A revised flow-chart model for why the Turin Shroud was first documented in 14th century France.


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:




Note the extra box on the right, and red links to the flow chart described previously. In other words, this is a refinement of an existing model proposed just two days ago.

New flow chart  (Mark 2) incorporating a link to St.Lawrence of Rome, and his celebrated martyrdom by 'slow-roasting over a horizontal grid iron,  AD 258, as distinct from conventional  burning at the stake in an upright position.

Click on  diagram to ENLARGE. New flow chart (Mark 2) incorporating a link to St.Lawrence of Rome, and his celebrated martyrdom by ‘slow-roasting’ over a horizontal grid iron, AD 258, as distinct from conventional burning at the stake in an upright position. Might this explain peculiarities in the Lirey badge representation of the Turin Shroud (see posts that immediately precede this one)?

Does my new ‘St.Lawrence connection’ push that of the Templars out the picture?  Nope, I think not.

The gridiron on which St.Lawrence was roasted was small and simple, according to the artistic record.   Compare that with the “trellis grid” on the reverse side of the Lirey badge.  That looks like one constructed  to accommodate many  condemned to death  ‘heretics’  at a time, as  was the case with the  purge and mass executions of the Templars in the early 14 th century in France.

The martyrdom  of Lawrence provided the model for the appropriate punishment for personally offending the highest in the land – a Roman Emperor, no less  (Valerian, ruled 253-259).  The punishment meted out to the Templars, especially its leaders (de Molay and de Charney) was derivative and inspired by precisely the same alleged crime – namely offending a head of state – Philip the Fair of France.

Who says history never repeats itself?

Postscript (Wednesday):

Hmmm. How interesting...

Hmmm. How interesting…


Second PS:   This comment fom Thibault Heimburger and my quick reply appeared last night Across the Way:

  • Thibault HEIMBURGER
    February 11, 2014 at 5:46 pm | #62

    CB does not realize that he is currently working on the basis of STURP’s work.
    Instead of being respectful towards this work he always try to denigrate it.

    When STURP was funded, we did know almost nothing about the nature of the TS image and blood stains.

    CB: ” STURP’s chief fault, as I’ve said before, was in asking the wrong question. When you have an unusual negative image, with some of the properties of a modern photograph, why go spending so long looking for iron or other paint pigments?”

    The wrong question? Really?
    Does CB know that it was THE question at the time (and later: see Mc Crone), i.e is it a paint, a dye or something else ?

    CB: “Why was there not greater attention given to the chemical alteration of linen fibres, to the precise depth of penetration, to the mechanical properties of image v non-image fibres, to identifying the chemical nature of the diimide reduction products, e.g. by pyrolysis mass spectrometry. Why was there no attempt to isolate and positively identify “bilirubin” or “protoporphyrin IX”.

    Because, Adler, Heller and Rogers had only some samples from the surface of the TS.

    Incidentally, regarding Protoporphyrin IX, Adler wrote: ” We employed the vapor method as we had hoped to take a microspectrum of the converted material to establish that it was specifically protoporphyrin IX. Unfortunately, the sticky tape was specifically etched by the formic acid treatment and became optically intractable.. thus we were unable to provide the absolute final confirmation of the identity of the blood area material”.(“Blood on the Shroud of Turin”, Heller and Adler, Applied Optics, 19 (16, 1980))

    STURP performed the best possible work at the time with the data they had.
    CB’s criticism of STURP is a perfect example of anachronism.


    • February 11, 2014 at 6:14 pm | #63

      Thibault: in case you were not aware, I have severed my connection with this site, so shall respond on my own site in due course (not immediately).

      My interest right now is with the martyred St.Lawrence of Rome, prompted almost two years ago by a comment here from Max Patrick Hamon, for the clue his manner of execution provides to an understanding of the medieval graphics on the Lirey pilgrim’s badge and indeed to the Shroud of Lirey (TS Mark 1).

      That is all I wish to say here.


      Afterthought: What a meal that STURP, Walter McCrone in particular, made of the image studies, with that eminent microscopist suffering an objectivity failure in his attempts to explain it away as “iron oxide”.

      Why didn’t the chemists on the team, Rogers and Adler especially, simply point out that the image colour was bleached with diimide (HN=NH)?

      Iron oxide and other inorganic pigments do not bleach. It is organic molecules with conjugated double bonds etc conferring colour that are bleachable by reducing agents like diimide. In the absence of any obvious encrustation, the reasonable conclusion that the image is pyrolysed linen carbohydrates should have been taken as a working hypothesis, and researched further, instead of leaving that tentative conclusion  in the final report with no follow up. Is it any wonder that STURP described the TS as an unsolved mystery?  Of course it was (or is)  – when one wastes time pursuing dud hypotheses, and failing to follow up on the only realistic one.

