2008 Website News

These are the items that were included on the "Late Breaking Website News" page in 2008. Items are listed with the most recent one first, and each article carries the posting date indicating when it was first uploaded. You should find this an interesting look at the important Shroud and Website events in 2008.

New Discovery Channel Shroud Documentary To Air Again (Updated)

In case you missed it last Sunday (December 14, 2008), the new Shroud documentary "Unwrapping the Shroud: New Evidence," will be airing again on the Discovery Channel this coming Monday evening, December 22, 2008 at 7:00pm eastern time, and again two hours later. Check your local listings for the exact time in your area, but because of the network's last minute schedule change for the program, it might not yet be reflected.

Happy Holidays!

Posted December 18, 2008
Updated December 20, 2008

Important New Article Added to Scientific Papers & Articles Page

Around four months ago I received an e-mail from a website viewer who was putting together a list of facts regarding the claims that an anomalous sample was used in the 1988 c-14 dating of the Shroud. Just based on his thoroughness and the detailed nature of his list, I knew he was most likely a scientist, so I gave him a call. His name is Ed Prior and it turns out, he is a retired engineer and scientist who spent 40 years at NASA. For two years he served as the Acting Chief Scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center. I was pleased to find a new (and unbiased) scientist willing to delve into this very important question, so I suggested that he put the material into article form so I could publish it on this website at some point in time.

A few weeks later I was speaking with noted Shroud scholar Joe Marino, who described a similar article that he was working on. I immediately told him about Ed and quickly suggested that the two of them work together to co-author one definitive article on the subject. They both agreed and have been working together on it over the past few months. I am very pleased to report that their article, "Chronological History of the Evidence for the Anomalous Nature of the C-14 Sample Area of the Shroud of Turin," is complete and has been added to the Scientific Papers & Articles page of this site. It is a truly comprehensive article that summarizes in detail all of the compelling empirical evidence that supports an anomalous sample and I am proud to include it on this website. I think you will find it a powerful argument for revisiting the c-14 dating of the Shroud and setting aside the now highly questionable 1988 results. The article itself can also be accessed via the Website Library page of this site.

As the article progressed, I became very curious as to what had attracted Ed to this subject, so we discussed it in some detail. Here is what he told me in one e-mail:

"When I first heard the allegation that the Shroud sample used by the three labs in the radiocarbon dating might have been from a rewoven portion of the cloth and not original, I was extremely skeptical. However, the results of numerous studies on this question, as well as some presentations at the recent Ohio Shroud Conference and the new book by Raymond Rogers convinced me that the Shroud radiocarbon sample was not representative of the Shroud---and may be partly or completely a nearly invisible reweave performed at some earlier time in the Shroud's history. Only further testing can answer this question---and the inexplicable refusal of the Turin authorities to settle this once and for all has frustrated me as much as the many other researchers that have objectively looked into this issue. I am an agnostic, and have no religious interest. I am not writing a Shroud book and I don't give Shroud speeches so I have no commercial interest. I have no website of my own, and am not a “Shroudie.” I simply want to know the age of the Shroud of Turin."

I am including a copy of Ed's "abbreviated" Biography for your information.

I know I have devoted a significant amount of space to this issue, but I believe it is critical to the future of Shroud research. Ironically, it was summarized perfectly by Dr. Christopher Ramsey, current director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit in England, one of the three laboratories that performed the 1988 c-14 dating of the Shroud. This quotation is excerpted directly from an article written by Dr. Ramsey that appeared on the Oxford website in March 2008. The entire article can be found at http://c14.arch.ox.ac.uk/embed.php?File=shroud.html.

"There is a lot of other evidence that suggests to many that the Shroud is older than the radiocarbon dates allow and so further research is certainly needed. It is important that we continue to test the accuracy of the original radiocarbon tests as we are already doing. It is equally important that experts assess and reinterpret some of the other evidence. Only by doing this will people be able to arrive at a coherent history of the Shroud which takes into account and explains all of the available scientific and historical information."

Posted November 26, 2008

Shroud of Turin Booklist Page Updated

I am grateful, as always, to Emanuela Marinelli for her continued dedication and assistance in maintaining the Shroud of Turin Booklist page of this site and helping me keep it up to date. Today's update is no exception and I have added a number of new books provided by Emanuela in recent months. Included in today's update are new books by Giulio Fanti and Roberto Basso, Leonardo Magno and Oswald Scheuermann. As most of you know, the books are listed alphabetically by the primary author's last name. Whenever available, I have also included a link to the online page where one can get additional information and purchase the books directly. Each new listing now also includes the date that book was added to the page.

Posted November 26, 2008

New Shroud Documentary To Air On Discovery Channel In December

A new documentary about the Shroud of Turin will air at 10:00 pm, ET, on December 14, 2008 on the Discovery Channel. (Check your local listings for the exact time in your area). The program will also eventually air on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, although no date has yet been announced. The working title of the program is "Shroud of Turin" (although that will probably change by the air date) and the following brief description comes from the Discovery Channel's website:

The Shroud of Turin was believed to be the burial cloth of Jesus. But in 1988, radiocarbon dating concluded it was a medieval hoax. New scientific evidence poses the first substantive challenge, reopening debate about the Shroud's authenticity.

The producer attended the Ohio Shroud Conference in August to do research for the program, which has been in production for the past three months. A number of noted Shroud researchers were interviewed for the program, including Joseph Accetta, Peter Schumacher, Dr. Frederick Zugibe, Joe Marino and Sue Benford, Robert Villarreal, and Petrus Soons (to name only a few). In addition to appearing in the program, I also provided the producers with access to the interviews I shot with Ray Rogers in 2004, less than a year before his death. Considering the focus and subject matter of the program, it was extremely important that some of Ray's own words be included. I should also point out that none of the participants have seen the final program yet, so it is impossible to predict how it will turn out. However, the producer and director have both shown excellent knowledge of the subject matter, a willingness to treat the subject fairly and a sensitivity to its serious nature. I am hopeful that will be reflected in the end result. I plan to include a review of the program in my January 21, 2009 update. In fact, if any of you wish to write and submit a review of the show once it airs, I would be happy to consider it for publication.

Posted November 26, 2008

In Memoriam: Father Aram J. Berard, SJ

I am sad to report the passing of Fr. Aram J. Berard, SJ, on November 9, 2008, in Weston, Massachusetts, after a long illness. The Funeral Mass was celebrated on November 13, 2008, at the Holy Spirit Chapel in Weston. During his priestly life as a Jesuit, Fr. Berard served in various assignments in the New England province. Shroud scholars will remember him as the editor of the proceedings of the 1991 Saint Louis Conference and as founder of the Holy Shroud Task Force. Fr. Berard was buried in the Jesuit Cemetery in Weston, Massachusetts. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his family for their loss.

Posted November 26, 2008

Framed Miniature Replica Now Available

"Framed Miniature Shroud Replica" (Approx. 43" x 12" overall)

I am very pleased to announce that the Website Store page now includes a new Framed Version of the Miniature Shroud Replica on Cotton Canvas. (Unframed, rolled canvas versions have been available on the store page since last year). This framed version is offered in collaboration with James Alsop of Holy Art Works, an organization that specializes in custom fine art framing and officially distributes a number of different religious artworks, including Our Lady of Guadalupe, Ecce Homo and the Restored Vilnius Divine Mercy, so adding a Shroud image to their offerings is very appropriate. With that in mind, they have created the truly beautiful custom wooden frame for the Miniature Replica that you see above and are offering the framed version exclusively on their website. For more detailed information, click on this link: Website Store Framed Replica.

