compiled by Dee Finney

Photograph by G. Enrie, 1933; © 1935, 1963 by the Holy Shroud Guild.

The Face of the Man in the Shroud
by Jack Kilmon
based on genuine Shroud Photo ©Barrie M. Schworz, 1978.

Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. Luke 23:50-53. See also Matthew 27:57-60; Mark 15:42-46; and John 19:38-42.

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.

But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you." So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." Matthew 28:1-10. See also Luke 24:1-12; Mark 16:1-8; and John 20:1-18.

The Shroud of Turin has long been a controversial object.  I've read several books on the topic and several websites, and have never been convinced that the Shroud of Turin is that of Jesus.  The more scientists study the Shroud, the more evidence is produced that it cannot be from Jesus time. 

The church history has not helped this case. There are at lease 12 head cloths in various churches, enumerable cups which are said to be the Holy Grail. There are no less than 5 Arks of the Covenant - some of which are said to be the 'real deal' and others which are said to be the 'real deal' but they are not allowed to be seen. There are a couple more still hidden and not seen by anyone except the 'keepers'. Another one is said to be in a cave, and none of these are  being allowed to be seen, by authority figures of the church. 

All this just keeps people interested and in a lot of cases, hooked in belief because they 'want' to believe - not that there is any proof. 

Like 'the doubting Thomas' in the Bible, 

John 20:19-29

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." (RSV)

That may have been fine for those who knew Jesus personally, but in this day in age when anything everything can be faked and IS faked, we cannot just accept everything that comes along and naively say, "Oh yeah! I believe."  These days, knowing all the fakery and tricks that people pull, including the church, it takes 'proof' especially when there is money involved and people's lives hang in the balance on their belief systems.  

Updated 1-27-05: 

A new study reignites the argument that the Shroud of Turin, from which this impression was taken, is the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth.

A 1988 carbon-dating study determined that a piece of the shroud was created between A.D. 1260 and 1390. Ever since, the conventional wisdom has been that the shroud, which resides in Turin, Italy, was a medieval fake.

But new tests show that the piece that was tested is of a different material from the rest of the shroud, says chemist Raymond Rogers—it was a patch added in medieval times. Published in the journal Thermochimica Acta, the findings greatly increase the possibility that the shroud may be as old as Christianity itself.


From:   (See 3D relief drawings here)

Of all religious relics, the reputed burial cloth of Christ held since 1578 in Turin has generated the greatest controversy. Centuries before science cast the issue in a totally new perspective, disputes over the authenticity of the Shroud involved eminent prelates and provoked a minor ecclesiastical power struggle. From its first recorded exhibition in France in 1351, 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.

The shroud mysteriously appeared in Edessa, in 544. Various legends state that the shroud was hidden somewhere inside the walls of Jerusalem after the crucifixion until it was found in 544. In 1978, Ian Wilson, convincingly postulated its history from 544, when it mysteriously appeared in Edessa, to the year 1204, when it suddenly disappeared from Constantinople. Wilson’s "Mandylion theory" and also suggested that, shortly after the Crucifixion, an otherwise-unknown disciple named Thaddeus had carried Christ’s image-bearing burial shroud to Edessa where it was soon 'portraitized' and concealed in the city walls for almost five centuries. 

This was based upon the so-called Abgar legend, a fourth-century Syrian tale significantly permutated by tenth-century Byzantines in order to bestow an Apostolic history upon the Mandylion cloth that had been brought from Edessa to Constantinople in 944.  The Abgar legend has been called "one of the most successful pious frauds of antiquity" by J. B. Segal, whom Wilson rightly regards the best modern authority on Edessa, and its earliest Syrian versions do not relate the existence of any miraculous image of Jesus.

Segal concluded that Christianity did not arrive in Edessa until late in the second century and Wilson himself has recently acknowledged that the factual underpinnings of the Abgar legend may well be attributable to that latter era.

Ordained chief of the Apostles by Jesus himself,  Peter was undoubtedly entrusted with the most sacred possessions of the newly forming Church. Peter was the first to enter the empty tomb where the Shroud was discovered and he seems to be identified as a sindonic custodian in two of the earliest reports concerning Christ’s burial cloth. Although the lost second-century Gospel of the Hebrews related that Jesus gave his Shroud to "the servant of the priest", scholars have suggested that, before falling victim to a copyist’s error, this text had actually stated that the Shroud was given to Peter.

NOTE: Sindonic means that the cloth is made of a type of linen that usually shrouds were made of.

In the fourth century, St. Nino, who had visited Jerusalem, recounted that the Shroud had been preserved by Pilate’s wife, given to St. Luke, and hidden until it was found and kept by Peter38. Not only did Peter assuredly live in Antioch, argue there with Paul over the circumcision of Gentiles, and use the city as the base for his missionary activities between 47 and 54, but also, according to ancient tradition, he established the Church of Antioch and served as its first bishop0.

To the East, the Abgar legend was suddenly modified by the Doctrine of Addai to include, for the very first time, mention of a non-miraculous and painted portrait of Jesus.  Since the sindonic image itself has always been described as not being made by human hands95 or as a moist secretion of sweat,  it would appear that an artistic copy of the Shroud face, perhaps painted in Antioch, was taken to Edessa by the close of the fourth century. 

To the West, there suddenly appeared, during the Theodosian era (370-410), distinctly Shroud-like depictions of Christ with a long, narrow, and majestic face, a moustache and medium-length beard, and long hair falling upon his shoulders, sometimes parted in the center. A sarcophagus located at the University of Perugia, dated to about 350-360, shows Jesus with a lengthened face and long unparted hair and, beginning in approximately 370, the classic Shroud-like Christ began to be depicted in sarcophagi now to be found in Rome, Arles, Milan, and the Vatican.

In 544, a holy icon "not made by human hands" was present in Edessa during its siege by King Chosroes.137 Ernst Von Dobschutz concluded that this date indicates, more or less, the arrival of the icon in the city138 and his opinion finds support in the fact that, prior thereto, no icon is mentioned in Edessan literature,  particularly the Edessan Chronicle, an orthodox Syriac text composed between 541 and 544.