      I repeat: STURP lost its way. As a previous boss of mine was wont to intone mockingly when seeing that failing in others: “Having lost sight of our objectives, we redoubled our efforts”.


      Third PS: From today’s Telegraph (fast descending to tabloid-level journalism):

      Turin Shroud ‘created by 2000-year-old earthquake’ (from time of Jesus).

      Methinks there’s more science in the Matt cartoon.

      DT, Feb 12, 2014

      DT, Feb 12, 2014

      Beware all you TS  investigators south of the Dolomites (Luigi Garlaschelli excepted): the term “Shroud scientist” is fast becoming an oxymoron.


      Fourth PS:  Have just discovered this through searching image files – St.Lawrence with his gridiron.



      But there’s something very special about this grid iron, something that matches the lattice design on the reverse side of the Lirey badge. Those following this blog will know that I consider  the reverse side of the badge to offer an important spy clue as to the identity of the (n0n-Christ like) man on the front, reposed on what quite clearly is the herringbone-weave “Turin” Shroud (which might be better called the Lirey Shroud in the present context). See my most recent postings on the Lirey badge.


      The Independent’s coverage of the earthquake/neutrons tosh

      Fifth postscript: Have just posted this comment to the above  Independent  article under my (newish) newsjunkie ID (the paper no longer accepting our Disqus IDs)

      “In 1898, a lawyer named Secondo Pia took the first known photograph of the cloth. His negative revealed new details, including striking facial features that were hidden to the naked eye.”
      Not really. He was simply the first to show that the Shroud image was a negative, and could be “miraculously” transformed to a photograph-like positive by reversing light and dark. I say miraculously, because some see it in those terms, imagining the image to be a kind of proto-photography unknown to science. In fact you can simply sketch the “negative” as-is Shroud image with charcoal, and achieve the same striking reversal with freely-downloadable software, as I have done, with a hint of that serene ghostly quality.
      For the record, I believe the Shroud image to be a ‘thermograph’, aka contact heat scorch, produced by imprinting off a life-sized metal template, possibly a crucifix. There’s a simple way of getting faint fuzzy imprints which I’ll describe if anyone’s interested.


       I can well believe it….the image isn’t remotely as one would expect had it been draped over a 3D object.
       Yes and no. If you lay the linen over a heated 3D object, e.g. bronze effigy, then put a damp overlay on top and pat gently, you can imprint the surface relief without getting the kind of distortion that would occur if you went ‘too far round the sides’. That is precisely what we see with the Shroud image – an absence of lateral imaging or of wrap- around distortion. So it could have been fabricated by medieval artisans, provided they were careful. Some, notably the Italian professor Luigi Garlaschelli, believe that a separate template was used for the head – a bas relief. I’m inclined to agree. What’s needed are more model studies. Mine have been restricted to a small heated brass crucifix, but the results were promising (I use them as a banner on my blog!).

       It’s emphatically NOT the function of science to go suggesting what might have happened to produce a phenomenon, invoking this or that improbable conjunction of events that frankly strains credulity.What we see here is in fact pseudo-science by the bucket-full. The Turin Shroud continues to generate pseudo-science on an industrial scale, and while one hesitates to say it, most is coming right now from the leg of Europe south of the Dolomites. It’s time that folk there concentrated on the day job, and ceased imposing their fantasies on the pretence it’s cutting-edge science. It’s not. It’s garbage.If the truth be told, they try to trade in the currency of science, while devaluing it at every step in a cavalier, publicity-seeking fashion.When will our media start seeking out the real painstaking science that is being done on the Shroud to explain its peculiar image properties? I’d be only too happy to provide some pointers.CBhttps://shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com/

      Budgie Mitchell
      Budgie Mitchell
      OK, OK – playing devil’s advocate here. How did they get the image of the face onto the cloth? Even if it is just 600 years old, without googling tell me how you’d do it.
      Matthew Gould
      Matthew Gould
      You are asking the weak-minded to actually provide facts? No way.