Posted November 26, 2008

And Finally...

This is the last website update of 2008, so I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continued participation and support. It is deeply appreciated. I would also like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Joyous New Year. The next scheduled update will occur on January 21, 2009, which also marks the 13th Anniversary of www.shroud.com. That update will include an important new paper by Dr. Thibault Heimburger, the December issue of the BSTS Newsletter and, if all goes as planned, a very important announcement that should have a significant impact on this website.. Have a great holiday season and I'll see you next year!

Barrie Schwortz
Editor and Publisher
Posted November 26, 2008

Ohio Shroud Conference Page Now Online

The Ohio Conference Program Cover

I am very pleased to announce that the 2008 Ohio Shroud Conference page of this website is now online. The conference, titled The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives On A Multifaceted Enigma, was held at the Blackwell Hotel on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio on August 14-17, 2008. Sponsored by the Shroud Science Internet Group and organized by Joseph Marino, the event attracted more than 85 participants from the United States and abroad. Without doubt, it was one of the best conferences held in recent years and that was the consensus of most of the attendees.

Perhaps one of the best things about this conference was the cooperation and hard work of a number of people, most notably, Dan Porter and Russell Breault, that helped get much of the conference information online quickly. In fact, not only does the Ohio Conference Page on this website include many photographs, an overview of the event, a complete list of all the presenters and the titles of each of their presentations, but most importantly, it also includes direct links to online abstracts of the papers that were presented and to MP3 audio files of most of the presentations, so you can actually hear many of them for yourself. You will find links to all the appropriate websites on the page as well. In the near future (hopefully by the end of this year), links will also be added to the papers themselves. I think you will find the online information from this conference the most comprehensive of any Shroud conference ever.

Of course, the Website Library, the Scientific Papers & Articles and the Shroud Conferences & Symposia pages have all been updated to include the information from the Ohio Shroud Conference.

Posted October 5, 2008

French Invisible Reweaving. Fact or Fiction?

One of the more interesting moments at the Ohio Shroud Conference was when Dr. Thibault Heimburger, Shroud Science Internet Group member and author of several articles on this website, presented conference chairman Joe Marino with a copy of a book he had found in a used bookstore in France. The book, titled, "The Frenway System of French Reweaving," was first written and published in 1951, apparently as a detailed instruction manual designed to preserve the highly specialized technique of French invisible reweaving, which was by then considered a dying artform. Labor intensive and requiring considerable training and skill, it was quickly being replaced by post WWII technology. The title page states that the book provides "detailed and complete instructions in the art of French invisible reweaving." It was first published in a private printing limited edition by The Fabricon Company of Chicago, Illinois and the last revision was done in 1962. I am adding the book to the Shroud Booklist page (listed with Fabricon as the author) for future reference although copies are probably difficult to find. Interestingly, Paul Maloney, noted Shroud scholar, archaeologist and member of the Shroud Science Internet Group, reported that he recently acquired a copy himself (and I believe he found it online).

I am bringing the existence of this book to your attention because some Shroud scholars have publicly claimed that French invisible reweaving simply does not exist. As many of you know, this technique figures prominently into the theory that proposes the carbon dating of the Shroud in 1988 was erroneous due to the use of an anomalous or rewoven sample. Rewoven, I might add, using French invisible reweaving. I felt it was important to make this information available to everyone and to dispel the notion that such high quality, nearly undetectable reweaving is impossible, as some would have us believe. I think this book clearly settles the issue and makes it very difficult for anyone to continue denying the existence of this technique. Included below are scans of the cover and title page of the book.

Cover and Title Page of French Invisible Reweaving Book
Posted October 5, 2008

Tentative Dates for 2010 Shroud Exhibition

I have received literally hundreds of e-mails and telephone calls asking me for the specific dates of the 2010 Shroud Exhibition announced by Pope Benedict XVI on June 2, 2008. Although no formal announcement has yet been made by the Turin Authorities, a recent edition of Sindone News, published by the Archdiocese of Turin, stated that the tentative dates are 10 April 2010 to either 15 or 22 May 2010. Another interesting note is that one day after the Pope made his announcement, the Archdiocese of Turin announced that no scientific examination would be performed during the public exhibition.

I will watch for a formal announcement from Turin as to the specific dates and will post it to the website as soon as it is made. If you are a member of the Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List, you will get an e-mail from me notifying you of the dates before the website is updated. If you are not yet a member of the mailing list and would like to join, visit the Send Us E-mail page of the site and enter your e-mail address in the appropriate box. Hit the "Go" button and you will be added to the list in less than a minute.

Posted October 5, 2008

British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) June 2008 Newsletter Added

The British Society for the Turin Shroud page has been updated to include the text of the most recent issue (June 2008, No. 67) of the BSTS Newsletter. As regular website viewers already know, the newsletters always include relevant articles, book reviews, news from Italy and much more. Newsletter editor Mark Guscin (www.markguscin.com) also includes a full color, high quality photographic feature in each issue, (although I typically reprint a text only version on this website).

This issue of the BSTS Newsletter includes several interesting historical articles. The first, by Ian Wilson is titled, "Nicholas of Verdun: Scene of the Entombment, from the Verdun altar in the monastery of Klosterneuburg, near Vienna." Another, by Cèsar Barta, is titled, "Otho de la Roche." The issue also includes a series of Obituaries by Ian Wilson memorializing three important figures in the Shroud world who passed away over the past year, an article about the Ohio Shroud Conference by Joseph Durham, several reviews of David Rolfe's recent BBC documentary by Brenda Benton (BSTS Member) and Barrie Schwortz, a book review of Niels Svensson's recent Danish language book Det Sande Ansigt - Jesus og ligklædet i Torino and much more.

For those of you who might be interested in a membership in the BSTS (which includes a subscription to two printed issues of the Newsletter per year) see the printable BSTS Membership Application for details. The newsletter is published semi-annually, usually in June and December, and the text is reprinted on this website in the Acrobat PDF format, but typically without the photographs or illustrations.

Posted October 5, 2008

In Memoriam

Dr. Eugenia Nitowski
1949 - 2007

Dr. Eugenia Nitowski, noted archaeologist, Shroud scholar and founder of the Ariel Museum of Biblical Archaeology, was found dead in her apartment on June 14, 2007. Sadly, although many of us knew her, the news of her passing took some time to reach us and this is the first opportunity I have had to include notice of her passing on this website. Dr. Nitowski made many important contributions to Shroud research and I am grateful to my dear friend Paul Maloney, archaeologist and noted Shroud scholar in his own right, for taking the time to write a tribute to Dr. Nitowski that includes a comprehensive bibliography of her work. You can find Paul's tribute at this link: Dr. Eugenia Nitowski In Memoriam (or by clicking on the photo above).

Posted October 5, 2008

Shroud of Turin Booklist Page Updated

I am grateful, as always, to Emanuela Marinelli for her continued dedication and assistance in maintaining the Shroud of Turin Booklist page of this site and helping me keep it up to date. Today's update is no exception and I have added a number of new books provided by Emanuela in recent months. Also included in today's update are new books by Raymond N. Rogers, Helmut Felzmann and Avinoam Danin, names certainly familiar to most sindonologists. Whenever available, I have also included a link to the online page where one can get additional information and purchase the books directly.

I am also including a new feature in the listings of all new books that are added to the Booklist page from this date forward: the date that book was added to the page. I received this excellent suggestion in June from website viewer Antonio Menna, from Rome, Italy, who rightly pointed out that, due to the size of the list, it was hard to find the "new" books when they were added. Thank you Antonio for taking the time to write to me with your suggestion. Your participation is truly appreciated.

