Is there pollen from the areas of Jerusalem, Edessa and Constantinople?
At a conference of the prestigious Missouri Botanical Society in St Louis, Missouri, in 1999, Avinoam Danin, a leading authority on the flora of Israel as a botany professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem along with pollen specialist Uri Baruch from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) reported that the combination of pollen spores found lodged into the Shroud’s surface, when juxtaposed with the identification of certain plant images mysteriously “imprinted” on the face of the cloth, could only have come from plants growing in the environs Jerusalem. Are there plant and flower images?
Pollen identification is a legitimate method in criminal forensics to determine where an object has been located geographically. Max Frei, a renowned Zurich criminologist, had previously identified a total of 58 different pollens on the Shroud. According to him, these pollens are native to areas around
- the Dead Sea and the Negev
- the Anatolian Steppe of central and western Turkey
- the immediate environs of Constantinople
- Western Europe
Danin and Baruch, at the time, seemed to be confirming Frei’s work. Said Danin:
In the light of our findings, it is highly probable that the shroud did in fact come from this part [the Jerusalem area] of the world.
What Frei had reported was extraordinary. He identified fifty-eight different plants, many from the Middle East, areas around Jerusalem and areas in what is now Turkey that coincided nicely with Edessa and Constantinople. Those looking for confirmation of the shroud’s authenticity were ecstatic. What is the history of the Shroud in the Greek-Byzantine Period?
But Baruch was actually very guarded in his reporting, a point often overlooked. He mostly confirmed what Frei had observed but at the genus level and not a species level. That greatly expanded the geographic area. A flower particular to a specific area in Frei’s interpretation might be found elsewhere in the world, including Europe where skeptics were claiming the Shroud had been forged. Danin also clarified his position on the pollen evidence. It could not be used to show that the shroud had been in the Middle East.
- Didn't Max Frei use a scanning electron microscope for certain identification?
- What pollens did Baruch find on the Frei sticky tapes?
- Hasn't the identification of Gundelia tournefortii been called into question?