Shroud of turin carbon 14 dating

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Last year scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy dated it to between 300BC and AD400 – still hundreds of years after Christ, who is believed to have died between 30-36AD.

Other scientists have previously suggested that neutron radiation may have been responsible for the ghostly image of a crucified man with his arms crossed.

As the starting point, assume that the "true" age of the Shroud is 2000 years, and further accept that the measured radiocarbon age (about 600 years) is a good estimate of the radiocarbon that was present in the samples measured. Suppose that the bioplastic layer began at the time the cloth was made (2000 years ago) and has been growing uniformly ever since.

Then the carbon in the layer will have an average radiocarbon age of about 1000 years. Suppose that the Shroud remained growth-free right up to around the middle of the 20th century, when some process, or contamination, started the layer growing.

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But in order to shift a radiocarbon age from 2000 years to 600 years, about 20% of the carbon actually measured must come from the bioplastic layer.

Mark Antonacci, a leading expert on the Shroud and president of the Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation, is currently petitioning Pope Francis to allow molecular analysis of the cloth using the latest technology.

It is hoped that such an investigation will be able to confirm or rule out the radiation theory.

Hence the growth must incorporate carbon from an external source, and to produce an age shift like that postulated, that source must be the atmosphere, whether by photosynthesis or some other mechanism.

Accepting that, I can postulate three scenarios that illustrate the problems I have with the theory.

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