Posted October 5, 2008

The Next Website Update

I am planning one more update to the site before the end of the year but I am not sure of the exact date as yet. I am waiting for two important new articles to be completed and intend to publish them as soon as they are. One is a compelling, in-depth compilation of all the credible scientific data supporting the "anomalous" c14 sample theory and the other is a detailed report on a newly completed scientific analysis of the Raes # 7 thread sample. Both should prove valuable additions to our scientific knowledge of the Shroud. Also, hopefully by the end of the year, many of the actual papers presented at the recent Ohio Shroud Conference will be available online, and I will add the links to the conference page as soon as they are. Of course, the first major update of the new year will occur on January 21, 2009, which will mark the 13th anniversary of this website.

Just a reminder that you can become a subscriber to the Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List and receive an e-mail notice whenever the website is updated. In addition, subscribers receive exclusive opportunities not available to the general public. These include access to papers and articles in advance of their publication, discounts on Shroud books and other materials and much more. To join, go to the Send Us E-mail page, enter your e-mail address in the box provided and hit "Go!" Follow the instructions and you will be added to the list in less than a minute.

Posted October 5, 2008

Ray Rogers Book Now Available

"A Chemist's Perspective On The Shroud Of Turin"

I am very proud to announce the July 2008 publication of "A Chemist's Perspective On The Shroud Of Turin." by Raymond N. Rogers, which is available now directly from Lulu.com. I was honored to serve as the editor for the book and truly privileged to actually publish this important work at Ray's request. In fact, the book represents the fulfillment of a promise I made to Ray as I sat in his living room in May 2004. Here is an excerpt from the comments I wrote for the back cover:

Raymond N. Rogers was the head of the chemistry experiments for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP), the team of twenty-four researchers that performed the first ever in-depth scientific examination of the controversial relic in 1978. He was a professional chemist for fifty-two years and spent thirty-five years as a research chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, until his retirement in 1988.

A rigorous and empirical scientist, Rogers spent years working on the Shroud as a member of the STURP team. He continued his research after the STURP project concluded, but set his studies aside in frustration as unqualified "experts" presented what he considered poor quality and non-scientific "evidence" for the authenticity of the Shroud in the popular media. In the end however, new data came to light that prompted his return to Shroud research, even though he was in failing health.

In this book, Rogers shares with us his frank and often-unvarnished personal perspectives on his thirty year involvement in Shroud studies. He details his own research and backs it up with solid observations, chemical analysis and microscopy. He provides his own theory of the Shroud's image formation and his own opinion on its authenticity. He reveals many of the problems and politics he personally encountered while studying the Shroud and discusses the role of religion and science and how each has impacted Shroud research. Most importantly, he discusses the possible future for the Shroud itself.

Whether you are a qualified scientist searching for honest answers to serious questions, or simply someone casually interested in this fascinating relic, Rogers' unique perspective, straightforward style and in-depth knowledge will both inform and enlighten you.

If you click on the title link or cover photograph above, you can go to a page on Lulu.com where you can read a description of the book and preview the first ten pages.

Posted August 12, 2008

Last Minute Update On The Ohio Shroud Conference

I am writing this just two days before the start of the Ohio Shroud Conference being held August 14 through 17, 2008 at the Blackwell Hotel in Columbus, Ohio (see May 11, 2008 story below). I received the following information from Joe Marino, conference organizer and am passing it along for those of you planning to attend:

I am confident that the conference is going to be a good one and plan to provide you with a full report in my next update. I hope to see some of you there!

Posted August 12, 2008

The Next Website Update...

I hope to have the next update online by the end of September (or sooner, if possible). It will include my coverage of the Ohio Conference, the June 2008 issue of the BSTS Newsletter, an update of new Shroud books, several of the Ohio Conference papers and much more. See you then!

Posted August 12, 2008

Pope Announces Next Shroud Public Exhibition in 2010!

I am very pleased to announce that Pope Benedict XVI announced today that there will be a new public exhibition of the Shroud of Turin in the spring of 2010! This is very good news, especially for those of us who might not have been able make it until 2025, when the next exhibition was originally planned.

Here is an excerpt from the article that was sent to me today by my friend Jesús Moreno in Mexico:

"The Holy Father noted how the next pastoral year will be dedicated to the Word of God, while the one after that "will see you oriented towards a more attentive contemplation of the Passion of Christ." In this context, he announced that he had accepted the wishes of the archbishop of Turin and that "in the spring of 2010 there will be another 'Solemn Exposition of the Shroud'". In an off-the-cuff addition to his prepared text he then added: "If the Lord gives me life and health, I too hope to come." The exposition, he went on, "will provide an appropriate moment to contemplate that mysterious Face which silently speaks to the hearts of men, inviting them to recognise therein the face of God."

Since receiving the article this morning, I have received many others verifying the story, including a notice on CNN. Although this has been rumored for several months, this is the first credible notice that the exposition will actually take place. I expect we will be seeing a formal notice of the exhibition coming from the Archdiocese of Turin in the near future and will post any new information to the website as soon as I get it.

Some of the articles also suggested that this exhibition is timed to coincide with additional scientific testing of the Shroud's age. However, there is no official notice that this is the case and the article may be referring to the testing being planned by the Oxford Laboratory with Dr. John Jackson on other (non-Shroud) linen samples, as reported in my last website update. I'll keep you informed as more information becomes available.

Posted June 2, 2008

A Review of the Recent BBC Shroud Documentary

As you may have noticed, the Shroud has been in the news a great deal in the past few months. Although it is typically in the news during the Lenten season each year, this recent publicity is due mainly to the premiere of a new BBC documentary about the Shroud titled: Shroud of Turin - Material Evidence. The program, produced and directed by David Rolfe, the director of the award-winning 1978 Shroud documentary, The Silent Witness, aired in the U.K. on BBC2 on Holy Saturday, March 22, 2008.

Since the film has not yet aired in North America, I have been unable to include any detailed information about the program on the website. I did mention it last year (see the 2007 Website News page) and there was an article by David Rolfe about the program in the December 2007 Issue of the BSTS Newsletter. However, I have received hundreds of e-mails asking me for details about the new program and its controversial content. Fortunately, David sent me a DVD so I could view the program myself and write a review for the website. It is still unknown when the program will air here in North America, or on which network, but I will post that information on the website as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, here is my personal review of the program.

The program is hosted by Rageh Omaar, a television journalist who, according to Rolfe, "came to fame on the roof tops of Baghdad where he reported the war for the BBC." Although he will not be familiar to American audiences, his articulate delivery and his intelligent style make him a credible presenter on the subject. And the program was filmed using the latest high def ion video technology (although I only viewed a standard def ion version on the DVD I received).

The lead-in to the program immediately addresses the controversial radiocarbon dating of the Shroud that took place in 1988. A dating that concluded the Shroud was manufactured between 1260 and 1390. It then suggests that new evidence that has called the 1988 dating into question will be revealed in the program. We are then taken to the Turin Cathedral where the Shroud is permanently stored, and where Rageh reveals to us that the Turin authorities have granted permission for the Shroud to be filmed exclusively for the program, thus providing the viewer with the opportunity to see the Shroud in high definition video for the first time. Rolfe takes us behind the scenes of the high definition filming and gives the viewer a close up look at the Shroud, its features and its image properties, in a segment that should look truly striking when viewed in high definition. Hopefully, it will be broadcast in high definition when it reaches America. I am also hopeful that the program will be distributed on the newly standardized high definition Blu-Ray DVD's.

