Will Judean Desert find shed light on Shroud of Turin?On a related note, the Chicago Tribune reports that the Shroud of Turin is going to be subjected to new tests at Oxford University:
By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
Can a 6,000-year-old shroud uncovered in the Judean Desert in 1993 help illuminate the centuries-old debate over the Shroud of Turin?
That is the question posed by Olga Negnevitsky, a conservator at the Israel Museum who was involved in the conservation of the lesser-known shroud for the Antiquities Authority after it was discovered inside a small cave near Jericho.
The idea to use the older shroud to learn more about the famous one came to Negnevitsky this week after she listened to an address on the Shroud of Turin at the International Art Conference in Jerusalem on the conservation of cultural and environmental heritage.
Instead of finding biblical scrolls, the archeologists stumbled on the 6,000-year-old tomb of a nobleman whose body was wrapped in an elaborate linen shroud.
The skeleton was accompanied by a long flint blade, wooden bowls, sandals of thick leather, and bows.
The shroud, like the Shroud of Turin, had signs of blood on it, likely from a wound suffered by the bandaged warrior, Negnevitsky said.
Now, John Jackson, a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs physics lecturer has done something his colleagues consider nearly miraculous.Watch this space.
Jackson, who is a leading researcher on the 14-foot-long linen sheet, has persuaded the Oxford laboratory that dated the shroud to the 13th or 14th Century to revisit the question of its age.
Professor Christopher Ramsey, head of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, has agreed to test Jackson's hypothesis that contamination by carbon monoxide could throw off radiocarbon dating by more than a millennium.
It is possible, Jackson said, that even minimal contamination of the shroud by environmental carbon monoxide could have skewed the dating by 1,300 years — making it not medieval but contemporaneous with Jesus's life.
Jackson, who must prove a viable pathway for that contamination, is working with Oxford to test samples of linen under the various conditions the shroud has endured, such as outdoor exhibitions and exposure to extreme heat during a 1532 fire.
"Science still has much to tell us about the shroud," said Jackson, a devout Catholic. "If we are dealing with the burial cloth of Christ, it is the witness to the birth of Christianity. But my faith doesn't depend on that outcome."