When Chosroes constructed a huge timber tower from which missiles could be fired down upon the city,  the Edessans devised a plan to dig a tunnel and to set fire to the siegeworks from belowground. The scheme having failed,  Edessa remained encircled by an enemy that, only four years before, had destroyed Antioch, and the Monophysite refugees were forced to produce the Shroud and allow it to be thrown "into the breach"  in the hope that it might, somehow, miraculously save them and the city.

Evagrius reports that, with the aid of the icon, the tunnel wood immediately caught fire and ignited the Persian siegeworks aboveground.  Soon thereafter, the Persians abandoned their siege  and the icon became recognized as a holy relic and mighty palladium . The author has previously proposed that, in the course of these events, the Shroud incurred the fire damage generally referred to as its "poker holes" and that, in order to conceal this damage, the Edessan church hierarchy doubled the cloth in four to create the portrait known as the holy Image of Edessa.

A mere seventy years after Crusaders had discovered the Holy Lance in Antioch, Chretien de Troyes wrote the first of Western Europe’s Grail romances  and coupled the mysterious Grail with a bleeding white lance.  Soon thereafter, Robert de Boron mentioned an image of Christ on a shroud, identified the chalice as the Grail, and related that Joseph of Arimathea, the Shroud’s first owner, had died in Syria,  in stark contrast to later tales which, integrated with the Arthurian legend,  placed him in Britain.


Blending the central core of Ian Wilson’s Mandylion theory 165 with the trilogy of proposals that the author has advanced in papers presented to the Nice International Scientific Symposium in 1997, the Turin Third International Congress in 1998, and the Richmond International Conference in 1999 produces the following chronology: 

30-47 Peter conceals the Passion relics in Jerusalem.

47 Peter brings the Passion relics to Antioch.

47-357 The Church of Antioch conceals the Passion relics.

357-362 Arians exhibit the Passion relics in Antioch’s Golden Basilica.

362 Theodoretus conceals the Passion relics in the Golden Basilica.

362-528 The Passion relics remain hidden in the Golden Basilica.

528-540 Monophysites discover the Shroud in the Golden Basilica.

540 Monophysite refugees bring the Shroud to Edessa.

544 The Shroud is fire damaged as Edessa defeats the Persian army.

544-549 The Shroud is portraitized to become the Image of Edessa.

549-944 The Edessans venerate the holy icon "not made by human hands".

944-1204 The Byzantines venerate the Mandylion and sindon in Constantinople.

1098 Crusaders discover the Holy Lance in Antioch.

1170 Grail romances, with lance, cup, shroud, and Syrian roots, appear in the West.

1204 The Shroud disappears during the Crusader sack of Constantinople.

1204-1349 Cathars conceal the Shroud in Languedoc.

1349 Geoffrey de Charny acquires the Shroud pursuant to the terms of a royal grant.

1355 Geoffrey de Charny exhibits the Shroud in Lirey.

1910 Arabs discover the Great Chalice at the site of Antioch’s ancient cathedral.


The author suggests that the proposed early sojourn of the Shroud in Antioch provides both a plausible biography for the relic prior to its appearance in Edessa and also a credible explanation of why its existence during that early period was not historically documented. He believes that the first ChristianGrail romances were inspired by the disappearance of Antioch’s Church treasures in the fourth century. He considers it more than mere coincidence that the chronicled history of the Shroud begins almost immediately after the glorious history of ancient Antioch concludes.

Wilson believed that the sindonic image was produced by a force rather than by a substance, that it resulted from the cloth having been scorched during the Resurrection, and that it was readily observable on the first Easter morning. See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 248-251.  Wilson proposed that the Shroud was rediscovered in the aftermath of a devastating flood that struck Edessa in 525. See Wilson, The Shroud of Turin, pp. 134; 138-139.  Between 30 and 62 AD, Hellenistic Christians were driven out of Jerusalem, Peter was arrested, and Stephen, the Apostle James, and James, the brother of Jesus, were executed. See Franzen, p. 14. It is likely that the "relics of the saviour were sought for conveyance to safety and these included the Shroud, whose mysterious markings...would have ensured its preservation as an object of the greatest

In 1998, Wilson proposes this: Not least I would recommend you to ignore the claims that the area of the Shroud from which the radiocarbon sample was taken was one in which 'invisible mending' had been done in the Middle Ages, and therefore was not the original Shroud. If you go down that road, you are asking for the Middle Ages to have been able to perfectly duplicate the Shroud's weave, dubious ground in itself, and in my estimation extremely unlikely. For had such a match been anything but perfect I would have been bound to spot it when I minutely examined the Shroud back in 1973, and I saw nothing of this kind. So please: simply don't believe in it.

As very recently pointed out to me by the American microbiologist Professor Steven Mattingly of the University of Texas: 'Lack of a chemical analysis of the Shroud linen violated the first basic principle in biochemistry - account for the chemical components on a dry weight basis. A total glucose analysis of the linen would have spared us this controversy.'

Which leads me now to that very controversy to which Professor Mattingly is referring - pertaining to the one serious and totally scientific argument that has yet to be addressed for how the Shroud's date may have been skewed, together the ticklish complications that arise from it. For as we now know, when Giovanni Riggi cut off the carbon dating sample back in 1988, not all of it was apportioned to the laboratories. Riggi kept part back, including some trimmings which he kept in his own personal safe. In 1993 he allowed snippets from these to be examined and taken away by physician and microbiology enthusiast Dr. Garza-Valdes of San Antonio, as a result of which at the Shroud conference in Rome that very same year Dr. Garza-Valdes began claiming his discovery that the Shroud's surface has a bioplastic coating made up of a transparent layer of microbiological contaminants accumulated to quite sufficient thickness to have caused a 1300 year error in the carbon dating.

Now since Dr. Garza-Valdes is himself present at this Congresso, it is not my intention either to try to explain or to defend these findings. What I can say, however, is that I have been very greatly encouraged by Professor Harry Gove, the co-inventor of the AMS method used to radiocarbon date the Shroud, who has treated Dr. Garza-Valdes's arguments with considerable seriousness. Indeed, Professor Gove has collaborated with Garza, Professor Mattingly and the Egyptologist Dr. Rosalie David in a highly important experiment with an ancient Egyptian ibis mummy and its linen wrappings. This has shown that a similar coating on the ibis mummy's linen wrappings, one significantly thinner than that on the Shroud, was sufficient to have caused a 550 radiocarbon dating discrepancy. By extrapolation, the thicker coating said to be on the Shroud, thicker because of all the aforementioned extra handling the sample area received, could very easily have skewed the date by 1300 years.

