Comments (kindly keep them relevant to the current topic of interest!)
- Sindonology’s 10 biggest mistakes …
- Please excuse this pot-boiler of a posting …
- What’s causing Air Sindonology to nosedive and crash? Vapour alone from an empty fuel tank? Or trying to fly on a heaven-sent source of mystery radiation?
- Can you spot the new entry on Dan Porter’s shroudstory site (despite the shutters coming down 3 years ago)?
- Turin Shroud: think “medieval whole body powder imprint”. STOP PRESS: body image maybe not so superficially photograph-like as claimed!
- No, Mr. Barrie M. Schwortz. STURP did NOT “provide an example that future Shroud researchers can use to carefully plan their own work”. STURP showed how not to plan or execute objective, ISSUE- RELEVANT science-based research!
- Here’s one good reason for thinking the Turin Shroud to be a medieval fake – namely that ‘cardboard cut-out look’, with frontal v dorsal views of body only – NO SIDES!
- Here it is at last – a simple explanation for the Shroud of Turin – how and more importantly WHY it was made in the mid 14th century. Think simulated sweat imprint, seemingly yellowed with age, plus bloodstains in all the right places….
Oops. Seems that Google doesn’t like my new site design, with the expanded margin comment. Why? Probably because it’s not ideally suited to cramped smartphone screens. Regardless, display restrictions are viewer and Google’s problem, not mine. Big issues require big screens! The message on this site WILL finally get broadcast, correction, narrowcast, with or without mobile/cellphone user or Google’s assistance…
Back to business: list of reasons for thinking the Turin TRANSPORT LINEN* to be of medieval origin
* Yes, let’s straightaway dispense with that hugely misleading term “Shroud” (as in “Shroud” of Turin! ).
Please read – or re-read as the case may be – the first 3 Gospel accounts detailing body retrieval and transport with Joseph of Arimathea’s single sheet of “fine linen” (“sindon”, singular noun). Then, and only then, read the 4th Gospel re final burial clothes. Yes, also making reference to linen, but described by a different term (“othonia”, plural noun) and in all probability a later and separate input of linen, replacing – and not to be confused with – J of A’s…
No, NOT “Shroud” of Turin but “makeshift stretcher” using quality linen. Yes, “pre-shroud” of Turin, later replaced by entirely different linen – burial clothes as per Gospel of John – separate face cloth etc.
Oh, and not the real thing (whether J of A’s linen was a makeshift stretcher or not), but a painstakingly executed medieval reconstruction thereof (simulated body/blood imprint!)
Now for that list (4 for starters):
1. The radiocarbon date (1260-1390). Yes, it has been challenged, indeed ridiculed, with all kinds of alleged deficiencies, ranging from the plausible through to pure moonshine.
But it’s never been conclusively demonstrated to be erroneous. Indeed, it’s almost certainly accurate to within a hundred years either way, the mean date (1325) being just 30 years short of the first documented appearance of the Linen at Lirey, France.
2. The very first recorded public Lirey display, around 1355, was not only the first appearance of the Linen in documented history. It was also the first appearance of that iconic double-body image, with those attention-grabbing frontal and dorsal body surfaces aligned head to head.
3. Then there’s that NEGATIVE (tone-reversed) image, easily interpretable I say as a simple contact BODY IMPRINT onto linen from a real bearded adult male, or maybe a representation thereof (statue, bas relief) partially or totally .
No, it’s seriously flawed logic to assume, as so many do, or seem to, that a negative image, first revealed by late 19th century photography, must itself be a photographic image. Is a muddy footprint on a white tiled floor a ‘photograph’ as well? No, so let’s forget photography. Think CONTACT IMPRINT (tone-reversed, and thus merely reminiscent of pre-digital silver emulsion photography)
So why no reference to either “negative image” or even imprint in the 1981 STURP Summary? (Yet we’re told by STURP’s Documenting Photographer, now re-invented born-again “scientist”, that it was a model of inspired planning, one that modern scientists should take as an example! Harumph! )
4. That life-size double body image, especially one that is an imprint-like ‘negative’ with front, back but no sides.
The biblical account in the first 3 Gospels of ‘mystery man’ Joseph of Arimathea conjuring up a sheet of ‘fine linen’ (Luke) to transport the crucified Jesus from cross to nearby tomb supplies a rationale, at least in principle, for the double body imprint.
