An American researcher has convinced Oxford University scientists to reconsider a test that had cast doubts on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.
After carbon-14 testing on a fragment from the Shroud, an Oxford team announced in 1989 that the cloth was only about 600- 7000 years old. That result undermined claims that the cloth was used for Christ’s burial. The carbon dating also clashed with other studies that have tended to confirm beliefs that the Shroud dates back to the region of Palestine and the time of Christ.
Now John Jackson, a University of Colorado physicist who has become a leading authority on the Shroud, has persuaded the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit to undertake new studies, to determine whether the 1989 testing was flawed. Jackson theorizes that the fragment of the Shroud used in the earlier tests had been contaminated by smoke from a fire that damaged a portion of the Shroud. Carbon monoxide from smoke could easily produce a false result in carbon-14 dating, he reasons.
Christopher Ramsey, the head of the Oxford study group, said that he had agreed to reconsider the results of the earlier test because he recognized the need to reconcile the dating of the Shroud with other evidence suggesting that the cloth is much older than 600- 700 years.