The Definitive Shroud of Turin FAQ

the shroud draws you in, doesn't let go, and reveals itself gradually

Is it Real? | Crazy Stuff | Science | History | Mystery | Quest for God | Journalism

Wasn't there an anomalous dating of an ibis mummy?

Sacred IbisHarry Gove, an important radiocarbon dating expert from the University of Rochester, New York, had the outset, wanted to be part of the carbon dating of the shroud. He had been excluded. Now he was involved. Ann Rosalie David, who had been part of the team that had studied mummy 1770 at the Manchester Museum, was involved as well. They convened at the Health Science Center of the University of Texas in Austin. David brought with her a mummy of an ibis, a bird that the ancient Egyptians considered sacred. She had been careful to select one that seemed unlikely to have been rewrapped if some people suspected was the case with the mummy of a girl, mommy 1770.

 They extracted samples of tissue and bone from the bird and linen fabric from its wrappings. These they took to the National Science Foundation Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility at the University of Arizona, one of the laboratories involved with the shroud’s dating.

As  was the case with the human mommy 1770, the linen appeared to be newer than the bird it wrapped. And unless the bird was rewrapped—which seemed implausible to the researchers—they were confronted with an unexplained anomaly. They clearly saw something that seemed to be a bioplastic coating. But they entertained the possibility that the bird’s diet could have been a factor.

The researchers noted that  radiocarbon measurements on charcoal and snail shells from the Graeco-Roman period in Egypt gave very conflicting results. The snail problem surfaced. Not only might snails be a problem, but so to might anything that ate snails from water rich in depleted carbon like those found in artesian spring in Nevada. But they seemed to prefer “bacterial infestation.” And the concluding paragraph of their paper makes this clear, but with a significant amount of caution.

Meanwhile, although the results of the present measurements include the possibility that the bioplastic coating observed on the cloth fibers of the wrappings of the ibis cause it to yield a radiocarbon age several hundred years younger that it true age, they are far from definitive. It would be premature to draw any conclusions about the true age of the Turin Shroud from these measurements.


Is it Real? | Crazy Stuff | Science | History | Mystery | Quest for God | Journalism

Shroud of Turin Story | Definitions | All the Questions | About the Author