Sixteenth century Italian artists portrayed the J of A narrative, even if the linen is now seen by the majority of modern-day sindonologists as a “burial shroud” for later secondary use (as described for the sole mention of ‘linen’ in the final Gospel, omitting any mention one might add of prior body transport), that providing the pretext for image capture – via, we’re told, some kind of supernatural ‘selfie proto- photography’ of the entire body image some 2 days later at the instant of Resurrection. Yes, the two-fold body image, interpretable as a dried-on aged sweat imprint (plus relatively recently freshly-shed blood) is – or should be – seen first and foremost as a contact imprint. Caveat: but not necessarily a genuine 1st century one, but, more probably, a medieval reconstruction of the image that might have been left on J of A’s fine linen (expensive herring-bone twill being deployed in the case of the Turin Linen to make the connection with J of A’s fine linen, NOT the final burial shroud, needing plain linen only).
One could add more, much more, to the list of reasons for regarding the Turin Linen (NOT ‘Shroud’ if meaning ‘burial shroud’ ) as being a medieval reconstruction of J of A’s ‘fine linen’, deployed purely in transport mode, NOT intended as final ‘burial shroud’. Sadly space does not permit here in this somewhat restricted margin. Hopefully enough has been said to give you, dear site visitor, an idea of where this retired (PhD) scientist stands after some 7 years of fairly continuous hands-on and book research, reported here on this site and elsewhere in real time through some 350 and more postings…
May 8, 2019
email: email@example.com (Added note: July 30, 2019: AOL is suddenly playing hard to get – so your email might not get to me…)
Conflicting definitions of “sindonology”
1. First, from en.wiktionary
“The study of the Shroud of Turin from a believing perspective”
2. Second, from www.dictionary.
“The scientific study of the Shroud of Turin”
Er, they can’t both be right! Indeed they could be said to be pulling in opposite directions!
So why hasn’t sindonology put its house in order, at least where internet search returns are concerned? Is sindonology a branch of religious belief, coloured by preconceptions, whether inherited or acquired? Or is it an entirely science-based discipline, dependent purely on hypothesis followed by objective testing, followed by objective interpretation of data, followed if necessary by new hypotheses, additional testing etc etc?
PS: See references below to “Type 1” v “Type 2” sindonologists, based on the above… ;-}
My very own sindonological hit parade (including, er, some of my own discoveries)
Top of my list: The (some might say ) belated discovery by Secondo Pia in 1899 that the body image of the Man on the Turin Linen bears a closer resemblance to a photographic tone-reversed negative than to a positive (see lefthand of the two images below).
And yes, the first can be converted to the second (see right above) to achieve a more realistic human countenance.
Shame about the hair turning white!
Shame too at the way the negative image has been used by Type 1 sindonologists to promote ‘supernatural proto-photography’ as the mechanism of initial image capture. The focus should, needless to say, have been on imaging via contact imprinting from the word go, with no attempts to lightly dismiss imprinting based on irrelevant considerations ( least of all the absence of lateral ‘wrap-around’ distortion in an image that lacks sides!).
Incredibly, the 1981 STURP Summary makes no reference whatsoever to Secondo Pia, the negative body image, or the in-your-face implications re imprinting via contact.
Type 1 or Type 2 sindonology? Go figure…
Second on my list
This one gets scarcely any mention in current discussion/debate re the Linen – the crucial, nay pivotal, discovery by STURP’s Alan Adler and John Heller that the body image fibres are bleachable. Curiously, ordinary domestic bleach (sodium hypochlorite) appears not to have been tested, but 3 different chemical reagents did the trick: hydrazine, diimide and alkaline hydrogen peroxide. They all have one thing in common: they are chemical reducing agents (yes, alkaline peroxide as well, which comes as a surprise to some).
