Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the turin shroud
Certainly most archaeologists would have rejected the use of samples subjected to a long separation from the object to be dated and held under unknown conditions of storage and handling.
Further, Mc Crone (190) made his contribution by proposing to rely on "the person authenticating the Shroud samples as the same ones studied by Raes." (The original sample was apparently not even taken from the Shroud in the presence of Raes.) An art historian would certainly not have been satisfied that such a procedure could establish conclusively that the pieces were indeed from that sample removed from the Shroud in 1973, and that it had not been tampered with in the intervening years.
As I shall endeavor to demonstrate below, the radiocarbon measurement of the Shroud is a complex issue, and the inclusion of all relevant expertise is highly important.
In May, 1985, I submitted such a proposal to Cardinal Ballestrero, Archbishop of Turin and official custodian of the relic, in the hope that the ecclesiastical authorities would consider appointing a scientific panel to plan and implement a C14 testing program.
Dinegar, who heads the STURP C-14 group which claimed to have made a detailed study of the application of C-14 to the Shroud, stated that "sample preparation procedures can insure no error in date due to foreign contamination accreted over the centuries" (1982:6; emphasis added).
Much worse, the 1979 proposal involved a small sample of cloth removed from the Shroud in 1973 for study by Prof. Mc Crone and Sox had inspected the sample (apparently unstitched by Raes into two pieces) during a visit with Raes in 1976, and found that "the samples were kept in what looked like an old scrapbook for postage stamps" (Sox: 19).In this paper I shall examine the issue of the reliability of C-14 testing to produce an "absolute date" on the linen sheet known as the Holy Shroud of Turin and believed by some to be the gravecloth of Christ.