TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The markings on the Shroud of Turin can be duplicated by a process that
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The markings on the Shroud of Turin can be
duplicated by a process that may verify that the cloth was used in
a burial at the time of Jesus Christ, say University of South
The shroud, which bears the image of a man some believe to be
Jesus Christ, is preserved in a chapel in Turin, Italy.
Previous studies of the burial cloth didn't consider a
phenomenon in corpses called post-mortem fever, said James Strange,
an archaeologist at the university.
"What we found out from morticians and pathologists was that
fever actually advances for an hour or two after death instead of
just immediately dropping off," he said.
In an April experiment coordinated by Dr. Eugenia Nitowski of
the Carmelite Monastery in Salt Lake City, Strange and other
scientists took a medical mannequin to a first-century tomb on the
grounds of a monastery in Jerusalem.
"We simply added enough hot water so that (the mannequin's)
temperature at the time of burial was 115 degrees. In duplication
of a first-century burial we wrapped the mannequin in cloth and
added myrrh and aloes, which were commonly used at that time,"
The heat of the post-mortem fever, the acid sweat produced by
the myrrh and aloe and the alkaline environment of the tomb
combined to "mercerize" the cloth where the mannequin touched it,
leaving a shiny image, Strange said.
"Exactly where the body touched the cloth it became slightly
dehydrated and we got an image," he said.
Many people believe that the image formed on the Shroud of Turin
was formed by a burst of energy at Christ's resurrection.
Scientists investigating the cloth in 1978 concluded only that it
could have been formed by "some form of energy."
Strange's next step in determining whether the Shroud of Turin
could have been used in Jesus' burial will be to date it by
comparing it with a 2,000-year-old piece of cloth he found in the
Galilee region in northern Israel during a dig last summer.
"We know that our cloth is 2,000 years old from its
archaeological context -- the age of pottery and other artifacts
surrounding it," he said.
Asked whether results of the Jerusalem experiment have led him
to believe the shroud is authentic, Strange replied, "No. The
research only proves that it is possible. It just leaves the door
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