The program traces the Shroud's history back through the centuries and uses interviews with experts and an animated graphic timeline to illustrate the cloth at various historical points in time. I found this timeline quite effective and felt it made the key points simple and easily understandable for the novice viewer (and for those of us who are historically challenged). Filming was done on location in Italy, England, Israel and the United States. It should be noted that some of the historical points made in the film are somewhat inaccurate. For example, the Pray Manuscript is mentioned as a "recent" discovery, yet it was first discovered by Ian Wilson in 1970 and published in his 1978 book, "The Shroud of Turin," a full ten years before the infamous c14 dating. (Note: Wilson told me recently that he did not initially notice the tiny but critical "L" shaped burn holes that the artist included in the illustration and that, in my personal opinion, is the final bit of evidence that ties the manuscript convincingly to the Shroud. His attention was drawn to the Shroud-like pose, the absence of thumbs, the very unusual nudity and the herringbone weave, which was enough to convince him that the image was related to the Shroud. The burn holes were first noted by French researcher Pere Dubarle in 1986, two years before the c14 dating and first brought to public attention in a paper presented by Prof Jerome Lejeune at the 1993 CIELT Rome Shroud Conference). These details are most important to avid Shroud scholars and far less critical to the casual viewer. In general, I don't believe they detracted from the program, although some researchers are sure to disagree with me.

The program features physicist John Jackson, co-founder of the 1978 STURP team and founder of the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado, and discusses his new hypothesis regarding the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud, based on possible c14 enrichment of linen due to the CO (carbon monoxide) in the atmosphere. According to Jackson, a 2% contamination could skew the resulting date by as much as 1400 years. Rather than attempt to describe Jackson's theory myself, I asked John to write a short article to describe it in his own words. You can find it at this link: A New Radiocarbon Hypothesis by John Jackson.

In his introduction to Jackson, Rolfe seems to imply that he is the primary American researcher studying the Shroud, a statement that many other researchers might find somewhat arguable. At one point, Jackson is given sole credit for work that was actually done collectively by many of the STURP team members. Despite these inaccuracies, the program still treats the Shroud in a more positive manner than any documentary in recent years. And Jackson appears very relaxed, articulate and confident in what may be his best television appearance ever as he takes us through his thirty years of research on the Shroud. Included was a rather detailed description of the controversial sidestrip theory, with which some researchers strongly disagree. No mention was made of Ray Rogers' peer reviewed chemical analysis of the c14 reserve sample. Of course, one can only squeeze so much information into a one hour program.

Much to David Rolfe's credit, when it came to Jackson's newest theory, he contacted Christopher Ramsey, current director of England's Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, one of the three laboratories that carried out the tests in 1988, and brought the two scientists together in the program. Ramsey agreed that Jackson's hypothesis has merit and further agreed to work with him to test it over the next year. He admitted that this could have some impact on the 1988 dating and with twenty year newer technology now available, it was worthwhile reopening the issue. It is important to note however, that they will NOT be testing samples of the Shroud of Turin itself, but other linen samples that could validate Jackson's hypothesis. In spite of Ramsey's seemingly positive attitude regarding the Shroud in the program, I must note the following quote from the Oxford University press office, which was published on L'italo Europeo's website:

Professor Ramsey said: "I am always willing to consider any serious suggestions of why the dating might not be correct and to do further tests to investigate such suggestions. In this sense, I keep an open mind - as I would about any scientific investigation. However, my strong intuition, based on my experience in this field, is that the new hypothesis will not challenge the accuracy of the original radiocarbon dating exercise."

Regular website viewers will also recognize a number of other well-known Shroud scholars in the program, including Mark Guscin and Dr. Niels Svensson, whose work often appears on this website. Guscin provides the viewer with a detailed look at the Sudarium of Oviedo in one of the historical segments and Svensson discusses the medical aspects of crucifixion with Peter Dean, British Forensic Medical Examiner. Rebecca Jackson shares her insights into the Jewish aspects of the Shroud, while Mechthild Flury-Lemberg compares the Shroud directly to the Pray Manuscript. Although the program might not satisfy the most demanding Shroud scholars (what ever does?), it should be an excellent program for the general public. All in all, a lot of ground was covered and David Rolfe should be given high praise for accomplishing something that has not been done in years by ANY television documentary. He created a worthwhile, solid program that should leave the viewer with the understanding that all the answers to the Shroud of Turin are not in yet. I think that is the most we can ever hope for in a one hour television program in today's media jungle.

Barrie Schwortz

John Jackson Responds to the Above Review

Today I received a response from John Jackson regarding my above review of the BBC program. I am including it in its entirety so that viewers may read John's perspective on several of the comments I made. Let me state clearly, in case I did not do so in the review itself, that it was the script of the program I was commenting on and not any statements made by John himself. My apologies if I did not make this clear enough in my review. John Jackson's Response to BBC Review

Posted May 11, 2008
Updated May 12, 2008

Columbus, Ohio Shroud Conference Attracting Broad Interest

As I reported in my January 21, 2008 update (see below), the Shroud Science Internet group is sponsoring an International conference titled, "The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma," to be held August 14-17, 2008 at The Blackwell Hotel on the grounds of The Ohio State University. Joe Marino, conference organizer, reports that so many abstracts and papers have already been submitted that the schedule is full. In fact, some of the time that was originally scheduled for an informal gathering on the first evening has had to be repurposed for scheduled presentations to accommodate the large number of submissions. You can find an updated schedule of the event, a list of the presenters and their topics on the conference website, at http://www.ohioshroudconference.com.

Although I can't go into detail at this moment in time because the work is still in progress, I can tell you that some very important new data will be presented at the conference. This research, performed by seven independent scientists from a world renowned American research facility, will be presented by several of the researchers themselves. I anticipate that their work may be one of the significant highlights of the conference. So, if you are still undecided about attending, you might consider this a worthwhile reason to sign up and be there in person.

Two of the papers that will be presented at the conference have also recently been accepted for publication in peer reviewed journals. The first, by M. Sue Benford and Joseph Marino, is titled "Role of calcium carbonate in fiber discoloration on the Shroud of Turin," and will appear in the March-April 2008 issue (vol.26, no.2, pp. 57-62) in the international journal "Chemistry Today". It will be accessible free online for 30 days starting on or about May 15th. Afterward, it will be accessible only via subscription.

Two other speakers at the conference, Paolo Di Lazzaro and Giulio Fanti, are co-authors of a newly-published article titled "Coloring linens with excimer lasers to simulate the body image of the Turin Shroud," which appears in the peer-reviewed journal Applied Optics, Vol. 47, Issue 9, pp. 1278-1285. (http://www.opticsinfobase.org/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-47-9-1278). Conference attendees will have the opportunity to meet the respective authors and discuss their work with them in person.

One of the most outstanding features of this conference is the category open exclusively to Student Entries. I encourage any student reading this to go to the conference website, find the appropriate instructions and "get busy!" If coming to a Shroud conference and meeting many world renowned Shroud scholars isn't enough, there are a number of generous CASH PRIZES being awarded for the best student submissions! (I've never met a student who couldn't use a little "extra" cash). Deadline for student submissions is July 31, 2008, so there is still time to do some thoughtful work. (And don't forget the CASH prizes)!

I must admit that I am getting very excited about the conference. In addition to the opportunity of hearing some of the latest Shroud research, I am also really looking forward to seeing some of my dearest friends, most of whom have not been together in the same room for at least three years. That is always one of the great benefits of every Shroud conference, and why I try not to miss any of them. In spite of our many differences of opinion (and there are MANY), it is always great to see and "hang out" with the people that you love and respect. Don't forget that the conference is open to the public, so anyone can attend. Hopefully, I'll see you there!

