In addition to the discovery of dye, microchemical tests - which use tiny quantities of materials - provided a way to date the shroud.These tests revealed the presence of a chemical called vanillin in the radiocarbon sample and in the Holland cloth, but not the rest of the shroud.The 4m-long linen sheet was damaged in several fires since its existence was first recorded in France in 1357, including a church blaze in 1532.It is said to have been restored by nuns who patched the holes and stitched the shroud to a reinforcing material known as the Holland cloth.An assessment is made of the credibility of the radiocarbon dating of the shroud of Turin.
"The sample tested was dyed using technology that began to appear in Italy about the time the Crusaders' last bastion fell to the Mameluke Turks in AD 1291," said Mr Rogers.
Although of negligible scientific value, they represent a major public triumph for the AMS method of carbon dating.
However, many doubts have been raised, both real and fanciful, concerning the validity of the results and these are discussed.
It is suggested that steps should be taken to conserve the shroud and that permission should be given for its examination by experts in medieval art.
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