History provides some of the most compelling evidence. The piece of cloth that is in Turin today was certainly in Constantinople between A.D. 944 and 1204. Before that, it was in city of Edessa. It was there in A.D. 544 and certainly for some time before that. It may have been in Antioch at one time and, if it is authentic, certainly Jerusalem. Dates and places before 544 are a bit hard to pin down. Nonetheless, there is ample evidence to push its provenance back to near the time of Christ. It is history that is about as good as ancient history gets. The history of the Shroud can be divided into three general periods.
Greek-Byzantine Period: Of particular importance is the Greek-Byzantine period. Seven obvious observations of the Shroud that is in Turin today serve as keys to early records that establish that the Turin Shroud is the same image-bearing cloth of ancient historical records. Those observations are:
- the size of the cloth
- very faint images of a man
- apparent bloodstains
- burn holes more commonly known as the poker holes
- the weave of the cloth
- particular creases in the fabric
- two images that look like
flowers with petals
Latin-Byzantine Period: This period of the Shroud's history begins with the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and runs to about 1350. The Shroud was moved from Constantinople to Athens in 1204. Athens was a headquarters for French forces of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. From there it was taken to Besançon in the Burgundy region of France, sometime between 1207 and 1219. It remained there until it was moved to Lirey, France, around 1349.
Western-European Period: From 1356 onward the Shroud's history is meticulously traceable as it is moved from Lirey to Chambéry, France, and ultimately to Turin, now a city in modern Italy.