Mysteries swirl around the Shroud of Turin. How old is it? Where did it come from? What produced the haunting image that appears on the linen’s surface, that faint yellowish image many believe is of the wounded and bloodstained Jesus as he came from the cross? Although the identity of “the man of the shroud” may never be known with certainty, science may now have the tools to determine the shroud’s age, its place of origin, and even whether or not the famed image could have been produced by a crucifixion victim whose agonies had just ended.
Recently, an array of scientific techniques has been applied to linen fibers from the shroud in an attempt to solve its mysteries. In this issue, two experts who have conducted some of these tests present a new theory: Moist limestone particles from a Jerusalem tomb, adhering to the shroud and heated by the high temperature of a traumatized body, modified and discolored the cloth. Archaeologist Eugenia L. Nitowski and crystallographer Joseph A. Kohlbeck team up to present their theory in “New Evidence May Explain Image on Shroud of Turin.”