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radiocarbon dating inaccurate-30

By the time of its next exhibition in 1931, the Shroud had attracted a considerable following among scholars; it was inspected at that time by experts in various fields, and a vastly superior set of photographs was taken (see figs. The scientific inquiry into this object, whether medieval fraud or "the holiest icon upon the holiest relic" (Stacpoole 1978), had begun, culminating by 1980 in what must be the most intensive and varied scrutiny by scientific means of any archaeological or art object in history.

In a statement which may not be as hyperbolic as it seems, Walsh (1963:8) observed: "The Shroud of Turin is either the most awesome and instructive relic of Jesus Christ in existence...

From its first recorded exhibition in France in 1357, this cloth has been the object of mass veneration, on the one hand, and scorn from a number of learned clerics and freethinkers, on the other.

Appearing as it did in an age of unparalleled relic-mongering and forgery and, if genuine, lacking documentation of its whereabouts for 1,300 years, the Shroud would certainly have long ago been consigned to the ranks of spurious relics (along with several other shrouds with similar claims) were it not for the extraordinary image it bears.

On this point all medical opinion since the time of Delage has been unanimous (notably Hynek 1936; Vignon 1939; Moedder 1949; Caselli 1950; La Cava 1953; Sava 1957; Judica-Cordiglia 1961; Barbet 1963 ; Bucklin 1970; Willis, in Wilson 1978; Cameron 1978; Zugibe, in Murphy 1981). It is clear that the cloth was in contact with the body for at least a few hours, but not more than two to three days, assuming that decomposition was progressing at the normal rate.

This line of evidence is of great importance in the question of authenticity and is briefly reviewed below. Both frontal and dorsal images have the marks of many small drops of a postmortem serous fluid exuded from the pores.

or it is one of the most ingenious, most unbelievably clever, products of the human mind and hand on record.

It is one or the other; there is no middle ground." However, as in almost every complex issue, there is indeed a middle ground (albeit rather weak) in this case, but it has not to my knowledge been investigated in other writings on the Shroud.

It has frozen an attitude of death while hanging by the arms; the rib cage is abnormally expanded, the large pectoral muscles are in an attitude of extreme inspiration (enlarged and drawn up toward the collarbone and arms), the lower abdomen is distended, and the epigastric hollow is drawn in sharply.