Topic ID #7319 - posted 3/31/2010 1:22 PM

New method could revolutionize dating of Turin shroud

Jennifer Palmer

The Shroud of Turin, the controversial piece of linen that some believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, could finally be dated accurately. A new method "stands to revolutionize radiocarbon dating," according to research presented on Tuesday at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Francisco.

Called "non-destructive carbon dating," the method basically prevents the removal of a sample of the object.

"It expands the possibility for analyzing museum collections that have previously been off limits because of their rarity or intrinsic value," Marvin Rowe, professor emeritus at Texas A&M University College Station, said.

Conventional carbon dating estimates the age of an artifact based on the decay rate of the radioactive isotope carbon-14, a variant of carbon that is incorporated in all living organisms.

Any material of plant or animal origin, including textiles, wood, bones and leather, can be dated by its content of carbon-14. Scientists remove a small sample from an object, treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base, and finally burn it in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas.

Comparing the carbon-14 levels in the object to those expected in the atmosphere for a particular period in history allows scientists to estimate the age of an artifact.

Rowe's new method eliminates the destructive steps of sampling, acid-base washes and burning. The object is simply placed in a special chamber with a plasma, an electrically charged gas similar to those used in big-screen plasma television displays. The gas slowly and gently oxidizes the surface of the object without damaging it to produce carbon dioxide for carbon-14 analysis.

Read the rest of the article here.

Post ID#17548 - replied 4/1/2010 9:45 AM


It is interesting to hear about new dating techniques but why should all this research continue on a piece of linen which has already beyond reasonable doubt dated to more than 1400+ years AFTER Jesus death?? I understand this is the only "evidence" that devout believers have of his actual existence but c'mon face the realities. This is another medieval fake used to make money. There have been exact recreations of the image which show exactly how it was made. Personally I am tired of always hearing about it and wish the people who are obsessed with it would just move onto the next "big thing".. 

Post ID#17550 - replied 4/1/2010 11:05 AM


Agreed that the shroud is a mediƦval "relic," but without such things there wont be people who ponder "how can I test this thing without having an adverse effect upon it?"

Now we can test the Voynich Manuscript and find out when it was really written. Was it really Roger Bacon's work?

Images of the book contents

Post ID#17553 - replied 4/2/2010 8:07 AM


Well, it's surely not what it's purported to be but it is an interesting object, nevertheless. I agree with Rich that determining the precise age of the "shroud" is still a worthwhile endeavor. thing, though. Oxidizing the surface, however "slowly and gently" still effects a change to the object, doesn't it? How could it not? Maybe a teensy-weensy change but...just sayin'...


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