Now I can only very greatly hope that this can and will happen sooner or later, and two factors greatly encourage me that the opportunity may not be too far off. First, from the sample cut off from the Shroud in 1988 there should still be sufficient left for precisely such a re-run. So no fresh assault on the Shroud is necessarily needed, a situation most devoutly to be wished. Second, only two weeks ago, on his visit to this very city, His Holiness Pope John Paul II positively indicated his willingness for the Shroud to be made available in the event of what clearly need to be the right sort of fresh scientific procedures. 

So this is why I plead for the right thinking to be behind whatever happens next on the Shroud. Obviously I can offer no  guarantees that the bioplastic coating hypothesis really is correct. But at least it demands no fresh access to the Shroud until the very last stage, and even then the sample held back in 1988 may suffice. All I would simply most humbly ask of His  Holiness and His Eminence is that when that stage is reached, the Church's door should be open and welcoming….


The body was that of an adult male, nude, with beard, mustache, and long hair falling to the shoulders and drawn at the back into a pigtail. Height is estimated at between 5 ft. 9 in. and 5 ft. 11 in. (175-180 cm), weight at 165-180 lb. (75-81 kg), and age at 30 to 45 years. Carleton Coon (quoted in Wilcox 1977:133) describes the man as "of a physical type found in modern times among Sephardic Jews and noble Arabs." Curto (quoted in Sox 1981:70, 131), however, describes the physiognomy as more Iranian than Semitic. The body is well proportioned and muscular, with no observable defects.

Death had occurred several hours before the deposition of the corpse, which was laid out on half of the Shroud, the other half then being drawn over the head to cover the body. 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. Both frontal and dorsal images have the marks of many small drops of a postmortem serous fluid exuded from the pores. There is, however, no evidence of initial decomposition of the body, no issue of fluids from the orifices, and no decline of rigor mortis leading to flattening of the back and blurred or double imprints.

Robert Bucklin, M.D., in 1997, regarding autopsies of bodies stated: The first step in such an examination is to document physical features of the victim as accurately as possible. In the case of the image on the Shroud, it can be stated that the deceased person is and adult male measuring 71 inches from crown to heel and weighing an estimated 175 pounds. The body structure is anatomically normal, representing a well-developed and well-nourished individual with clearly identifiable head, trunk, and extremities. The body appears to be in a state of rigor mortis which is evidenced by an overall stiffness as well as specific alterations in the appearance of the lower extremities from the posterior aspect. The imprint of the right calf is much more distinct than that of the left indicating that at the time of death the left leg was rotated in such a way that the sole of the left foot rested on the ventral surface of the right foot with resultant slight flexion of the left knee. That position was maintained after rigor mortis had developed.

After an overall inspection and description of the body image, the pathologist continues his examination in a sequential fashion beginning with the head and progressing to the feet. He will note that the deceased had long hair, which on the posterior image appears to be fashioned into a pigtail or braid type configuration. There also is a short beard which is forked in the middle. In the frontal view, a ring of puncture tracks is noted to involve the scalp. One of these has the configuration of a letter "3". Blood has issued from these punctures into the hair and onto the skin of the forehead. The dorsal view shows that the puncture wounds extend around the occipital portion of the scalp in the manner of a crown. The direction of the blood flow, both anterior and posterior, is downward. In the midline of the forehead is a square imprint giving the appearance of an object resting on the skin. There is a distinct abrasion at the tip of the nose and the right cheek is distinctly swollen as compared with the left cheek. Both eyes appear to be closed, but on very close inspection, rounded foreign objects can be
noted on the imprint in the area of the right and left eyes.

Upon examining the chest, the pathologist notes a large blood stain over the right pectoral area Close examination shows a variance in intensity of the stain consistent with the presence of two types of fluid, one comprised of blood, and the other resembling water. There is distinct evidence of a gravitational effect on this stain with the blood flowing downward and without spatter of other evidence of the projectile activity which would be expected from blood issuing from a functional arterial source. This wound has all the characteristics of a postmortem type flow of blood from a body cavity or from an organ such as the heart. At the upper plane of the wound is an ovoid skin defect which is characteristic of a penetrating track produced by a sharp puncturing instrument.

There seems to be an increase in the anteroposterior diameter of the chest due to bilateral expansion.

The abdomen is flat, and the right and left arms are crossed over the mid and lower abdomen. The genitalia cannot be identified.

By examination of the arms, forearms, wrists, and hands, the pathologist notes that the left hand overlies the right wrist On the left wrist area is a distinct puncture-type injury which has two projecting rivulets derived from a central source and separated by about a 10 degree angle. As it appears in the image, the rivulets extend in a horizontal direction. The pathologist realizes that this blood flow could not have happened with the arms in the position as he sees them during his examination, and he must reconstruct the position of the arms in such a way as to place them where they would have to be to account for gravity in the direction of the blood flow. His calculations to that effect would indicate that the arms would have to be outstretched upward at about a 65 degree angle with the horizontal. The pathologist observes that there are blood flows which extend in a direction from wrists toward elbows on the right and left forearms. These flows can be readily accounted for my the position of the arms which he has just determined.

As he examines the fingers, he notes that both the right and left hands have left imprints of only four fingers. The thumbs are not clearly obvious. This would suggest to the pathologist that there has been some damage to a nerve which would result in flexion of the thumb toward the palm.

As he examines the lower extremities, the medical examiner derives most of his information from the posterior imprint of the body. He notes that there is a reasonably clear outline of the right foot made by the sole of that foot having been covered with blood and leaving an imprint which reflects the heal as well as the toes. The left foot imprint is less clear and it is also noticeable that the left calf imprint is unclear. This supports the opinion that the left leg had been rotated and crossed over the right instep in such a way that an incomplete foot print was formed. In the center of the right foot imprint, a definite punctate defect can be noted. This puncture is consistent with an object having penetrated the structures of the feet, and from the position of the feet the conclusion would be reasonable that the same object penetrated both feet after the left foot had been placed over the right.