There are two chief implications. The first is that the ‘bleachability’ of the image chromophore should have killed stone dead the ideas put forth by Walter McCrone that the image was painted using inorganic medieval paint pigments (iron ochre, i.e. Fe2O3 etc.). For some reason it did not, either then, back in 1980 or even now, 40 years later!
Natural iron oxides, used for centuries, nay millennia, by artists. But they are NON-BLEACHABLE , unlike organic chromophores that depend on conjugated -C=C- double bonds for their colour. The Turin Linen has a bleachable body image chromophore, something that Walter McCrone overlooked (or ignored).
Secondly, it gives a clue to the chemical nature of the image chromophore, especially the effect of diimide (N2H2) which is a specialized reagent that unusually adds hydrogen atoms in a highly specific manner across -CH=CH- double bonds to form -CH2-CH2-. That accounts for the bleaching, when, importantly, the double bond is just one in an alternating sequence of single and double bonds, the so-called conjugated system that confers colour – yellow or brown.
etc -CH=CH-CH=CH-CH=CH-CH=CH- etc
(it’s said one needs a minimum of 8 double bonds in conjugation to have colour, so one needs only to hydrogenate the odd or or two, especially more central ones, to see bleaching).
Adler and Heller sadly then took a wrong direction, resorting to concentrated sulphuric acid to model a yellow coloration of linen. Fellow STURP team member Raymond N.Rogers had other ideas – believing the cellulose was not involved – see below, but sadly those ideas did not appear till later. It’s A and H’s “oxidized, dehydrated cellulose” modelled with concentrated(!) sulphuric acid which appears in the 1981 STURP Summary. Talk about losing the plot! Talk about turning up a dead-end alley, albeit with resounding cheers from Type 1 sindonology, looking to justify its supernatural radiation theories, acting on allegedly oh-so-susceptible-to-browning cellulose… (Yes, book and newspaper pages yellow with age, but that’s more likely due to changes in the woody lignin rather than the more chemically-inert cellulose. And quite how one gets 8 or more colour-conferring conjugated double bonds into cellulose molecules via oxidation and chemical dehydration is anyone’s guess…)
Third on my hit parade listing
Apols if some found the chemistry above somewhat off-putting. But one cannot discuss the alleged “enigma” of the Linen’s body image without bringing in chemistry. And though I hesistate to say it, there’s more to come, under the heading of Ray Roger’s proposal that the body image chromophore is NOT chemically-modified cellulose, as per the notion advanced, prematurely some might say, by Adler and Heller in the STURP Summary, but a so-called “Maillard browning product” formed in an ACQUIRED chemical coating on the surface of the linen. (It’s called “thinking out the box”, an essential in science from time to time, whereas a daily occurrence in the extreme manifestation of uncompromising Type 1 sindonology).
OK, so let’s start by providing a familiar example of a Maillard browning product – namely what comes out of the oven when one bakes bread dough:
So what generates the brown crust? Answer: those so-called non-enzymic, heat-generated Maillard browning reactions between (a) reducing sugars – glucose, maltose etc- and amino (-NH2) groups supplied mainly from the lysine side chains of certain proteins. The chemistry is exceedingly complex, as is the nature of the end-products, which are high-molecular weight so-called melanoidins, liberally endowed with those conjugated double bonds referred to earlier. Indeed, they are so complex in their chemical make-up that it’s impossible to write a chemical formula for them. But one thing’s for certain – they are bleachable – unlike McCrone’s iron oxide and other inorganic paint pigments!
So what was the source of the two co-reactants for Rogers’ Maillard reaction, generating straw-coloured melanoidins as an image chromophore? Here’s where it gets tendentious. First: neither comes from the linen per se, in contrast to Adler and Heller’s hypothesizing (though I have no objection to Rogers’ thus far, far from it, as will be seen later). No, it’s the precise source that is hard to take seriously. Why? Because the reducing sugars are said to have been supplied by a starch impurity coating, added we’re informed to the linen at time of manufacture 2 millennia ago to aid with weaving. Er, yes, and we’re told that starch traces were indeed detectable both by Rogers and McCrone. Shame that starch does not fall apart on cue to supply free reducing sugars at least in the absence of strong acid or starch-degrading enzymes. Free amino groups? Here it gets even more imaginative. They were generated in gaseous form from the initial decomposition of the deceased body, lying in the rock tomb. Those gaseous amines (putrescine , cadaverine etc) then diffused across the air gap between body and nearest linen to interact with starch-derived reducing sugars to generate the fuzzy body image.
