
However, one should not draw categorical conclusions, because the results contrast strongly with carbon-14 dating, so additional studies in other laboratories should be carried out.
In addition, de Caro writes that pollen from the territory of Palestine was found on the sample, which strengthens the hypothesis of its origin in a Christian context.
With such stunning conclusions, it must be remembered that these new findings are not a judgment on whether the shroud kept in the Cathedral of Turin was really a witness to the burial and resurrection of Christ. As De Caro emphasized, we are talking exclusively about the dating of the fabric, and further scientific experiments are required in order to clarify its “connection” with Jesus.