As the back image is examined, it becomes quite clear that there is a series of traumatic injuries which extend from the shoulder areas to the lower portion of the back, the buttocks, and the backs of the calves. These images are bifid and appear to have been made by some type of object applied as a whip, leaving dumbbell-shaped imprints in the skin from which blood has issued. The direction of the injuries is from lateral toward medial and downward suggesting that the whip was applied by someone standing behind the individual.

An interesting finding is noted over the shoulder blade area on the right and left sides. This consists of an abrasion or denuding of the skin surfaces, consistent with a heavy object, like a beam. Resting over the shoulder blades and producing a rubbing effect on the skin surfaces.

With this information available to him, the forensic pathologist can come to a reasonable conclusion as to the circumstances of death, including the posture of the deceased at the time the injuries were incurred. Chronologically, the whip like injuries to the back would have occurred earlier than other injuries which the pathologist has found. The individual would have been upright and with his arms above his head at the time the whipping occurred since no whip marks are found on the upper extremities.

The position of the puncture defects in the wrist, coupled with the blood flow towards the elbows, and also associated with the punctures of the feet, permit the pathologist to conclude that the victim was in an upright position with his arms extended when the blood flow took place. A crucifixion type posture would be the most plausible explanation for these findings.

The wound in the right side, since is comprised of both blood and non-blood components, suggests to the forensic pathologist that the puncturing instrument released a watery type fluid from the body cavities as well as blood from the heart area. One potential consideration would be that there was fluid in the chest cavity which was released by the penetrating instrument and this was followed by blood issuing from an area as the result of the heart being perforated.

It is the ultimate responsibility of the medical examiner to confirm by whatever means are available to him the identity of the deceased, as well as to determine the manner of this death. In the case of Man on the Shroud, the forensic pathologist will have information relative to the circumstances of death by crucifixion which he can support by his anatomic findings. He will be aware that the individual whose image is depicted on the cloth has undergone puncture injuries to his wrists and feet, puncture injuries to his head, multiple traumatic whip-like injuries to his back and postmortem puncture injury to his chest area which has released both blood and a water type of fluid. From this data, it is not an unreasonable conclusion for the forensic pathologist to determine that only one person historically has undergone this sequence of events. That person in Jesus Christ.

As far as the mechanism of death is concerned, a detailed study of the Shroud imprint and the blood stains, coupled with a basic understanding of the physical and physiological changes in the body that take place during crucifixion, suggests strongly that the decedent had undergone postural asphyxia as the result of his position during the crucifixion episode. There is also evidence of severe blood loss from the skin wounds as well as fluid accumulation in the chest cavities related to terminal cardio-respiratory failure. 

For the manner of death to be determined, a full investigation of the circumstances of death is necessary. In this case, it would be determined historically that the individual was sentenced to death, and that the execution was carried out by crucifixion. The manner of death would be classed as judicial homicide.

In summary, I have presented a scenario, based on reasonable medical probability, as to how a forensic pathologist medical examiner would conduct an examination of the Shroud of Turin image and the conclusions that he would reach as the result of such studies."


The Fire and the Portrait
Jack Markwardt 


Framing the thighs of the Shroud's ventral and dorsal body images are four sets of holes and burn marks, three of which appear in right-angle patterns. If the Shroud is folded once lengthwise and once widthwise, all four sets of holes and burn marks superimpose upon one another in the dead center of the folded cloth. The charred edges of all twelve holes appear much blacker than the fire damage of 1532 and present evidence of pitch.

This damage appears on the Lierre Shroud copy of 1516 and, thus, clearly antedates the Chambery fire by at least sixteen years.  With each folded layer of the cloth having been penetrated to a decreasing degree, it has been suggested that a hot poker was thrust into the Shroud during some primitive ceremony and that, since it had been a favorite medieval practice to use pitch-soaked pokers as "trial by fire" truth devices,  the cloth was subjected to a fire-based authenticity test in either the late-fifteenth or very early-sixteenth century; however, in approximately 1986, this damage was found depicted in the Hungarian Pray Manuscript, a document reliably dated to 1192-1195.  Not only did this discovery effectively undermine the notion that the Shroud had been tried by fire in medieval times, but it also proved problematic to both the radiocarbon testing results and a claim that the sindonic image was the creation of Leonardo da Vinci. 


by Isabel Picze

Very recently, a program appeared on television suggesting that the Turin Shroud was made by
Leonardo da Vinci, who just to produce the Shroud, invented a primitive form of
photography in the 15th century, three and a half centuries before the French made the first
photograph in a camera in 1826. Let us see if he could have done that. For starters, the first
recorded exhibition of the Shroud in Lirey France was in 1356. Leonardo da Vinci was born in
1452, a hundred years after the exhibition.
His greatest masterpiece, the Last Supper, started to disintegrate within his own lifetime due to technical errors.

The focal point of any Shroud research has to be the realization, that the positive image of the Turin Shroud is an entirely
personal, and lifelike portrait of a real man, not a composite, nor abstract or symbolic "image". 

The Turin Shroud shows absolutely no light focus (direction of light)

The initial drawing would have had to include an anatomical and medical knowledge,
which was only barely touched upon even in the High Renaissance.

a knowledge of Roman crucifixion methods in the first century Judea we only learnt about in the late 20th century from recent excavations.

But a true realism in portrait painting was achieved only by the painters of the French Academy from the last half of the
17th to the end of the 19th century. It is at the same time that pastel painting also was developed.

The Man of the Shroud is leaning forward, his head is at a gentle angle, his knees are pulled up.


Isabel wrote an article titled  "Is The Shroud of Turin A Painting?" 
Isabel Piczek is a noted monumental artist and theoretical physicist and a highly respected Shroud researcher.
This presentation was originally delivered at the 1996 Esopus Conference.

One cannot determine the length of this body by placing a measuring tape on the top of the hair
and reading the inches at the supposed toe.