Yes, no lack of imagination there, though some might consider that the opposite to be the case – an excess of imagination, adding up to a naturalistic, i.e. non-supernatural pro-authenticity narrative!
But let’s not get hung up on chemical detail. What matters first and foremost is the originality and boldness of the scenario on offer – namely the presence of two co-reactants for a Maillard browning reaction, neither of which is intrinsic to linen per se, both having been supplied from ‘outside’.
Anyone with the slightest knowledge of cellulose and its chemical inertness is bound to take seriously alternative scenarios in which the linen itself takes a back seat. Rogers supplied just such a scenario – and its one to which this retired scientist finds himself attracted, resulting in his final Model 10. But no, it does not require starch, nor body decomposition amines. What’s more, it’s neither naturalistic, nor pro-authenticity. More about the specifics of my Model 10 later, except to say that it requires a readily available source of both reducing sugars and amino groups in the form of WHITE FLOUR (as a medieval IMPRINTING AGENT). Thanks Ray Rogers (RIP) for ‘breaking the ice’ where those non-linen ingredients are concerned.
What about the so-called “unique encoded 3D” body image?
Yes, we continue to be regaled, year after year, with that claim, trumpeted in the third sentence of 1981 STURP Summary no less:
” Computer image enhancement and analysis by a device known as a VP-8 image analyzer show that the image has unique, three-dimensional information encoded in it.”
Early in 2012 this investigator was surprised to find, looking at 3D-renderings of the body image, that the 1532 burn marks responded as well, if not better, to the 3D-rendering software!
What price, then, those “unique three-dimensional information”?
Did that put a stop to the fatuous claims for unique 3D properties? Far from it. They continue to this day!
That’s despite myself and others adding evermore example to the list of images that respond as well if not better (my tests employing the digital ImageJ software, as distinct from analogue pre-digital VP-8).
Here’s a list of images that respond to ImageJ:
- Direct scorch imprints from heated bas relief (coins etc) or 3D templates (brass crucifix etc).
- Crude charcoal sketches of the face of the Man on the Linen
- Brass rubbings
- Line drawings (flags etc), cartoons.
- Photographs (preferably ones without angled lighting and associated shadows to avoid distortion)
- Paintings (including the representation of the body imprint in Rovere’s “Deposition from the Cross”).
- Graphics generated in MS Paint and similar software that have no 3D history whatsoever:
- That wet hand imprint of mine onto dark fabric, shown in this site’s banner above.
- Those bloodstains on the Linen, including the scourge marks.
- Flour imprints from plastic figurines or human anatomy (hands, face) before or after colour development with applied heat.
Need one say more? I say it’s time that “unique encoded 3D” was given a decent burial. Shame on STURP for foisting it on the world at large without bothering to run a proper series of controls, performed with strict scientific detachment! Fancy: to spotlight the allegedly unique 3D while not saying a single word about the negative tone-reversed image. Yet we’re told it STURP’s planning was a model for the current crop of investigators to emulate! Thank you STERA President for that unsolicited advice. Don’t you think it would have been better if you, a non-scientist, had ASKED PRESENT-DAY SCIENTISTS FIRST WHAT THEY THOUGHT ABOUT STURP FORTY YEARS ON (and its distinctly Type 1 style of authenticity-slanted sindonology)?
My 10 experimental models, 2011-2015
Model 1. “Thermostencilling” (the one and only radiation model, quickly dismissed as impractical).
See this from Dec 2011:
Model 2: Direct one-step scorching off a heated metal template, with nothing else apart from linen. (Finally abandoned for mainly practical reasons, but it gave valuable insights into the 3D properties of thermal imprints).
See this from Nov 2013.
