A new series of tests carried out by the University of Padua on the Shroud of Turin indicate that it might be a little older than everyone thought.
Many believed that the Shroud of Turin was a medieval forgery, in fact some have even suggested that it might have been knocked up by Leonardo deVinci to rustle up a bit of tourism for the city.
Of course there are also those who are convinced that it really was the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish preacher who was outed after his death by a man who never met him as the son of God.
The 14-foot-long cloth bearing the image of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by someone crucified was analysed by university scientists using infrared light.
Giulio Fanti, a professor at Padua University found that the shroud was aged between 280 BC and AD 220. Based on this, of course, it could also have been Antiochus One Eye’s grave wrapping or belonged to the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus’s bath towel. It did not really come with Jesus’s name sewn in the corner by his mum.
Fanti, a Catholic, told the Telegraph that the results were based on 15 years of research on fibres taken from the cloth, which were subjected to radiation intensity tests.
He rejected the conclusion of carbon dating tests conducted in 1988 that bolstered the theory the shroud was made in the 13th or 14th century in a medieval forgery. Fanti insisted that these were stuffed up by laboratory contamination.
The cloth is housed in Turin Cathedral in northwest Italy where it was apparently dropped off by the Knights Templar on their way back from one of the crusades. There were a lot of such relics forged during this time as the various cities tried to make a bob or two on the tourist trade. It was not enough to have a saint, you had to have an original bit of a biblical character to rope in the punters.
Of course, Fanti’s book is being released just as Christians everywhere celebrate the crucifixion of their god, which was what was supposed to have created the shroud in the first place.