One would have to measure it like this, in our case relying on empirical methods through art anatomy.
This man, judging also by the all important body type and its typical anatomy, cannot be less than 5'11 1/2" and no more than 6'2".

The head is not small, as some claim, one just does not see the sides of the cheeks. But the eyes and nose measurements, also when measuring from forehead to chin, the head is absolutely correctly proportioned compared to the body type. The arms are parallel with the Shroud, therefore we see them in full length. The chest and the upper and lower legs stand at an angle to the surface of the Shroud, therefore, inch-wise we do not see them in full length. But as an image involved with the laws of optical foreshortening, again the body on the Shroud is perfectly proportioned

An undeniable and totally unexplainable fact however remains. The body may have been originally wrapped like this in the Shroud.

But at the moment when the image was projected on the Shroud, so to speak, the top half and bottom half of the Shroud, both, have been absolutely straight, more straight than any cloth under normal circumstances could be. The undistorted anatomy of the body proves that. It is further proved by the fact, that there is no image of the two sides of the Man on the cloth. Whatever system designed the image on the cloth, simply had no surface to design the sides upon.

Under these circumstances and because of the leaning body and pulled up legs, the Shroud touched the body only at a few places. A direct contact image created by any method, aloes and sweaty chemicals or fungi, has to be absolutely excluded. The dorsal image especially proves that. There is a distance of 81/2 to 9 1/2" between the straight cloth and the back of the knee.

Has the cloth really been straight? Illustrated and simplified on this diagram, the distance marked AB is the real length of the thigh. If the Shroud at the moment of image formation would have been wrapped around the body in full contact, the full length of AB, the full length of the thigh would be seen on it. As it is we see AC, the projected and foreshortened length of the thigh on the Shroud. This proves the Shroud was straight at the time of image formation, and the dorsal image should be shorter than the frontal, - which it indeed is.


Was The Shroud In Languedoc During The Missing Years?

From: Jack Markwardt

INTRODUCTION: In 1204, a sydoine, bearing a full-length figure of Christ and a possible Apostolic pedigree,1
disappeared from Constantinople. Matching that cloth with the Shroud which appeared in Lirey, France a century and a half later requires an accounting of its hidden movements and an explanation for its acquisition by Geoffrey de Charny. This paper focuses upon the "Missing Years" in the history of the Shroud of Turin, presents a hypothetical reconstruction of several of the more mysterious chapters in the cloth's biography, and suggests that the sindonic path between Constantinople and Lirey runs directly through Languedoc.

1204: FROM CONSTANTINOPLE TO LANGUEDOC. In April of 1204, the Fourth Crusade attacked Byzantine
Constantinople and, in the resultant chaos, someone pilfered the Emperor's cloth. If the thief had held orthodox beliefs or had viewed the Shroud as a sacred relic, he would not have kept it concealed for long, but, instead, would have promptly claimed the credit and wealth attendant to its ownership. Thus, the perpetrator probably had no affiliation to either the Crusade or the Church of Rome and probably considered the cloth to be something other than a purely religious artifact. In this regard, it is critical to note that, at the precise time of its disappearance, the Shroud was being treated less as a holy relic than as a palladium wielded by the Emperor, in weekly public exhibitions, against the military threat posed by the crusaders. In fact, for the preceding six and a half centuries, the Shroud, assuming its affinity to the Mandylion, had enjoyed a fabled reputation as a cloth possessing great powers of protection. In 544, it had reportedly saved the city of Edessa from a siege by the Persian army.

Thereafter, the cloth not only maintained its status as Edessa's holy palladium,  but it also served as the model for numerous copies which were similarly employed as palladia throughout the Eastern empire.  The protective virtues of such images were described by Edward Gibbon as follows: "In the hour of danger or tumult their venerable presence could revive the hope, rekindle the courage, or repress the fury of the Roman legions".  In the sixth century, Pope Gregory commissioned his own copy of the image and had it brought to Rome where it was subsequently invoked for protection by Popes of the eighth and ninth centuries. In 944, the Byzantine Emperor forcibly compelled the transfer of the original image from Edessa to Constantinople in order to obtain "a new, powerful source of divine protection" for the capital city. Consequently, the peoples of Edessa and Constantinople came to view relics as possessing "palladian virtues which could protect them from their enemies".

In 1204, when the Shroud disappeared, two sects of religious dualists, the Bogomils and the Paulicians, were openly practicing their faith in Constantinople and, as will be shown, possessed both the opportunity and the motive to take and conceal the cloth. During the preceding century, Eastern dualism had made its way to Western Europe and, by 1160, permeated Languedoc in the form of Catharism.  Condemned by the Council of Tours in 1163, the heresy continued to spread despite ever- increasing persecution by the Church. All the while, the Cathars remained part of a single dualist communion with their brethren in the East and maintained such extremely close ties with them that they themselves were frequently referred to as Bogomile or Paulician. In 1172, Nicetas, the dualist bishop of Constantinople, travelled to Languedoc as a representative of the Eastern mother church, and, presiding over a Synod, persuaded the Cathars to adopt an absolute form of dualism, reconsecrated Cathar bishops, and approved reformation of the Cathar hierarchy.  The dualists of the East provided Cathars with scriptures and answers to their religious questions and some moved West and
became involved in the political and religious affairs of Languedoc. This federation of Eastern and Western dualists was maintained for many decades and, in 1224, the Easterners were to offer their homes to Cathar refugees and send them a spiritual leader.

In 1198, Innocent III became Pope and promptly demonstrated a proclivity to use military force whenever convenient to accomplish his religious and political goals and his fanatical hatred of heresy drove him to seek the elimination of Catharism in Languedoc. Thus, in 1204, and at the precise time when the Cathars desperately required protection from Innocent, their religious brethren in the East were, week after week, witnessing the exhibition and representation of the Shroud as a tried, true and mighty palladium. As Ian Wilson observed, the opportunity to take the cloth presented itself to some Byzantine who had access to it during the confusion of the crusader attack upon the city. Greek dualists enjoyed friendly contacts with the upper classes of the capital and harbored little love for a Church which had not only sent a Crusade to lay siege to their city, but had resolved to exterminate their fellow religionists in Languedoc. This paper suggests that it was they who snatched the relic, concealed it, and sent it to their persecuted brethren in Languedoc, not as an object of religious veneration, but as a powerful palladium which could be employed against the fanatically-militant Church of Rome.