Model 3: as above, with coatings, notably WHITE FLOUR (an early forerunner of the final Model 10!).
I had initially tested starch, glucose etc , surprisingly with little success. it may have been this which sowed the idea that there needed to be something else present. Ray Rogers’ focus on Maillard reactions helped, albeit substituting protein for his volatile putrefaction amines.
See this from Oct 2014:
Model 4: Wet imprinting with natural dyes, notably tannins, with added viscosity agents, essentially as described by Joe Accetta.
See this from March 2015
Model 5: sulphuric acid, flagged up by any number of previous investigators – Luigi Garlaschelli, Joe Nickell among others, the idea being that acids might have etching/discoloring effect on linen.
Result: negligible discoloration, profound weakening of fabric at ordinary temps, no obvious coloration without applied heat.
See this from April 2015:
Model 6: Substitution of nitric for sulphuric acid, first with plain linen, then WHITE FLOUR -coated linen (another forerunner of final model 10).
Probably the most informative experiment of all, assisted by critical input from Adrie van der Hoeven, inasmuch as protein was implicated as a potential source of image chromophore, focussing initially on the traces of protein intrinsic to linen, then moving onto extraneous sources of protein coating, then finally dispensing altogether with nitric acid as developing agent, and replacing with OVEN-HEATING TO PRODUCE MAILLARD REACTIONS. (Yes, Maillard reactions: an echo there of Rogers, but in his pro-authenticity thinking, he had perforce to introduce some less probable sources of amino nitrogen and reducing sugars (decaying corpse and 1st century technical starch or soap coatings as a somewhat improbable source of reducing sugars).
See this from May 2015:
Model 7: quicklime. A longshot, using the highly exothermic reaction between calcium oxide, CaO and water as source of in situ heat, but quickly abandoned.
See this from June 2014:
Model 8: Lemon juice and heat, with its ascorbic acid (not citric acid) as the active ingredient – basically invisible ink methodology.
Probably operates via a Maillard reaction between (a) a constituent 4- carbon reducing sugar – threose – derived from thermal decomposition of ascorbic acid- and (b) amino compounds.
Most of the existing literature assumes (wrongly!) that it’s the linen that discolors when treated with acid, even weak organic ones like those present in lemon juice (citric, ascorbic etc)
See this from October 2014:
Model 9. Imprinting with WHITE FLOUR in the form of slurry then OVEN-ROASTING. Criticized for giving imprints that were too well-defined at edges.
See this from June 2015:
Final 10 (phew!) Imprinting with dry WHITE FLOUR onto wet linen, followed by OVEN-ROASTING of the imprinted linen. Fuzzier imprints, negative, 3D response in ImageJ software, right thread and fibre properties at the microscopic level – i.e. halftone effect, discontinuities etc. Eureka!
See this from Aug 2015:
- 1532 Chambery fire
- alan adler
- alan d adler
- badge lirey
- Barrie Schwortz
- bas relief
- blood stains
- body image
- colin berry
- contact imprint
- Dan Porter
- flour imprint
- geoffroi de charney
- geoffroi de charny
- giulio fanti
- Hugh Farey
- jacques de molay
- John jackson
- junk science
- Knights Templar
- lirey badge
- Maillard reaction
- Mario Latendresse
- Mark Evans
- medieval forgery
- Mickey Mouse science
- negative image
- Paolo Di Lazzaro
- primary cell wall
- radiation model
- radiocarbon dating
- Raymond N Rogers
- scorch hypothesis
- scourge marks
- secondary cell wall
- Shroud of Turin
- Shroud Scope
- simulated sweat imprint
- spear wound
- thermal imprint
- thermal imprinting
- Thibault Heimburger
- turin shroud
- white flour
So why did I settle on Model 10 (flour imprinting/thermal yellowing) back in 2015?
1. Powder – almost any powder – makes a most effective imprinting medium, as shown by Emily Craig and Randall Bresee in the late 90s.
Recently I compared powdered charcoal alongside flour as imprinting medium. Negative images with charcoal possessed an almost photographic quality and responded to 3D-rendering software. Alternatively, white flour imprints can be ‘developed’ to any desired shade of yellow or brown by gentle roasting of linen.
