TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The markings on the Shroud of Turin can be duplicated by a process that

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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 Florida scientists. 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," Strange said. 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 open."


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