Posted May 11, 2008

Shroud Speakers Directory Updated

I am pleased to announce that the Shroud Speakers Directory page has been updated with the addition of Don Messier, retired educator, financial planner and long time student of the Shroud. Don was recently appointed as the State Director of the Holy Shroud Exhibit for the state of Vermont by Dr. Richard DeGraff of the Holy Shroud Center in Illinois and is planning to bring this excellent exhibit (originally created by world renowned sindonologist Msgr. Giulio Ricci) to Vermont in the near future.

Also included is updated contact information for noted Sudarium scholar and author, Janice Bennett.

The Shroud Speakers Directory is designed to provide groups and organizations with a selection of Shroud lecturers that are available to speak at their events. Included is a short biography of each speaker, a description of the topics they present, their geographic location, how to contact them directly and other pertinent information.

Posted May 11, 2008

Lifesize Shroud Replica On Cotton

I am pleased to announce that the Website Store page has been updated to include the availability of a Lifesize Shroud Replica on cotton cloth. It has been three years since we produced the first lifesize replica for the International Shroud Exhibit that debuted in 2005 in Auckland, New Zealand, and was exhibited in 2007 in Manila, the Philippines. In both cases, the replica was truly the centerpiece of the exhibit.

This 14½ foot replica is ideal for Shroud Centers, lecturers, church organizations or individuals that wish to own and display a definitive replica of the Shroud of Turin as it appeared prior to its 2002 restoration. It is printed onto a finely woven cotton duck material that can be framed or mounted for permanent display, or rolled and stored in a tube for transporting and storage.
Click here for details.

Posted May 11, 2008

Link to Radiocarbon Dating Paper

I recently received an e-mail from Dr. J. Andres Christen, of CIMAT in Mexico. In it he stated:

Dear Mr Schwortz,

I must bring to your attention this paper, dating back to 1994, with an analysis of the Shroud of Turin radiocarbon data. Find the paper attached. Please see the Example 2 on page 498. The final conclusion is clear cut.

The outlier analysis used in this case, is now a popular methodology used in the statistical analysis of radiocarbon results (see for example http://bcal.shef.ac.uk/).

My immediate reaction was that I am totally unqualified in this area and am not knowledgeable enough to even discuss it. Since Dr. Christen had been kind enough to send me the complete article, I did my best to read and understand the section that he referenced. However, to make sure I was understanding Dr. Christen correctly, I wrote him the following response requesting a clarification of the information in the example he cited.

Thank you for writing and sending me a copy of your article. Since I am not a physicist, I am afraid that I am not very knowledgeable on the subject of c14 dating. Am I correct in assuming that your conclusions in the example you gave me (Example 2 page 498) corroborate the results of the 1988 c14 dating?

As you may already know, there is credible historical evidence to show the Shroud's existence prior to the dates given by the c14 analysis (1260-1390). In addition, there is the work of Ray Rogers, who performed a chemical analysis of a reserve portion of the c14 sample and determined that the sample was anomalous and not representative of the Shroud's linen (he found interwoven cotton, a mordant and rose madder dye in a gum arabic base that was obviously used to "retouch" the color of a possible rewoven section). This work was published in 2005 in Thermochimica Acta, a highly regarded, peer reviewed chemistry journal.

There is also the work of Remi Van Haelst, a Belgian researcher, who concluded that there were considerable errors in the statistical analysis performed by the c14 laboratories (but this is far beyond my expertise).

There is much more evidence that I could detail, but I will wait to hear from you again to make sure I am understanding the point you wish to make. Could you send me a summary of the conclusions you noted in layman's terms? I would truly appreciate it.

Dr. Christen promptly sent me the following response:

You could include my paper in your list as an early analysis before the origin of the samples themselves were questioned.

Yes, my analysis corroborates the results of the 1988 dating, but this is only conditional of the fact that the dated material was indeed part of the Shroud. This latter fact is now disputed, as I understand. I don't think there is any substantial error in the c14 dating and its subsequent analysis, but apparently the samples did not belong to the Shroud itself. The C14 labs had no chance whatsoever.

Dr. J.A. Christen.

After receiving this frank and honest response, I agreed to add a link to Dr. Christen's paper and include it on this website. I am always happy to include credible scientific research, no matter what position it takes on this always controversial relic. You can find the article at the link below, but be aware that one can only read the Abstract and Introduction without first subscribing to the service. The reference to the Shroud-related section (Example 2 page 498) is only available by purchasing the entire article. The article is titled "Summarizing a Set of Radiocarbon Determinations: A Robust Approach" and it appeared in Applied Statistics, Vol. 43, No. 3. (1994), pp. 489-503. Applied Statistics is currently published by the Royal Statistical Society.

You will also find links to this article from the Website Library and Scientific Papers & Articles pages of the site.


Posted May 11, 2008

The Largest Shroud Photograph In The World

The largest Shroud image in the world on display in Novara, Italy
(© 2008 Aldo Guerreschi)

My thanks to Gerardo Halbinger v. K., of the Centro Mexicano de Sindonología, Emanuela Marinelli of the Collegamento pro Sindone (www.shroud.it) and Aldo Guerreschi for providing me with the information and photograph for this article.

In my review of the David Rolfe BBC documentary above, I mentioned that Rolfe and his production team were given unprecedented access to shoot high definition video of the Shroud. This was permitted in part because the Shroud was being brought out at that time to create what would become the largest Shroud image in the world. Made from 1650 individual images, the final reproduction measures a stunning 21 x 6 meters and was produced to accompany Pope Benedict to Sydney, Australia, this coming August for World Youth Day. It was displayed first in Novara as part of their "Passio 2008" Lenten celebration.

Posted May 11, 2008

Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List

Just a reminder that you can become a subscriber to the Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List and receive an e-mail notice whenever the website is updated. In addition, subscribers receive exclusive opportunities not available to the general public. These include access to papers and articles in advance of their publication, discounts on Shroud books and other materials and much more. To join, go to the Send Us E-mail page, enter your e-mail address in the box provided and hit "Go!" Follow the instructions and you will be added to the list in less than a minute.

Posted May 11, 2008

The Next Website Update

I have scheduled the next website update for October 2008. This is significant because October 8, 2008 is thirty years to the day from the date the STURP team began their historic scientific examination of the Shroud in 1978. I plan to publish a Tribute to the STURP Team, which will commemorate their work and include a number of photographs that have never before been published, along with some of my personal recollections as a participant in that historic event.

The update will also feature coverage of the August Ohio Shroud Conference, the June 2008 issue of the BSTS Newsletter and much more. See you in October!

Posted May 11, 2008

And Finally...

As many of you know, I have built and maintain this website by myself, without any outside assistance or financial support. As the site has grown and the traffic increased, the costs have risen proportionately. Of course, I have always rejected the option of allowing advertising, which could produce sizeable revenue because of the high website traffic. That is because I truly believe that any advertising would be disrespectful and inappropriate, considering the subject matter of the site. An even greater concern has been the thought of what would happen to this website should I become ill, disabled or worse. Sadly, after a few months, this website would disappear forever. After almost thirteen years of dedicated effort to create something of value, I find that scenario unacceptable. Millions of people have visited the site and many of you rely on it as a serious resource of credible information about the Shroud. I take that as a very serious obligation and feel it is my responsibilty to insure the website remains online for future generations of sindonologists. To that end, I have been searching for a viable solution to this problem.