In passing, the background linen acquires an ‘aged’ look – a distinct bonus if you’re a medieval ‘modeller’ of Joseph of Arimathea’s ‘transport linen’ with its whole body imprint.
2. The negative (tone-reversed) image is most easily accounted for as an imprint, despite that term or indeed concept failing to appear in the final STURP Summary , 1981*. (WHY NOT????!)
But an imprint from what? Real person, or an inanimate statue or bas relief? Probably real person, though this investigator has thus far only tried imprinting off hands and face (see below) . Reasonable results were obtained with a range of plastic figurines up to approx half adult human size.
* From STURP Summary: “It is clear that there has been a direct contact of the Shroud with a body, which explains certain features such as scourge marks, as well as the blood. However, while this type of contact might explain some of the features of the torso, it is totally incapable of explaining the image of the face with the high resolution that has been amply demonstrated by photography.”
But here’s s an imprint I took from my own face, reported in 2014, using a slurry of white flour, with no further colour development (photoediting software alone being used to accentuate the imprint).
3. Does flour imprinting produce the ultra-superficial image, confined to the primary cell wall, that is said to be the chief distinguishing feature of the Linen’s body image? Reminder: it’s the alleged ultra-superficial (approx 200nm thick) PCW that is cited as justifying resort to lasers etc, needed we’re told to model ‘supernatural’ proto-photography.
Answer: NO, as it happens! But it doesn’t need to. That notion of an ‘ultra-superficial’ image is almost certainly one based on a false visual impression, gained from viewing The Linen’s image fibres from the outside, assuming that any SCW-penetrating colour would be visible when viewed under the microscope with typically high light intensity – where linen fibres are seen to gleam brightly!).
Viewing cut ends of image fibres in my Model 10 tells an entirely different story. Body image chromophore IS inside the SCW cores of fibres.
The effect can be easily modelled using blue ink!
4. Let’s start by reviewing (critically!) the received wisdom regarding the nature of the yellow image chromophore (based I might say on the most cursory of chemical evidence, discussion of which we’ll postpone for now)? Answer: without a doubt, it’s chemically modified cellulose. How and when did it take root? Answer: see these 3 sentences from the STURP Summary (1981):
“The scientific concensus (sic) is that the image was produced by something which resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself. Such changes can be duplicated in the laboratory by certain chemical and physical processes. A similar type of change in linen can be obtained by sulfuric acid or heat.”
STURP’s supposed Chemistry Team Leader( no less}, namely Raymond N.Rogers, was later to strongly criticize the view that cellulose was chemically or even physically modified, based on his microscopy studies revealing intact crystallinity, which is bizarre given that the contradictory view in the STURP Summary came from supposdedly lower echelon team members John Heller and Alan Adler (neither of whom, in passing, accompanied the STURP team to Turin, having to wait ages for detached sticky tape fibre samples to be received at their US laboratories.). Yet the Summary claims there to have been a scientific consensus! Bizarre, truly bizarre. What’s more, it gets worse, not better with the passage of time. Adler and Heller resorted to concentrated sulphuric acid no less to model a yellowing of cellulose, claiming that sequential oxidation AND chemical dehydration were needed. (In fact oxidation generally requires the conc sulphuric to be hot as well!).
This was picked up later, much later, 2011 no less, by the ENEA group in Italy (Paolo Di Lazzaro et al) , who, taking the cellulose (and hemicellulose) involvement as read, along with the Adler/Heller claims for combined oxidation and dehydration, proceeded to set out two alternative chemical pathways that they claimed could generate the necessary colour-conferring conjugated double bonds. But there’s a problem, nay gross error, if one looks closely at what ENEA published!
Here’s the graphic showing the starting point, namely a single (repeating) glucose monomer unit within polymeric cellulose or hemicellulose.
