medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

a recent article in a prestigeous scientific journal might seem to buttress
with Objective Science the skepticism of certain lowly Art Historians who have
dared to suggest --soley on the basis of their own "subjective" discipline
that the artifact now known as The Shroud of Turn was *not* a 13th c. French

the full text of the _Thermochimica Acta_ article is available (to subscribing
institutions) here :!&_cdi=5292&view=c&_acct=C000051666&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=1105409&md5=ea5d349879cb5e45a391f77b94a63031

tiny URL for this :

it is worth noting that the STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) of 1978
was a reasonably notorious, Shroudie-prone group of "scientists" whose work
was not completely above question.

however, this _Thermochimica Acta_ publication seems like it is on the
Up-and-Up, a legit, peer-reviewed publication otherwise full of hot articles
with titles like "The protonation thermodynamics of ferulic
acid/γ-cyclodextrin inclusion compounds", "Host–guest interaction between
water-soluble calix[6]arene hexasulfonate and p-nitrophenol" and 
"Melting path-ways of medieval glass from Certosa di Pavia (Italy)". 

here's some coverage of the story via Mass Media Outlets:


"Published in the 20 January issue of Thermochimica Acta, a peer-reviewed
chemistry journal, the study dismisses the results of the 1988 carbon-14

" 'As unlikely as it seems, the sample used to test the age of the shroud in
1988 was taken from a rewoven area of the shroud. Indeed, the patch was very
carefully made. The yarn has the same twist as the main part of the cloth, and
it was stained to match the colour,' says Raymond Rogers, a retired chemist
from Los Alamos National Laboratories and former member of the STURP (Shroud
of Turin Research Project) team of US scientists that examined the Shroud in

" 'The radiocarbon sample had been dyed, most likely to match the colour of
the older, sepia-coloured cloth. The sample was dyed using a technology that
began to appear in Italy about the time the Crusaders' last bastion fell to
the Mameluke Turks in 1291.' 

" 'The radiocarbon sample cannot be older than about 1290, agreeing with the
age determined by carbon-14 dating in 1988. However, the Shroud itself is
actually much older,' says Rogers. 

"Evidence came from microchemical tests, tests that use small quantities of
materials, often less than a milligram or a millilitre.

"These revealed the presence of vanillin in the radiocarbon sample and in the
Holland cloth, but not in the rest of the shroud. 

"Vanillin is produced by the thermal decomposition of lignin, a chemical
compound of plant material including flax, and levels decrease and disappear
with time. It is easily detected on medieval linens, but cannot be found in
the very old ones, such as the wrappings of the Dead Sea scrolls. 

" 'A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests that the shroud
is between 1300 and 3000 years old,' Rogers writes." 

other coverage:

> (LAM)


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