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Close-up of Shroud weave.There are always two sides to every story. The same holds true with the Shroud. However any topic with such distinct religious implications inevitably involves emotions on both sides of the debate. There are those who want it to be authentic and those who don't. It is important to note that because of these emotions, the scientists comprising the Shroud of Turin Research Project made sure to publish all of their findings in over a dozen respected peer reviewed journals. This is not the case with the detractors of the Shroud who either self published their results (McCrone) or failed to publish all their data and failed to follow established protocols (C-14 data as published in Nature).

Famous microscopist Walter McCrone once claimed the Shroud was a fake and that it was merely a painted forgery. He made great headlines with his assertions but in the end was proven wrong. He did find a one particle of vermillion paint but it was most likely dislodged from one of many paintings or copies of the Shroud that were laid on the cloth's surface. This was done to enhance the value of the painting by having touched the real thing.

McCrone also found iron oxide particles that he claimed were used in red ochre paint. Yet these particles were from the iron in the water in which original flax linen was retted (soaked). The iron oxide particles are far too pure and far too small to have been used by a medieval artist in some kind of "jewelers rouge" as he claimed. Jewelers rouge is coarse and contaminated with other elements. This is not what is found on the Shroud. The iron oxide on the Shroud is evenly distributed over the entire cloth with no greater concentration in the image areas, a small detail McCrone conveniently overlooks. The bottom line is that the shroud is not a painting as verified by spectroscopy, x-ray radiography and every other avenue of research. The Vinland Map now determined to be authentic.

It is interesting to note that Walter McCrone also claimed back in 1972 that a Viking map called the Vinland Map was a forgery. Yale University hired him to determine its authenticity. McCrone proudly declared it was a fake. Now researchers from Yale University and the Smithsonian Institute based on new data now believe it to be authentic. See any parallels? McCrone jumped to a false conclusion and later refused to consider the new findings. His professional pride got in the way of considering new data.

Something remarkably similar occured in 1988 with carbon dating. The carbon labs allowed their data to hinge on one highly questionable sample taken from one of the most handled areas of the cloth. A skilled archaeologist would never have sampled that section. The risk lied with the possibility of the cloth having been repaired at some point. Were they certain the sample was fully representative of the entire cloth? They failed to take a second sample as a back up and they failed to perform micro chemical analysis to make sure it was fully representative, both called for in the original protocol. They boldly asserted, much like McCrone, that the Shroud was a fake.

Faulty protocol or not, the headlines declared the Shroud a fake. Seventeen years later, renowned thermal chemist, Ray Rogers, was able to perform micro-chemical tests on samples from the main body of the cloth and from the corner cut for carbon dating and determined they were not the same! The presence of cotton, dye and starch all indicate some kind of medieval repair most probably using the French technique of "invisible mending" that is only noticable with a good magnifying glass. Were the carbon labs fooled? What else would explain these foreign substances in that precise corner and nowhere else? All of this confusion could have been avoided had they followed protocols and the rules of good sampling methodology. Based on new evidence, the carbon dating tests must now be considered inconclusive.



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