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Gossypium herbaceum

 Gossypium herbaceum type, a cotton that existed in the Middle East of the first century. It was identified in a corner of the Shroud by Gilbert Raes in a paper published La S. Sindone, supplement to Rivisita Diocesana Torinese, January 1976, pp.79-83]

Mistakenly, it was assumed that this observation from one single corner was representative of the entire cloth of the Shroud of Turin. Now it is recognized as a significant argument for why the carbon dating of the Shroud was invalid.

We turn to Stephen E. Jones for more detail from his The Shroud of Turin blog.

Professor Philip McNair of Birmingham University, England, supports these finds and points out that the ... Gossypium herbaceum type ... was cultivated in the Middle East during the first century, but was not known in Europe during the period when possible faking of the Shroud could have occurred. The cotton traces indicated that the Shroud was woven on a loom that had been used previously to weave cotton cloth. Paul Maloney, a research archaeologist and sindonologist from Pennsylvania, notes that cotton was actually a part of the linen thread. Dr. Raes says that these findings support the contention that the Shroud linen was woven in the Middle East, since raw cotton was unknown in Europe until the ninth century when it was first planted in Spain by the Moors. Cotton was first woven in Venice and Milan in the fourteenth century and cotton cloth was not even seen in England until the fifteenth century. Cotton was grown in China and India in antiquity and was expertly woven in India several centuries before the Christian era. By the first century it was grown extensively in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Wilson notes that cotton is also known to have been introduced to the Middle East by the monarch Sennacherib during the seventh century B.C. By the time of Christ it would certainly have been established in the environs of Palestine, and therefore offers no difficulty to the authenticity of the Shroud. Dr. Raes concluded that this piece of linen could have been manufactured in the first century. He could not say with certainty that it was. The late John Tyrer, a chartered textile technologist who worked in the field for twenty-five years as an associate of the Textile Institute of Manchester, England, discovered that while Middle East linens similar to the Shroud exist as far back as 3600 B.C., not much medieval linen has survived. He states that `it would be reasonable to conclude that linen textiles with Z-twist yarns and woven 3-1 reversing twill similar to the Turin Shroud could have been produced in the first-century Syria-Palestine.' [Tyrer, J., "Looking At the Turin Shroud as a Textile," Shroud Spectrum, 6, 1983, pp.68-69]" (Iannone, 1998, pp.13-14).

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