Its shorthand chemical formula? Not given, but count up the 3 kinds of atom, and what do you see? Answer: – C6 H10 O6 –
OK thus far. (Well, not quite: the repeating unit in cellulose etc is C6 H10 O5: the structure given has counted both bridging oxygens to neighbouring sugars, when one should really count only one of the two, but let’s not quibble over minor detail)
Now take a look at two alternative proposed coloured products containing conjugated -C=C- or -C=O double bonds, formed we are told by combined oxidation and dehydration.
Here they are, labelled (c) and (e) as per original paper, shown one above the other:
Again, count up the atoms, and what does one see?
Answer: for (c) -C6 H4 O6 –
and for (e) – C6 H2 O6 –
Notice anything? The only difference is the number of hydrogen atoms – 10 initially, then finally 4 or just 2! Difference in oxygen? Answer: none whatsoever!
In short, there could have been NO dehydration step in the two pathways offered (and no need to deploy unrealistically ferocious conc. sulphuric acid into so-called chemical modelling and allied speculation). Had that been the case there would also have been a reduction in oxygen. But the only difference is in hydrogen, with either loss of 6 hydrogen atoms in pathway to (c) or 8 (gulp!) in pathway to (e). Fact: loss of hydrogen is oxidation alone! What’s more, the loss of those numerous atoms of hydrogen represents extreme levels of oxidation. What kind of image capture would produce such massive amounts of oxidation in something as chemically stable and indeed inert as cellulose? Is it any wonder that Adler and Heller resorted to brute-force concentrated sulphuric acid as modelling agent to sustain what is hugely OTT in chemical terms – both dehydration and profound oxidation! Desperation clearly set in, starting with cellulose as unpromising precursor of the Linen’s amazingly resilient body image!
Why did they go down that pathway, and why did ENEA uncritically pick up where they left off? Were there more realistic alternatives, crying out to be considered? Yes, indeed there was.
Lengthy and detailed postscript to the above chemistry now inserted, May 19, 2019, before moving on to what I consider an entirely different, and vastly more credible narrative, the one involving Rogers’ Maillard chemistry with chemically stable end-product melanoidins.
Postscript: think I’ve discovered where the chemical resaoning has gone awry. It came through (a) looking at structure of proposed intermediates and (b) through reading about the conditions needed to oxidize alcohols to carbonyl compounds, specifically primary alcohols (with -CH2OH) to aldehyde (-CHO) – without further oxidation to carboxylic acid (-COOH), and secondary alcohols to ketones.
Neither involves a chemical dehydration step as such, i.e. removal of the elements of water (two hydrogen atoms per oxygen), requiring removal of hydrogen only.
Here are the proposed intermediates, showing simply a truncated dash to represent where each hydrogen has been removed from 3 secondary alcohol functions per glucose monomer- that dash representing a free unpaired electron.
Thus far we are looking at 4 oxidation steps (removal of 4 hydrogen atoms, one from the primary alcohol, 3 from secondary). So where does chemical dehydration enter the picture? Answer: it doesn’t, at least not directly. The wiki article on alcohol oxidation supplies the vital clue. What’s needed is NOT a chemical dehydration step, but dehydrating conditions for the primary alcohol conversion to stop at the intermediate aldehyde stage. Why? Because the presence of any free water would allow the aldehyde to become first hydrated, then further oxidized to the end-stage carboxylic acid. (The dehydrating agent mops up free water preventing that from happening. ) Now we see why Adler and Heller found yellowing of cellulose with conc. sulphuric acid with their somewhat bizarre choice of ‘model’ system . First the conc. acid abstracted elements of water from the implicated (!) linen carbohydrates (cellulose, hemicellulose) , which incidentally made the acid become hot. The hot acid then acted additionally (at least theoretically) as an oxidizing agent, converting primary alcohol groups to aldehydes – and no further, and at the same time secondary alcohol groups to ketones via hydrogen abstraction under dehydrating CONDITIONS (no chemical dehydration step as such in the reaction pathway). (Note: while hot conc. H2SO4 does have oxidizing properties, it would not be a chemists’ first choice for oxidizing primary and secondary alcohols where more specialized reagents with catalytic properties are employed).