If these Greek dualists did send the Shroud to Languedoc, they would have entrusted it only to someone who could provide for its safekeeping and ultimate deployment in the hour of need. Fortunately for the Cathars, they had a wealthy, powerful, and pugnacious champion who could do so. Esclarmonde de Foix, the widowed sister of the count of Foix, was a vociferous opponent of the Church and the patroness of a great complex of heretical workshops, schools, and hostels in Pamiers.  In 1204, the year of the Shroud's disappearance, she was ordained a Perfect, the highest order of the Cathar hierarchy, and sponsored the fortification of Montsegur, a castle stronghold which had collapsed into ruins.  If the coincidental kidnapping of the Shroud and the fortification of Montsegur were, in fact, part and parcel of the same Cathar defense program, the cloth would likely have been sent to Esclarmonde, in Pamiers, with the expectation that, when needed, she would take it to Montsegur where its fabled powers of protection could be invoked to save Cathars, just as they had once been unleashed to rescue Edessa from the Persian army. 

1204-1244: THE PALLADIUM OF HERETICS. There is circumstantial and anecdotal evidence that, from 1204 to 1244, the Shroud was kept as a palladium by the Cathars of Languedoc:

(1) 1205-1207: The Appearance of the Grail in Languedoc. The Holy Grail has been connected to the Shroud, the Cathars, and Esclarmonde. Between approximately 1205 and 1207, Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote a Grail legend, Parzival, which contained several apparent allusions to the Shroud  and placed the Grail in Munsalvaesche, a name denoting a mountainous region of safety, very much like Languedoc, in general, and Montsegur, in particular . Wolfram's Grail was guarded by Templars who wore white surcoats with red crosses and, at that precise time, the Temple Order in Languedoc had been thoroughly infiltrated by persons from Cathar families or holding Cathar sympathies. In another poem, Wolfram named the lord of the Grail castle as Perilla, a transparent nameplay on Raymond de Perella, the lord of Montsegur from at least 1204 to 1244. Finally, in an unfinished work, Wolfram situated the Grail castle in the Pyrenees which border on Languedoc and lie quite near to Montsegur.

(2) 1207: The Pope's Call for a Languedoc Crusade. In 1203, the so-called cult of relics influenced the diversion of the Fourth Crusade to Constantinople for purposes of rescuing relics from the schismatic Greeks. By 1207, as Parzival clearly demonstrates, some had concluded that the Shroud was held captive by the heretics of Languedoc. On November 12, 1207, Innocent called for a crusade against the Cathars; however, a palpable pretext for crusade did not materialize until two months later when a papal legate was murdered by a servant of Raymond VI, the count of Toulouse.  Raymond's pleas for absolution were rejected by the Church in what Jonathan Sumption called "a scandalous breach of ecclesiastical law accomplished solely to excuse a military invasion of Raymond's dominions". Despite the Cathars having nothing to do with the murder, the Pope urged military action against them.  By 1209, Raymond had completely capitulated to the Church and the Pope's plan to punish him was officially abandoned. Nevertheless, Innocent pushed forward with his war against the heretics, thus establishing that this crusade had always been designed to attack the Cathars, possibly to liberate the Shroud in furtherance of the goals of the cult of relics.

(3) 1209-1229: The Cathars' Three-Nail Crucifixion. In the early thirteenth century, the Crucifixion was typically depicted with Christ affixed to the cross with four nails, one placed through each of his hands and feet.60 During the Albigensian Crusade, reports were circulated of a three-nail crucifixion, prompting Innocent to proclaim an official four-nail dogma and resulting in the condemnation, as heretics, of anyone who asserted the use of three nails.61 In an attempt to win converts, some Cathars employed a crucifix which had no upper arm, the feet of Christ crossed, and three nails. There is no apparent explanation of why Cathars, who rejected the reality of Christ's death,  would assert a three-nail crucifixion or employ a three-nail crucifix, particularly when attempting to proselytize orthodox believers who were accustomed to, and who were bound to believe in, a four-nail portrayal. A close examination of the Shroud reveals that only one nail pierced Christ's feet and the Cathars' possession of the cloth with its evidence of the use of one nail through both feet would explain their assertion of a three-nail crucifixion which contradicted the traditional and papally-mandated beliefs of the orthodox.

(4) 1218-1224: The Cathars and the Flesh and Blood of Christ. Joinville's History of St. Louis contains an anecdotal story which, for many centuries, has been employed to strengthen faith in the sacrament of the Eucharist. According to this account, Amaury de Montfort, while leading the Albigensian Crusade, declined a Cathar invitation to come and see the body of Christ "which had become flesh and blood in the hands of the priest". The Cathars rejected Christ's incarnation and believed that his humanity was merely symbolic. For Cathars, there never was a body of Christ which could have become flesh and blood in the hands of their priest. In addition, the Cathars rejected the sacraments, including the Eucharist, as being vain and useless and their priests did not say Mass or make sacrifices of the altar. Instead, Cathars performed a simple daily benediction of bread and wine while reciting the Lord's Prayer. For Cathars, there was no ceremony or rite by which the body of Christ could have become flesh and blood in the hands of their priest. Cathars considered lying to be abhorrent and their Perfects, who were forbidden to engage in any trade which would expose them to lying or fraud, refused to prevaricate, even to save their own lives.  Since Cathars would not have fabricated any claim, especially one  which would repudiate their own religious beliefs, it appears that they invited Amaury to view a cloth which, when displayed in the hands of their priest, manifested a mysterious image of the flesh and blood of Christ. The Amaury story was written prior to 1272, a mere fifty years after the event which it describes, and was related, no doubt, to inspire readers to emulate a pious virtue admired by St. Louis; however, it appears to have a factual and historical basis, particularly in light of other circumstantial evidence which demonstrates that, during the precise period of the story's setting, the Cathars were in possession of the Shroud.

