What was STURP?
The Shroud of Turin Research Project, STURP, has been the single, most extensive scientific examination of the Shroud to date. In 1978, a multi-disciplined group of scientist conducted a round-the-clock five-day examination of the Shroud. And that was only the beginning. Samples and data collected were studied for years. Some of the work continues. As Barrie Schwortz, one of the team members, described it. According to historian Ian Wilson:
At around 10:45 p.m. [October 8, 1978], and slightly ahead of schedule, the Shroud is removed from public display and taken through the Guarini Chapel into the Hall of Visiting Princes within Turin's Royal Palace. Thus begins a five-day period of examination, photography and sample taking by STURP, John Jackson's group of scientists from the U.S.A. Dr. Max Frei, Giovanni Riggi, Professor Pierluigi Baima-Bollone and others carry out independent research programs alongside. During this time the Shroud is lengthily submitted to photographic floodlighting, to low-power X-rays and to narrow band ultraviolet light. Dozens of pieces of sticky tape are pressed onto its surface and removed. A side edge is unstitched and an apparatus inserted between the Shroud and its backing cloth to examine the underside, which has not been seen in over 400 years. The bottom edge (at the foot of the frontal image) is also unstitched and examined. On the night of 9 October Baima Bollone obtains sample of Shroud bloodstain by mechanically disentangling warp and weft threads in the area of the 'small of the back' bloodstain on the Shroud's dorsal image.
STURP failed to conclude that the Shroud was authentic or not and it failed to find an explanation for the images. But the members of the group were certain of that the image was of a real human form, that it was not produced by any known artistic method, the bloodstains were composed of hemoglobin.
Much has been learned since 1978. Nothing so far discovered contradicts STURP’s findings.