It’s one thing to deploy a dual purpose reagent such as concentrated sulphuric acid which supplied dehydrating conditions and, when becoming hot through its interaction with scavenged water, becomes an oxidizing agent too, capable of abstracting hydrogen creating double bonds and with it yellow coloration. But what one might ask is the relevance of a brute-force chemical reagent to image formation on the Linen, when, as STURP conceded in its Summary, the sulphuric acid (refs to it being concentrated omitted there, but made in Heller’s 1983 book) is essentially mimicking the effect of “heat” (omitting to say it had to be heat at scorching temperatures!).
In short, the use of conc. H2SO4 to model the body image was unhelpful and unilluminating to say the least. Some might say it was seriously misleading, attempting to make the extreme oxidation of cellulose (with the half-way stage aldehyde qualification as noted) seem like a bit of conventional textbook organic chemistry. Not so! As carbohydrate chemistry goes, it’s about as fanciful and contrived as things can get. Not for nothing have I previously described the Adler/Heller/STURP modelling via proposed oxidation and dehydration with reliance on conc. H2SO4 as an alleged credibility-supplying model to render chemically respectable as little more than “armchair chemistry” (almost, but not quite qualifying as Mickey Mouse chemistry).
Moving on finally to those melanoidins (back to feet-on-the-ground chemistry|!):
Yes, there was Rogers’ proposed Maillard reactions, not involving the intrinsic polysaccharides of linen per se, but of an acquired coating, though his published work came many years after the STURP Summary, without so much as a hint in the latter. Those Maillard reactions led finally to high molecular weight melanoidins, yellow or brown in colour, the same class of complex chemical entities responsible for the colour of baked oven products (bread, biscuits, pizza, cakes) made from flour-based doughs. Which brings us to my own final Model 10, one in which white flour was deployed as imprinting agent, followed by gentle closely monitored roasting of the imprinted linen, probably over a flame-free open fire , e.g. glowing charcoal embers, to generate the final image chromophore, stopping the heating when it had acquired the desired degree of coloration to be claimed to be an aged body imprint, deposited initially in the form of copious trauma-induced bodily secretions, notable sweat (with more than a nod in the direction of the fabled Veil of Veronica).
I say it’s long overdue for that “cellulose” narrative invoking improbable conjoint oxidation and chemical dehydration was dropped from the Linen literature. In its place should be amino-sugar reactions involving – probably – heated white flour, taking a cue from Raymond Rogers (while rejecting his detailed mechanism involving credulity-straining “starch impurity coating” and putrefaction-generated amines). Let’s opt instead for a 14th century origin, one in which an everyday kitchen commodity (white flour) supplied the wherewithal for an imaginative albeit low-tech reconstruction of Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, deployed for transport, not intended for final burial as so many like to assume (handily opening the door to resurrectional image capture on the Third Day!).
What’s now abundantly clear is that Sindonology is for the most part (>95%) of the Type 1 variety, which takes the assumption of 1st century Palestine authenticity as its starting point. It then attempts to foist its various pro-authenticity scenarios onto receptive recipients, invariably cast in scientific language – or as this retired science bod would say, pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo.
I protested some 7 years ago at this abuse of the scientific method, its constantly invoking new pro-authentcity hypotheses which never get subject to critical testing.
My lone voice in the wilderness has gone largely unheeded (though thanks to Dan Porter and his original/resurrected shroudstory site for an occasional window for ‘telling it the way it is’.
It’s now time to say goodbye to Sindonology. Why bother talking to a brick wall for one second longer?
Goodbye Sindonology (sadly both Type 1 (!) and even science-focused Type 2 variety).
The time has come to seek more fertile pastures for expressing one’s (dare I say) new and original science-based thinking.
I shall cease responding now to Comments, whether here or posted to Dan Porter’s site. Sorry to those who may miss this message, expecting a reply.
Goodbye. Correction: Final goodbye…
May 18, 2019
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Monthly Archives: March 2013
Late addition (July 2019) Please forgive this postscript, correction, “prescript”, correction, intrusion, added many years later – based on some 350 and more postings here and elsewhere. That’s including some 7 years of my hands-on investigation into image-forming techniques, … Continue reading