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“People try to make things that look like the shroud,” he said, “but no one has come close.
Nor has anyone been able to suggest a mechanism that could create an image with this specific set of physical and chemical properties.” The spatial information embodied in the image means that it had to be created “by some sort of interaction” between the cloth and a body. Schwortz ridiculed some of Nickell’s other arguments.
“He hasn’t noticed that the hair is tight to the head because the man on the shroud has a ponytail,” he said.
“Plus, it was stiff from being soaked with blood and sweat.” Schwortz is particularly scathing regarding Nickell’s emphasis on Mc Crone’s finding of red (iron) ochre in a sample of the cloth. “When you ret [soak] flax, it breaks down fibrous material and in the process absorbs iron from water.
Riggi died in 2008, but the fibers were transferred to Fanti through the cultural institute Fondazione 3M. Having taken into account differences resulting from the various environments and pollutant levels to which the fabrics were exposed, he’s confident any remaining unaccounted variables are included in the 500-year window within which he placed his primary date of 33 B. Doubts Because of the manner in which Fanti obtained the shroud fibers, many are dubious about his findings.
According to Fanti, both the infrared light beam and the red laser of the Raman spectroscope excite the molecules of the material, and the resulting reflections make it possible “to evaluate the concentration of particular substances contained in the cellulose of the linen fibers.” Because cellulose degrades over time, he said, “it is therefore possible to determine a correlation with the age of the fabric.” Fanti compared his results with nine other ancient textiles of known provenance, with ages from 3000 B. The shroud’s official custodian, Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, told “There is no degree of safety on the authenticity of the materials on which these experiments were carried out [on] the shroud cloth.” Responded Fanti, “He did not read my book, and especially its appendix in which the traceability of the samples is clearly shown.” According to Fanti, Riggi unstitched the backing cloth that was sewn onto the shroud in 1532 to protect it after it was damaged in a fire and vacuumed some of the dust that had accumulated between the two sheets, catching this residue on a series of filters.
According to Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, the three separate tests, when averaged, showed the linen fibers of the shroud to have been woven into cloth around 33 B.
Even then, he notes, two succeeding bishops from the area pronounced the shroud a fake, the second purportedly producing the artist who created it.
“These are claims by bishops, not the village atheists,” noted Nickell.
“But it would be more convincing if the basic research had first been presented in a professional, peer-reviewed journal.
If you’re using old techniques in new ways, then you need to submit your approach to other scientists.” Fanti has announced that “an international professional journal,” presumably peer-reviewed, will soon publish a paper in which he defends his scientific approach.
But, Schwortz notes, he has not yet announced which journal will publish his work.