Thanks to the advice and encouragement of a number of my dearest friends within the Shroud community, I have decided to form a non-profit organization that would help me continue and perpetuate the work I have begun. It would not only support the website, but help me curate and archive the extensive collections of materials I have accumulated, and ultimately, make them available directly to qualified researchers and indirectly to the public via the website. It would also keep the materials intact and the work moving forward when I am no longer able to do so myself. In fact, it will become the beneficiary and owner of all my photographs and other materials when the time comes. I believe this provides the solution I was looking for and I am happy to report that we have already begun the process. I will keep you informed of our progress as time goes on.

Posted May 11, 2008

Shroud.com Celebrates 12th Anniversary

Every year as the anniversary date of this website approaches, I start to wonder what I will say in this introduction, considering this is the twelfth time I will have had to write one. Naturally, it is very tempting to simply look at what I wrote last year, but that would be too easy and would not be coming from the heart. So every year I save this introduction as my final task of the update and write it anew. (It is now well past 8:00pm on January 20th as I write this). Also, I am never quite sure exactly how much time I will have to do the update and how many of the items I wish to include will actually get completed. Of course, the one thing I always have time for is extending my deepest appreciation and gratitude to those researchers, scientists, historians, theologians and other scholars whose participation over the years has made this website what it is. It is really hard to believe that twelve years have gone by since I first pushed the "send" button and put the site online. Without your efforts in producing the highest quality work and graciously permitting me to reprint it here on the website, there would be little reason to visit shroud.com. Equally important are the tens of thousands of viewers around the world who regularly spend time visiting the website to study the Shroud. Your continued participation and patronage is what gives enormous value to the work that is published here. In other words, the website is only valuable because of what all of you combined contribute to it. So the only thing left for me to say is thank you from the bottom of my heart! Now, let's get to the update.

This isn't the largest update I have ever done, but it certainly is a good one and includes some important new papers and information. First and foremost is the new paper by Thibault Heimburger, M.D., that reviews the work of John Heller, Alan Adler and Walter McCrone. These researchers examined the same Shroud samples but came to completely different conclusions, so Thibault carefully reviewed their science, techniques and conclusions in an excellent paper that should help us all to better understand what was done. Also included in this update is the December issue of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter, an announcement about the upcoming August 2008 Shroud Conference in Columbus, Ohio, a feature on the permanent Shroud Exhibition in Jerusalem, news of (and links to) several new websites by Russ Breault, a Memorial to Professor Giovanni Riggi di Numana who recently passed away and much more. I hope you find the new information enlightening and worthwhile.

Barrie Schwortz
Editor & Publisher
Posted January 21, 2008

New Papers Added To Scientific Papers & Articles Page

I am very pleased to announce that the Scientific Papers & Articles page has been updated to include an excellent paper by Thibault Heimburger, M.D., titled A Detailed Critical Review of the Chemical Studies on the Turin Shroud: Facts and Interpretations. Living and working in France and a member of the online Shroud Science Group for a number of years, his expertise as a researcher has been well known and respected by members of the SSG, but this is the first paper of his that I have been privileged to publish on this website. And it is an important paper at that. (Editor's Note: Regular viewers may remember that Dr. Heimburger participated in the private internet debate challenging Ray Rogers' Thermochimica Acta paper and wrote the response defending Rogers' work).

This new paper offers the reader a detailed synthesis of all the data gathered and the scientific testing performed by John Heller and Alan Adler compared side by side with the analysis performed by Walter McCrone on the same set of tape samples taken from the Shroud of Turin by the STURP team in 1978. It directly addresses the two major questions posed by the researchers: 1) Is the Shroud of Turin a painting? and 2) Is the blood really blood? Thibault's direct comparison includes an evaluation of the effectiveness of the techniques and procedures used by all the researchers, their validity for the type of samples being tested, the quality (and credibility) of their respective conclusions and much more. Thibault gets technical, but does so in the simplest and most direct terms. I believe this paper will help the reader fully understand the significance of Heller and Adler's work, recognize the flaws in McCrone's techniques and conclusions and gain a clear, credible, scientific answer to both questions. I hope it will settle the matter once and for all.

Another new addition to the site is the relatively short but important update to a previous paper by Mark Guscin titled, Addendum to Translation of Sermon by Gregory Referendarius. In his introduction to this 2008 update, Mark states: "Further consideration and consultation about the Greek text of the sermon attributed to Gregory Referendarius has led me to reconsider my original position about the supposed reference to the side wound." For those who do not know Mark, he is an expert linguist skilled in many languages and this addendum discusses the specific Greek words in question.

I have also added a new paper by Jan Jaworski and Giulio Fanti titled, 3-D Processing to Evidence Characteristics Represented in Manoppello Veil. This paper documents the researchers' use of 3-D processing techniques comparing the face of the Shroud of Turin with that of the Manoppello Veil. They also considered the different view of the image from both sides of the veil. You might also wish to read the paper by Roberto Falcinelli presented at the 3rd International Dallas Conference in 2005 titled, The Veil of Manoppello: Work of Art or Authentic Relic? Of course, these new articles are all also accessible via the Website Library page of the site.

Posted January 21, 2008

British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) December 2007 Newsletter Added

The British Society for the Turin Shroud page has been updated to include the text of the most recent issue (December 2007, No. 66) of the BSTS Newsletter. As regular website viewers already know, the newsletters always include relevant articles, book reviews, news from Italy and much more. Newsletter editor Mark Guscin (www.markguscin.com) also includes a full color, high quality photographic feature in each issue, (although I typically reprint a text only version on this website).

BSTS Issue No. 66 includes a number of interesting new articles and papers and the author's represented will be well known to most sindonologists. First is a paper by Cesar Barta titled "The Sudarium of Oviedo and the Man on The Shroud's ponytail, in which he provides further evidence of the historical connection between the two cloths. Also included is an interesting historical paper by Alessandro Piana titled "The 'Missing Years' of the Shroud," an article by David Rolfe on his upcoming BBC Shroud documentary, a short historical article by Ian Wilson on "The Tombstone of Geoffrey II de Charny at Froidmont," an interesting article by Stephen E. Jones titled, "A Proposal to Radio Carbon Date the Pollen on the Shroud of Turin" and much more.

For those of you who might be interested in a membership in the BSTS (which includes a subscription to two printed issues of the Newsletter per year) see the printable BSTS Membership Application for details. The newsletter is published semi-annually, usually in June and December, and the text is reprinted on this website in the Acrobat PDF format, but typically without the photographs or illustrations.

Posted January 21, 2008

August 2008 Columbus, Ohio Shroud Conference Announcement

(Editor's Note: My thanks to Joe Marino for providing this updated information). The Shroud Science Internet group is sponsoring an International conference titled, "The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma," to be held August 14-17, 2008 at The Blackwell Hotel on the grounds of The Ohio State University. An informal gathering for the attendees will be held the evening of August 14. The official start of the conference will be on Friday, August 15. The conference is open to the public. Abstracts can be submitted by non-Shroud Science members and are due 1 February 2008.

The conference, which falls during the 30th anniversary of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) and the 20th anniversary of the controversial 1988 carbon-dating test, will feature contributions from STURP members, including STURP documenting photographer Barrie Schwortz, who will present "A Tribute to STURP," with some previously-unseen photographs of the 1978 study. Another highlight will be a previously-unpublished paper by the late Ray Rogers, titled "The Sudarium of Oviedo: A Study of Fiber Structures," which makes some observations concerning the possible relationship of that cloth to the Shroud. A paper that supports Ray Rogers' findings from his peer-reviewed 2005 paper in Thermochimica Acta, which put forth evidence that the 1988 C-14 sample was not representative of the main cloth, is in review, as well as several interesting papers related to image-formation theories.