       Don’t fall for all the agenda-driven mystique and obscurantism. It’s relatively easy to imprint off a heated metal template (bronze effigy, bas relief etc) onto linen(see link below). The result is a superficial image that is somewhat fuzzy, negative, non-directional, 3D-enhancible etc etc. (You know, all the properties which the mystique-mongerers claim to defy 21st century science).Like heck it does. Some of us call it a heat scorch (acquired by close contact with a hot surface)CBhttps://shroudofturinwithoutallthehype.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/more-thoughts-on-why-lotto-is-the-way-to-go/

       Almost invisible words were found on the Shroud of Turin including “(I)esou(s) Nnazarennos”, translated from the Greek as “(J)esu(s) Nazarene”. The phrase could not be of medieval origin because it did not refer to Jesus as Christ, according to researcher Dr Barbara Frale: “No Christian would have referred to Jesus as a Nazarene without mentioning His divinity, for fear of being branded a heretic.” A Latin fragment “iber” may refer to Emperor Tiberius, who reigned at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. In her book The Shroud of Jesus Nazarene, Frale reconstructs from the lettering on the shroud what she believes Jesus’ death certificate said: “Jesus Nazarene. Found (guilty of inciting the people to revolt). Put to death in the year 16 of Tiberius. Taken down at the ninth hour.”
      After seeing, experts agreed that the writing style was typical of the Middle East in the first century.

      For “almost invisible”, read “eye of faith”.
      Faint, scarcely discernible-against-background images imprinted onto coarse-weave linen, then photographed and image-processed, can read almost anything you want, providing you have hours of otherwise unoccupied time to fill, thinking what they might say, or what you might have liked them to say (especially when a supposed mix of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic etc. Take your pick to get the right take-away headline-grabbing message.

      Get real Babs (and others).

      6th postscript

      This chart from WordPress shows today’s bumper number of hits/visits , some 3 or 4 times the typical daily average.



      Why is that? It’s on account of my placing comments on the Independent’s coverage of the “earthquake/neutron’ hypothesis. Doesn’t this just show the madness of our media. They take a tongue-in-cheek press release from  some publicity-seeking fantasists who have a quaint idea they are scientists. Theygrab headlines all over the world, filling pages of Google entries with repetitive versions, some almost word-identical from each and every media outlet.  One then watches one’s ranking fall. One then posts a comment (with a link to one’s site) and hey presto one gets scores of one-off visits (no comments), one’s  Google ranking creeps back, and hey presto the status quo is restored.

      Whe are our media going to come of age, and start acting like grown-ups, exercising critical judgement instead of printing just any old codswallop? When are our media types going to run copy past someone scientifically-trained at the end of a phone or email? Now I’m the one who is fantasising. Humanities-trained graduates in newsrooms, volunteering to seek advice from those weirdo scientists?  Humanities graduates are perfectly capable of grasping the gist of scientific copy, dontcha know? And even if  they get it wrong, they know that 99 times out of 100, the scientifically and technically aware will not bother to write in, correcting the errors, knowing that to be a complete waste of time and effort. This septic isle…,

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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3 Responses to A revised flow-chart model for why the Turin Shroud was first documented in 14th century France.

  1. Hugh Farey says:

    This is getting quite exciting! Also see http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/meet-the-artist-who-helped-launch-the-renaissance-in-florence/ for some scourge marks as well. Where is your Lawrence from, and more importantly when? I can’t find it elsewhere.

    • colinsberry says:

      PS. I see that image of the naked saint with those “scourge marks” is right in the middle of the period of interest,see caption below, i.e. between the Templar roastings and the Lirey badge. Yet we’re constantly told that the TS image couldn’t possibly be of medieval artistic provenance on account of the nudity. Strange that there hasn’t been mention of the huge Lawrence-related canon of art Across The Way, given that so many of its contributors, yourself included, are keen students of that sort of thing.

      Caption: “The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence from the Laudario of Sant’Agnese, about 1340, Pacino di Bonaguida. Tempera and gold leaf on parchment, 7 1/2 x 8 3/16 in.”

      Scourge marks? I have not come across any reference to a preliminary scourging, have you? Might not those marks represent where those nasty sharp-looking pitchfork or trident ends were used to press the victim down, or generally restrained? He’s shown unrestrained in that image. Others show the feet secured to the grid with what appears to be cord or similar (even if a fire-proof chain would seem more appropriate).

  2. colinsberry says:

    Hello again Hugh (congrats btw on your BSTS appointment)

    Enter (St.Lawrence martyrdom ) into Google, click on Images, and that picture of the naked TS-like depiction of St.Lawrence is in the third row of images. So far I’ve been unable to find who painted it, and when, though it looks quite early (pre-16th century?).

    Any thoughts about the reverse side of the Lirey badge? Why show that peculiar trellis-like pattern strung between posts if not intended to represent a horizontal grill, like say a grill for roasting Templars en masse?

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