Shroud of Turin: Could Quake Explain Face of Jesus? Page 2

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Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical engineering at Padua University, published a book last year "Il Mistero della Sindone," translated as "The Mystery of the Shroud," (Rizzoli, 2013), arguing that his own analysis proves the shroud dates to Jesus' lifetime. In an email, Fanti said he is not sure if a neutron emission is the only possible source responsible for creating the body image. (His own theories include a corona discharge.) However, he wrote that he is "confident" the 1980s radiocarbon dating "furnished wrong results probably due to a neutron emission."

Shaky science?

Even if it is theoretically possible for earthquake-generated neutrons to have caused this kind of reaction, the study doesn't address why this effect hasn't been seen elsewhere in the archaeological record, Gordon Cook, a professor of environmental geochemistry at the University of Glasgow, explained.

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

Photos: What Did Jesus Look Like?

Christopher Ramsey, director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, had a similar issue with the findings.

"One question that would need to be addressed is why the material here is affected, but other archaeological and geological material in the ground is not," Ramsey wrote in an email. "There are huge numbers of radiocarbon dates from the region for much older archaeological material, which certainly don't show this type of intense in-situ radiocarbon production (and they would be much more sensitive to any such effects)."

Ramsey added that using radiocarbon dating to study objects from seismically active regions, such as regions like Japan, generally has not been problematic.

It seems unlikely that the new study, published in the journal Meccanica, will settle any of the long-standing disputes about how and when the cloth was made, which depend largely on faith.

"If you want to believe in the Shroud of Turin, you believe in it," Cook said.

Original article on Live Science.

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