The keynote address, "The Shroud: An Eternal Challenge," which will highlight the past 110 years of Shroud research, will be given by Rex Morgan of Australia, who has authored books on the Shroud and had been part of the 1986 research team "Environmental Study of the Shroud in Jerusalem." A paper titled "What Went Wrong with the Shroud's Radiocarbon Date?: Setting it all in Context" will also be presented by archaeologist Paul Maloney, General Projects Director of the Association of Scientists and Scholars International for the Shroud of Turin (ASSIST).

The Blackwell Hotel, built just in 2002, has state-of-the-art-technology and will be an excellent setting for the conference, which promises to be a noteworthy event. Online registration is expected to be available this coming week. For more information, see: http://shroud.wikispaces.com/ohioshroudconference+2008

A new website for the conference, http://www.ohioshroudconference.com, which will eventually contain the papers presented at the conference, is under construction.

Posted January 21, 2008

Shroud of Turin Education Project (STEP) Launches Two New Websites

My good friend Russ Breault has expanded the scope of The Shroud of Turin Education Project, Inc. by launching two new websites. The first is www.ShroudEncounter.com which offers information on what he does as a lecturer on the subject. The second is www.ShroudUniversity.com and is dedicated to helping students research the topic and provides ideas on how to incorporate the Shroud into a research paper, presentation, speech or project. Shroud University breaks the subject down into TEN schools of academic study. The most important feature of the new site is that it makes extensive use of new digital media including streaming video, audio, podcasts, PowerPoint slides and more. The inaugural podcast features Rex Morgan's keynote address from the 2001 Dallas conference. The site links extensively to Shroud.com, Shroudstory.com and many other sites on the web where good references can be found. The Library is dedicated to the late Albert "Kim" Dreisbach. Of course, both new websites have also been included on the Links To More Information page of the site.

Posted January 21, 2008

In Memoriam

Professor Giovanni Riggi di Numana in a recent photograph holding
a filter containing dusts aspired from the Shroud in 1978
(Photo Courtesy Giulio Fanti)

I am deeply saddened to announce the sudden death of Professor Giovanni Riggi di Numana on January 5, 2008. In 1978, Professor Riggi was given only a few weeks notice to prepare some experiments to perform on the Shroud during the 120 hour test period made available to researchers, including the STURP team. With little notice and no budget, he designed some very sophisticated and important tests to perform on the cloth, and I remember being very impressed by his expertise, professionalism and demeanor during the examination. He designed one experiment in which a small portion of the Shroud edge was separated from the Holland Cloth. He used this opening to insert a long handled vacuum nozzle with special in-line sterile filters and vacuumed dust and particles from between the two cloths. You can see some of these filters in the above photograph.

His second experiment was equally important. He used the same opening and inserted a long handled fiber optic endoscopic camera system between the two cloths. The system had its own light source for focusing and exposure purposes and allowed him to make the first closeup photographs of the back side of the Shroud. But the experiment had a secondary effect that may have been even more important, as it allowed those of us watching to see the Shroud lit from behind with transmitted light for the first time. In fact, when Professor Riggi put the light behind the famous "#3" bloodstain on the forehead, we were all amazed to see the density of that bloodstain. It was at that moment that Eric Jumper approached me and told me that he was giving me the task of photographing the entire Shroud using transmitted light before our examination ended. Two days later I was given thirty minutes to photograph the Shroud using transmitted light, and those are among the most important photographs I made in 1978. They clearly show bloodstains, waterstains, burns, scorches, patches and holes, but there is virtually no image visible. This provided us with the first serious evidence that no paints or pigments were added to the Shroud to create the image, as they would have certainly been visible as added density in the image areas when viewing the cloth with transmitted light. None of this would have happened were it not for the important work of Professor Riggi. Of course, he is probably best known as being the researcher who cut the samples from the Shroud that were used for the C14 dating in 1988.

In the midst of the 5 day examination in 1978, I was extremely honored when Professor Riggi invited me to his home for dinner, where I met his family and examined the filters from his vacuuming experiment. I always held him in the highest regard and considered him a friend. I extend my deepest personal sympathies and condolences to his family and friends for their loss. Professor Riggi's funeral was held on Tuesday, January 8, 2008 at the Chapel of Mauriziano Hospital in Turin, and was attended by more than 200 persons. The mass was celebrated by don Giuseppe Ghiberti in the presence of both sindonologists and members of the "Unione Filatelica Subalpina" of which he was president. He was buried at Pecetto Torinese, Torino, Italy, where he lived these last years. I am including below some additional comments by others who knew him.

Barrie Schwortz

Professor Giovanni Riggi di Numana inserting a special 'bridge'
between the Shroud and the Holland cloth to separate them and
provide access for his vacuum and endoscope experiments in 1978
© 1978 Barrie M. Schwortz

Professor Giovanni Riggi di Numana was an important person in the service of the Turin Shroud, even if he was not always understood. In 1978 he aspired some dusts from the back of the Shroud by means of an "aspiratore" system designed by him for this purpose. In this occasion he first looked by means of a vision system, at the back of the Shroud with a particular system that was put between the Shroud and the Holland cloth. He was obliged –as he declared - by prof. P.L. Baima Bollone to give him half the filters containing the aspired dusts. He was the only Italian researcher included in the STURP project for his scientific competence.

With other colleagues he published a report in which he reported the presence of fungi and bacteria in the aspired dusts; these results subsequently pushed the Turin Authorities to choose a better system for Shroud conservation. In 1988 he aspired other dusts from the Shroud but he is more famous for having cut the radiocarbon sample. All of you know the many discussions and critics that arose from that cut and Giovanni Riggi di Numana was deeply involved in these polemics, even if he was mainly an executor. In fact the decisions were made by other professors present at the moment of the cut. He spent a lot of his own money for the design and the construction of the equipment used to test the Shroud, without having any refund.

He said to me that Cardinale Ballestrero, the Custodian of the Relic, personally told him to conserve as best he could the samples taken from the Shroud, as a partial refund of the work he had done. Some voices arose saying that G. Riggi di Numana was selling some pieces of the Shroud, but he always denied them; as proof, he freely gave me some important samples from the Shroud and, in addition, he always offered to buy lunches for me at Fondazione 3M during our frequent meetings. He also said that Cardinale Ballestrero told him to use these samples as best he could for scientific research and for this reason he made up a wide archive at Fondazione 3M of Milano Segrate, which is open to all the researchers interested in the Shroud studies. Some years ago he furnished some samples to prof. Garza Valdes who, without asking permission, performed some radiocarbon test that did not furnish useful results; Giovanni Riggi di Numana was quite embittered by this fact. He also furnished some blood crusts to prof. Tryon for DNA analysis, but no results were published from this research.

During a telephone call on the 2nd of November, 2007, Giovanni Riggi di Numana told me that now he would have a lot of work to include Prof. Luigi Gonella's archive in that of Fondazione 3M (Gonella died on August 8, 2007). I don't know if he was able to do any of this work in the time that remained to him. He was quite unhappy that Cardinale Poletto, the actual Custodian of the Shroud, did not meet with him and seemed uninterested in the Shroud collection of the Fondazione 3M, but very recently was very happy to inform me that he had a meeting with the Custodian this Christmas!

