Tags: shroud | turin | quake | jesus | image | carbon | dating

Shroud of Turin: Did Earthquake Affect Jesus' Image, Carbon Dating?

Image: Shroud of Turin: Did Earthquake Affect Jesus' Image, Carbon Dating? Archbishop of Turin Cardinal Severino Poletto stands before the Holy Shroud, at the Turin Cathedral, Italy, April 10, 2010.

Thursday, 13 Feb 2014 09:00 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Italian scientists say an earthquake in Old Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' death could have affected the Shroud of Turin in a way that makes it give off wrong radiocarbon dating. They say the quake also might have helped capture Jesus' image on the shroud.

Many believe the Shroud of Turin was the fabric that covered the body of Jesus after his crucifixion in A.D. 33 and bears the faint image of his face and torso. Radiocarbon from three different labs done in the 1980s, though, determined that the cloth is less than 800 years old and actually was produced during the Middle Ages, according to LiveScience.com.

The website reported that Italian scientist Alberto Carpinteri and others are claiming in a new study that neutron emissions from an ancient earthquake in Jerusalem could have caused Jesus' image on the cloth as well as changed its radiocarbon levels in such a way that would make any attempt to date it inaccurate.

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The study said the earthquake could have caused these neutron emissions to interact directly with nitrogen atoms in the linen fibers, causing chemical reactions that created the distinctive face image on the shroud, reported LiveScience.com.

Carpinteri stated that his study suggest that the same reaction could lead to "wrong radiocarbon dating," explaining past radiocarbon results on the shroud, reported LiveScience.com.

Gordon Cook, an environmental geochemistry professor at the University of Glasgow, and Christopher Ramsey, of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, told LiveScience.com even if Carpinteri study was correct, there is no archaeological record of an earthquake of such magnitude ever happening in the area.

"It would have to be a really local effect not to be measurable elsewhere," Cook said to Live Science. "People have been measuring materials of that age for decades now and nobody has ever encountered this."

London's Daily Mail reported that one of the first documented references to the Shroud of Turin dates back to the 14th century when a French knight said he was in possession of the cloth in the city of Lirey.

The Daily Mail reported that past records suggest the 14-foot cloth changed hands numerous times until 1578 when it ended up at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin.

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