(5) 1209-1244: The Mystical Cathar Treasure of Montsegur. After the outbreak of the Albigensian Crusade in 1209, Esclarmonde took up residence in Montsegur and, in 1215, presided there over a Cathar court.  Likewise, in 1209, the most important Cathar prelate, Guilhabert de Castres, moved to Montsegur and, for the next thirty years, used it as his base for  missionary activities80 and the site of a Cathar Synod in 1232. In approximately 1240, Guilhabert was succeeded by Bertrand de Marty who remained at Montsegur until its fall in 1244. As previously mentioned, from at least 1204 to 1244, Raymond de Perella, a vassal to Esclarmonde's brother and a man with strong sympathies for the heretics, served as the lord of Montsegur. If the Shroud was taken to Montsegur, knowledge of its presence there was likely limited to a privileged few who undoubtedly ascribed the castle's survival through more than three decades of crusade and persecution to the linen palladium. So long as the Cathar hierarchy was headquartered in Montsegur, it is inconceivable that the Shroud  would have been taken elsewhere. Coincidently, throughout the Crusade, Montsegur was rumored to hold a mystical Cathar treasure which far exceeded material wealth.  In January of 1244, with Montsegur under siege, all of the gold, silver and money which had been stored there was taken out and hidden in the forests of the Sabarthes mountains. In February, the   Montsegur garrison left the castle and launched an attack which ended in disaster and compelled surrender on March 2. The Cathars sought and obtained a fifteen-day truce which permitted them to hold a festival and, when the truce expired on March 16, more than two hundred Perfects were thrown into a burning pyre. That same night, four Cathars, who had  been concealed, used ropes to scale down Montsegur's steep western rock-face, and, according to tradition, they took with them the mystical Cathar treasure. This paper suggests that the mystical treasure was, or included, the Shroud and that the Cathars had procured the truce in a desperate, but unsuccessful, attempt to invoke their palladium's legendary powers during the closing weeks of the season of its origin--Easter.

1244-1349: THE PROPERTY OF HERETICS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS. The four escapees from vanquished Montsegur carried the treasure to a valley in the Sabarthes, a region loyal to the Cathar cause and home to the heretical Auteri family. Approximately fifty years later, an Auteri descendant, Peter, assumed leadership of a Cathar organization which was still active but persecuted relentlessly by the Inquisition. After Peter Auteri was captured and executed in 1311, the heretical community began to disintegrate. In 1320, a group of Cathars were forced to recant in Albi and, the following year, the last Cathar Perfect, William Belibasta, was lured from hiding in Catalonia and burned to death.

Between 1318 and 1326, Jacques Fournier, the future Pope Benedict XII, prosecuted the Carcassonne Inquisition from Pamiers and walled up a Cathar remnant in the caves of Lombrives, located in the Sabarthes. Thereafter, scattered groups of heretics and isolated individuals carried on occasional guerrilla warfare, but, by 1350, the two-century struggle  between the Church and the Cathars of Languedoc was brought to a close.

This paper suggests that, from 1244 to approximately 1349, the Shroud was kept in Languedoc, most probably in the Sabarthes, by heretical families descended from the survivors of Montsegur. Title to the relic could not legally pass from one generation to another inasmuch as heretics, their sympathizers, and their descendants were prohibited from making a will or receiving a legacy. In addition, all personal property of heretics, their sympathizers, and their descendants was required to be confiscated and forfeited to the crown. Consequently, for a little more than a century, the Shroud was scrupulously kept concealed in a region where survival itself depended on secrecy and, upon the deaths of its respective heretical owners, the cloth was quietly handed down to surviving family members.

In October of 1347, the Black Death swept into Europe, ultimately killing more than a third of its population. Some towns with a population of 20,000 were left with a mere 200 and, in certain of the smaller villages, only 100 out of 1,500 survived. The Plague struck Marseille in January of 1348, with mortality rates of up to 60% and, by summer, had reached Montpellier, Carcassonne, and Toulouse. Montpellier's ultimate loss of life was so extensive that Italian merchants were granted citizenship rights just to allow the city to be repopulated. In Perpignan, just north of the Spanish border and not too distant from the region of heretical safe havens, the Plague killed 90% of the municipal physicians and barber-surgeons and 65% of the notaries. In Avignon, up to two-thirds of the population died, and between February and May of 1349, as many as 400 of its people were killed every day.  The Pope's physician, who advised Clement VI to flee the city until the Plague subsided, ultimately estimated that three-quarters of the entire population of France had been killed.  In rural Languedoc, already devastated by famine and war, the Black Death killed close to 50% of the population. In 1350, the Plague killed King Alphonso XI of Spain, but finally ran its course in the Mediterranean Basin. By that time, however, it is statistically probable that, somewhere in the hill country of rural Languedoc, the heretical family that possessed the Shroud had been killed and that the cloth, as part of that family's possessions and personal effects, had been, or would soon be, confiscated and forfeited to the crown. 

1349-1354: THE ACQUISITION OF THE SHROUD BY GEOFFREY DE CHARNY. Wilson astutely observed that the question of how the Shroud came to be owned by Geoffrey de Charny lies at the very core of the Missing Years mystery. Historical evidence indicates that Geoffrey acquired the relic between April of 1349 and January of 1354. Yet, there is no record of a military campaign, a gift, or an inheritance which would have brought the Shroud to Geoffrey after 1349  and, in fact, throughout 1350 and during the first six months of 1351, Geoffrey was held as a prisoner of war in England.

Although it may have been unusual for Geoffrey to have come to own the Shroud, the virtually unquestionable personal integrity of "the wisest and bravest knight of them all" would never have allowed him to obtain the cloth under dishonorable circumstances or by the employment of improper means. Thus, the mystery's solution must lie along a rightful and legal path, and one such channel was opened to Geoffrey in the Spring of 1349. At that time, Geoffrey held a life annuity of 1,000 livres, payable directly from the royal treasury. On April 19, 1349, this annuity was modified to 500 livres payable to Geoffrey and his heirs from the first forfeitures which might occur in the Languedoc senechaussees of Toulouse, Beaucaire, and Carcassonne.