Giovanni Riggi di Numana – I repeat freely - furnished me with samples that were very useful to deepen the study of the Shroud and some interesting results came from the comparison with the samples kindly furnished to me by Ray Rogers. Some reports of mine are already at Fondazione 3M archive, but some others will be published – if accepted – at the Shroud Conference that will held in August of this year in Columbus, Ohio. I recently proposed to him and to Fondazione 3M to select the linen fibers contained in the filters of the aspired dusts, by means of a new technique found by me, in order to use them for a future radiocarbon dating. He was very interested in this idea and recently gave me a little sample for final verification before performing the work.

Strangely, he seemed hurried in this work, perhaps foreseeing the events to come, but smiling, I answered him that we would have all the time we wanted. Now I know how wrong I was! These are the instructions that he gave to me at our last lunch and that I want to follow if the work continues: -a) to select the Shroud fibers from the dusts by means of a my dry technique; -b) when and if the required quantity for a test will be reached, to select the proper technique and laboratory; -c) to inform the Vatican of the possibility of a new radiocarbon test; -d) to perform the test in any case.

I always will remember the kindness of Giovanni Riggi di Numana (who preferred to be named with his complete name) and also his embitterment that so few researchers are now interested in Shroud studies, which he considered interesting and important. Without his work in collecting, archiving and furnishing samples for scientific research, especially in this period of closure from the Turin Authorities, many facts on the most important Relic of Christianity would still be veiled. He was in agreement with the idea of G. Gonella that the Shroud could be a medieval miracle, but he was open to new tests. Now, facing Christ, he certainly knows that the Shroud is not a medieval miracle, but the real Face of Him probably impressed on the Shroud during His Resurrection. Many thanks Giovanni Riggi di Numana for your important work done for the Shroud and for the Truth!

Rest in peace.
Giulio Fanti

I am very sorry that we have lost Professor Riggi, who has contributed so much. But he has gone to a reward well deserved. Condolences to his family and to all who knew him.

Diana Fulbright

Although Professor Giovanni Riggi di Numana shared, with the late Professor Gonella, the conviction that the Shroud of Turin could not be the Shroud of Christ, he remained fascinated by its study during his entire life. This passion brought him to constitute, with the help of the 3M Company, a real Museum with all the elements that the successive Custodians authorized him to preserve, so that studies could be continued on after his death, and the mystery solved. In 2003, I was invited to visit this 3M Museum and he entrusted me with the care of the "aspiratore" itself that was used to clean the Shroud in 1988 (with all its tubings and filter). All this is worth being published on his friend Barrie's website.

Now, he has joined his Creator, and he knows surely all about the origin of the Shroud: a fascinating enigma to which he sacrificed his own life. May his family and his friends find here the homage to a smart Gentilhomme with a so engaging personality.

Requiescat in Pace,
Marcel Alonso

This is quite a blow to the Shroud world. Giovanni is he who was honored to personally remove the Shroud material for the C`14 dating. In 1994, he came to Evansville and gave a presentation on that very subject. He also showed significant portions of the video of the event that was made. I was able to know him as a gentle, yet intelligently persuasive, student of the Shroud over a period of three days in his company.

Sent with sadness at his passing and condolences for his family.

Dan Scavone

I join the condolences for Prof. Giovanni Riggi di Numana and I will pray for him.

Traudl Wally
Posted January 21, 2008

The Shroud Exhibit in Jerusalem

I was recently privileged to correspond with Fr. Eamon Kelly, LC, of the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, where in July of 2006, a beautiful and permanent Exhibition of the Holy Shroud was opened to the public. As it states on the Center's website, www.notredamecenter.org, "this exhibition offers to the pilgrims a complementary experience that can help to interiorize the visit to the places of Christ’s sufferings and Resurrection. ...The aim of this exhibition is to lead to a more intimate encounter with Christ himself, to be a help to deepen in the love, that moved him to go through all these sufferings, precisely in this holy city, in those places that we visit on our pilgrimage to Jerusalem."

Exhibition of the Holy Shroud in Jerusalem
(Photo courtesy of notredamecenter.org)

(Editor's Note: The following information is courtesy of the notredamecenter.org website):

The exhibition (the first one of this kind) offers a documented explanation about the Holy Shroud. 22 panels display information about:

1.- The history (its itinerary in these 2000 years)

2.- The scientific research that has been done on the Shroud

The explanations of the different aspects are illustrated with reconstructions of: the crown of thorns, the nails of crucifixion, Roman whips and coins whose marks were discovered on the Shroud. Nevertheless, the most outstanding element of the exposition is without doubt a digitalized and life size copy of the Holy Shroud, and a bronze statue, by the Italian sculptor Luigi Mattei, who has managed to materialize the three dimensional image of the Man of the Shroud. A sculpture which is unique in the world and which shows us the suffering body of the man who was wrapped in the Shroud.

The Exhibition is located in Jerusalem, at the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, opposite the New Gate in the Old City. Admission to the exhibition, as well as the guided visits are free (we are thankful for donations). The hours are: 9:30 – 12:30 h and 14:30 – 18:30 h and Groups can also make reservations at 20:00 to 21:00 h. The guided visits require previous reservations. See the Center's website for detailed information. I have also included the Jerusalem Center on the Shroud Centers and Organizations page.

Posted January 21, 2008

The Power of the Shroud Image

In my November 21, 2007 update, I announced that two of my photographs of the Shroud were now available as Backlit DuraTrans Transparencies in PhotoGlow® Frames. I also mentioned that the dynamic range of these images was 400% greater than a normal photographic print and they were identical in quality to the large backlit transparencies currently on display at many Shroud centers and churches around the world. A number of viewers ordered these from me and several actually wrote me letters and described the impact these striking images had on them and their families. One letter in particular was very moving, and although I rarely if ever publish my private e-mails on this website, I decided I wanted to share this one with all of you. Thankfully, the viewer has graciously allowed me to reprint it here:

Dear Barrie,

There could never be a set of words to describe my Lord and God. And here we stand before the image of the Holy Face of Jesus from the Shroud of Turin, and again it is not possible to describe what our eyes are gazing upon!

The "DuraTrans Photo" is the work of the Holy Spirit. May the Trinity bless you for sharing God, Himself with our family!

Beautiful... Powerful... Our souls are lifted straight to Heaven!

Sam and Beth
Boulder, Colorado
Posted January 21, 2008

Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List

Just a reminder that you can become a subscriber to the Shroud of Turin Website Mailing List and receive an e-mail notice whenever the website is updated. In addition, subscribers receive exclusive opportunities not available to the general public. These include access to papers and articles in advance of their publication, discounts on Shroud books and other materials and much more. To join, go to the Send Us E-mail page, enter your e-mail address in the box provided and hit "Go!" Follow the instructions and you will be added to the list in less than a minute.

Posted January 21, 2008

Some Website Statistics From 2007

Every anniversary update, I like to post some information for the internet geeks in the audience. In 2007, nearly 600,000 visitors opened over 5 million files, viewed over 1.4 million pages and generated over 6 million hits on the website. This traffic generated over 154 GB of bandwidth over 12 months. For the uninitiated, this means that about 50 thousand visitors a month spend a LOT of time on shroud.com! Also, in case you were wondering, the Website Search Engine (found on the Main Menu and Website Library pages), now contains over 2 million words. It searches through every page and every pdf document on the site, so use it to find what you are looking for.

Posted January 21, 2008

And Finally...

I am not sure at this moment when the next website update will go online, but I do expect to complete another one in a few months. I still have a considerable backlog of material that should be on the site. Of course, if anything of great importance occurs, I will first notify my Subscriber Mailing List and then get it onto the website as quickly as possible.

This year should be a promising one for Shroud studies, with an important Shroud Conference happening in August. I will certainly be there and hope to see many of you in attendance. Until then, thank you again for being there!

Posted January 21, 2008

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