A video from Raymond Beaugrand-Champagne

The invisible mending according to Mechthild Flury-Lemberg

A souvenir from Lirey

Archives 2007

I came across the following 58 minutes Shroud video (in French) available on the web. It was produced in 1978 by Raymond Beaugrand-Champagne. Even if you do not understand French, it contains many interesting interviews, among them Ian Wilson, Baïma-Bollone, Hary Gove in his lab discussing carbon-14 dating, Walter McCrone, Max Frei, John Jackson, etc. There is in particular two segments of an interview with the late cardinal Ballestrero. He mentions, in Italian, that many experts have pointed out to him that the Carbon-14 dating would be unreliable for the Shroud. This is stated well before the Shroud carbon dating of 1988. I invite you to listen to it. It is very instructive. (I believe you can order a DVD version from Raymond Beaugrand-Champagne for 15$CND.)

Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, the textile expert and supervisor of the 2002 major restoration of the Shroud, recently wrote an informative article related to the C14 radiocarbon dating. The article argues against the reweaving hypothesis proposed by Sue Benford and Joseph Marino, but I think that its most important aspect is her definitive statement that the radiocarbon dating of 1988 is very doubtful given the amount of greasy material readily visible at the sample area . The article can be found on Barrie Schwortz's Web site: The Invisible Mending of the Shroud, the Theory and the Reality, by Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, 2007. I think the major positive point of this article is very informative and very often forgotten or never mentioned: the location of the linen sample for the 1988 C14 radiocarbon dating is heavily contaminated, and this can be readily seen with the naked eye. Flury-Lemberg reports that the location shows thread stuck together. I quote from her article:

"The presence of the greasy dirt deposit at the removal site alone would be sufficient to demonstrate the uselessness of the carbon-14 method, ..." (The emphases are from the article.)

I am sure that Flury-Lemberg did not propose that the C14 radiocarbon method is useless, but rather that for the sample location chosen in 1988 on the Shroud, the method becomes useless. This has been debated for many years, and it comes back again and again: a much better sampling should have been done. Indeed, I think that the chosen sample was far from the best location. When I saw the Shroud in 1998 in the Turin cathedral, from a distance of around two meters, the coloration of the corners were brownish, indeed looking greasy and dirty. If only the Turin authorities in charge of the Shroud would release high resolution digital pictures of the area where the sample was taken, this would dissipate many misunderstandings. And definitely, a second radiocarbon dating is needed to correct the lack of proper sampling in the 1988 dating.

May 2007

A Souvenir from the Cluny Museum in Paris.