One man’s jaundiced view of the aftermath of the ’88 radiocarbon dating.


Postscript (correction: ‘prescript‘) added July 2019:

You have arrived at a 2014 posting. That was the year in which this investigator finally abandoned the notion of the body image being made by direct scorch off a heated metal template (despite many attractions, like negative image, 3D response etc. But hear later: orchestral DA DA!  Yup, still there with the revised technology! DA DA! ).

In its place came two stage image production.

Stage 1: sprinkle white wheaten flour or suchlike vertically onto human subject from head to foot, front and rear  (ideally with initial smear of oil to act as weak adhesive). Shake off excess flour, then cover the lightly coated subject with wet linen. Press down VERTICALLY and firmly (thus avoiding sides of subject). Then (and here’s the key step):

Stage 2: suspend the linen horizontally over glowing charcoal embers and roast gently until the desired degree of coloration, thus ‘developing’ the flour imprint, so as to simulate a sweat-generated body image that has become yellowed with centuries of ageing.

The novel two-stage “flour-imprinting’ technology was unveiled initially on my generalist “sciencebuzz” site. (Warning: one has to search assiduously to find it, and it still uses a metal template, albeit unheated,  as distinct from human anatomy):


sbuzz oct 24, 14 flour 1


So it’s still thermal development of sorts, but with a key difference. One can take imprints off human anatomy (dead or alive!).

A final wash of the roasted flour imprint with soap and water yields a straw-coloured nebulous image, i.e. with fuzzy, poorly defined edges. It’s still a negative (tone-reversed) image that responds to 3D-rendering software, notably the splendid freely-downloadable ImageJ.  (Ring any bells? Better still, orchestral accompaniment – see , correction HEAR earlier – DA DA!))

This 2014 “prescript” replaces the one used for my earlier 2012/2013 postings, deploying abandoned ‘direct scorch’ technology.

Thank you for your patience and forbearance. Here’s where the original posting started:

Original posting starts here:




sabotage-your-dietThe blame for this entire imbroglio rests fair and square with the Shroud’s custodians. One does NOT specify a particular day and hour for sample collection, and then say “OK, that’s it, lads and lasses, off you go off with your token specimen from the corner, the one we keep for  the Doubting Thomases,  and never darken our doorstep again”.

In any case, have we not read that the textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg was allowed back with a microscope, and in fact continued to assert there was no detectable signs of allegedly “invisible reweaving ” in the radiocarbon corner. (Ah yes, “invisible” reweaving. They would say that, wouldn’t they, those who shamelessly attempt to con the gullible, to keep their particular show on the road despite the evidence?).

Why only that one specialist? Why do the Shroud’s custodians allow the dark insinuations of collusion and result-fixing to  be made with monotonous regularity on The Other Site. There we have the recriminations of the surviving ex-monkish partner of  previous man-and-wife pair of religious zealots (one sadly no longer with us)  gifted amateurs maybe,  but with no real scientific credentials,  with all-too-obvious pro-authenticity leanings  protesting the rejection by “Radiocarbon”  of their attempts to find flaws in the radiocarbon dating,.  That rested partly on (wait for it) statistical trend analysis across the diagonal of a 7cmx 1cm strip of linen, despite it having been subdivided for three different labs to work on using their non-identical clean up procedures.  Something clearly went amiss in their statistical training methinks, like the need for randomised sampling before even considering chi-squared  or other statistical tests of the presence or absence of systematic bias in the data.  Meanwhile the Shroud’s custodians  fail to take the sensible initiative, i.e. to propose a return visit  to address unfinished business re  the dubious  and some might say agenda-serving claim for invisible reweaving.

I’m starting to think some quite uncharitable thoughts – that certain individuals secretly relish the sight of science and scientists being harried, libelled and humiliated when the real “crime”  was the foisting on the three labs of  last-minute departures from the initially agreed protocol.  When you see the terms  “world view”,  “agnostic”, “atheist” etc being bandied around, you can be pretty certain as to the real agenda of those making  sustained vitriolic attacks on the integrity of the scientists.

Let  New York lawyer John Klotz bang on as much as he likes about what radiocarbon scientists have written in their memoirs, and try to make that out as some kind of de facto admission of  guilt.  I have not read their books (as yet) but at least Sox and Gove were candid as to their innermost thoughts re the STURP team etc (which need have no bearing on the quality of anyone’s science, that being judged on the quality of the data and their interpretation). What a pity some of those shadowy occasionally furtive ‘special scientific advisers’  exercising real power  at the 11th hour,  whose names did NOT appear on the 1989 Nature paper did not get round to writing their memoirs too, and tell us what was going through their minds, allowing a shrewd assessment as to how it may have  influenced their subsequent actions (our having nothing else by way of Shroud-related research with which to judge them). Ah yes, what was it Kipling said about power without responsibility? Or the one about “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

About Colin Berry

Retired science bod, previous research interests: phototherapy of neonatal jaundice, membrane influences on microsomal UDP-glucuronyltransferase, defective bilirubin and xenobiotic conjugation and hepatic excretion, dietary fibre and resistant starch.
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