Physical Analyses of the Shroud
AGH University of Science and Technology, Kraków, Poland
Jakub S. Prauzner-Bechcicki
Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland
The Shroud of Turin has aroused great interest among scholars for more than 100 years. Only a few researchers have had direct access to it, which is of course understandable given its unique nature. Conducting research requires the permission of the Shroud’s owner, which is currently the Vatican. Much of the research has consisted of analysing →photographic images taken most often during public displays of the Shroud. The photographs of the relics led to, among other things, the discovery of the negative character and the three-dimensionality of the image. Particularly fruitful was the 1978 research carried out within the framework of the Shroud of Turin Research Project (→STURP) when a complete photographic documentation of the linen was made in various ranges of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum on a macro and micro scale. In addition, contaminants and material loosely associated with the fabric were collected with adhesive tapes. Importantly, this research has allowed the verification of many →hypotheses about the origins of the image on the Shroud (among others, the one claiming that the image on the Shroud was the work of an artist was rejected—Jumper et al. 1984), and has stimulated scholars to ask new questions and conduct new experiments (Fanti 2014; Fazio 2020), aimed at obtaining images with the physical and chemical properties that characterise the image (Fanti 2015). A separate question troubling researchers is the →age of the Shroud. In 1988, permission was obtained to collect linen samples for radiocarbon dating. Unfortunately, the manner in which they were collected, the tests and consequently the results aroused much controversy. Since then, scientists’ access to direct examination of the Shroud has been further restricted. Methods of non-invasive examination of the age of the textiles have also emerged, which may in future allow the age of the Shroud to be determined with greater reliability (Fanti, Malfi 2013; Fanti et al. 2013; Bonizzoni et al. 2016; Fanti, Basso 2017).
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Fanti G., Basso R., Mechanical Characterization of Linen Fibers: The Turin Shroud Dating, “International Journal of Reliability, Quality and Safety Engineering” 2017, Vol. 24, No. 2, 1750006, http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0218539317500061.
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Fazio G., The Shroud Body Image Generation: Immanent or Transcendent Action?, “Scientia et Fides” 2020, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 33–42, http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/SetF.2020.003.
Jumper E.G. et al., A Comprehensive Examination of the Various Stains and Images on the Shroud of Turin, “Archaeological Chemistry III” 1984, pp. 447–476, ACS Advances in Chemistry, Vol. 205, https://doi.org/10.1021/ba-1984-0205.ch022 with references.
Sources of Images
1. Photo by B. Schwortz (source: https://0201.nccdn.net/4_2/000/000/011/751/4-K-5-72dpi.jpg)