This paper suggests that, subsequent to April 19, 1349, the Shroud was discovered among the confiscated and forfeited personal goods of a Languedoc heretical family, perhaps one victimized by the Black Death, and that Geoffrey de Charny, by right of royal grant, legally and rightfully acquired title to the relic. Given the location of the Sabarthes and the other likely areas of heretical safe havens, the Shroud forfeiture probably occurred in the seneschalsy of Carcassonne where Geoffrey's trusted bailiff would have confiscated the forfeited property even if Geoffrey himself was being held in captivity. In Languedoc, local bailiffs administered both high and low justice, arrested heretics, pursued lawbreakers through the mountains, and attempted to recover stolen objects. A forfeiture precipitated by the Plague would have probably taken place in 1349 or 1350 and Geoffrey could have been aware of his acquisition of the Shroud either before he was taken prisoner at Calais on December 31, 1349 or during his imprisonment in London through June of 1351. Such knowledge may have been responsible for the melancholy religious poetry which Geoffrey authored during the period of his captivity.

1349-1390: PERPETUAL SILENCE AND THE MISSING YEARS. Geoffrey has never been quoted as relating the manner in which he acquired the Shroud and Wilson speculated that something in the cloth's biography may have caused his silence. If this is the explanation, it may have been either a Cathar or a Templar history; however, there is another possibility.

Given Geoffrey's noble character and personal integrity, it is virtually certain that he fully reported the circumstances of his acquisition to the Pope in Avignon. Indeed, a report and petition, together with papal approval, was surely a prerequisite to holding the Lirey Shroud exhibitions of the 1350's, and the Pope would never have permitted the relic to become the object of worldwide pilgrimage unless he knew exactly how Geoffrey had acquired it and was convinced that it was genuine; i.e., the Shroud was the same cloth as that which had disappeared from Constantinople. Once the Pope had learned of the reasons underlying the Languedoc forfeiture, he would have deduced that Cathars and their descendants had been the Shroud's keepers for a century and a half and concluded that a disclosure of such information might embarrass the Church, raise questions concerning the motives for the Albigensian Crusade, create empathy for Cathars who had preserved Christianity's most precious relic, prejudice the Church's ongoing prosecution of heresy, and/or expose the relic to attack as the forgery or idol of heretics. In addition, had it become known that the cloth was only recently discovered among the personal effects of Plague victims, it may have aroused fear of contamination and a clamor for the destruction of the relic.

Finally, a disclosure of the Shroud's genesis may have precipitated a demand from the Byzantine Emperor or the Eastern Orthodox Church that the relic be returned to Constantinople.

This paper suggests that, for these and/or other reasons, the Pope ordered Geoffrey and his family to remain perpetually silent on the subject of how the cloth had been acquired and, on that specific condition, authorized the exhibitions of the Shroud which were held in Lirey during the 1350's. Geoffrey, ever the perfect knight and obedient servant of king and Church, would have dutifully complied with the Pope's directive and would have never publicly spoken of how he had come into possession of the relic, thereby keeping the information secure among himself, his wife, and their son, Geoffrey II.

In approximately 1389, Geoffrey's son initiated a new round of Shroud exhibitions and Pierre D'Arcis, the Bishop of Troyes, attempted to terminate them. In a draft memorandum, which probably never reached Pope Clement VII in Avignon, D'Arcis claimed that the cloth was a cunningly-painted fraud, offered to supply the Pope with all relevant information "from public report and otherwise", and expressed a desire to speak personally to the Pope due to his inability, in writing, to sufficiently express "the grievous nature of the scandal, the contempt brought upon the Church and ecclesiastic jurisdiction, and the danger to souls". D'Arcis' reference to ecclesiastic jurisdiction appears directly related to the Inquisition's ongoing prosecution of heretics and his allusion to scandal indicates that he had learned something of the relic's heretical, but not of its Byzantine, history. In any event, Clement was already familiar with the Shroud's Cathar biography and Constantinople pedigree through the records of his predecessors and/or his familial relationship with Geoffrey's son. There is no evidence of the Pope's having requested any elaboration from D'Arcis or having conducted any investigation whatsoever. Instead, Clement permitted the Shroud exhibitions to continue (subject to rather trivial conditions) and he twice sentenced D'Arcis to the same perpetual silence as that which had previously bound Geoffrey and his family. Thus, the mystery of the Missing Years was born of the papal mutation of witnesses who could have attested to a heretical forfeiture which, in turn, would have directed historians to the sindonic road from Constantinople to Languedoc.

POSTSCRIPT--HERETICAL CUSTODIANS OF THE SHROUD: It is entirely possible that, on three separate occasions, the Shroud was in the possession of heretics. It has been argued that, for at least one hundred and fifty years after the Resurrection, the cloth was in the possession of Carpocratian Gnostics before being brought to Edessa, during the reign of Abgar the Great (177-212 A.D.), and remained there, in the possession of Gnostics, for an additional lengthy period. In the eighth century, and as the result of an alleged loan transaction, the cloth was given to Edessan Monophysites and/or Jacobites and remained in their possession for a period of almost two hundred and fifty years (circa 700-944 A.D.). Since this paper suggests that the cloth was in the possession of Cathars and their descendants for approximately one hundred and forty-five years (1204-1349 A.D.), the cumulative heretical history of the Shroud may exceed five centuries in length and constitute more than twenty-five per cent of its present life.


In 1203, a French soldier with the Crusaders camped in Constantinople (who were responsible for the sack of the city the following year) noted that a church there exhibited every Friday the cloth in which Christ was buried, and "his figure could be plainly seen there" (de Clari 1936:112). It is likely that this cloth and the Turin Shroud are the same, especially in view of the pollen evidence (discussed below) and the fact that these are the only known "Shrouds of Christ" with a body imprint. It now seems virtually certain that the Turin Shroud was among the spoils of the Crusades, along with many other relics looted from churches and monasteries in the East and brought back to Europe. 

Another shroud, now at Cadouin, was found by the Crusaders at Antioch in 1098, brought back to France, and venerated down to the present. (Unfortunately for its cult, the Cadouin Shroud was discovered to have ornamental bands in Kufic carrying 11th-century Moslem prayers [Francez 1935:7).) Wilson (1978:200-215) argues that the Turin Shroud was held and secretly worshipped by the Knights Templars between 1204 and 1314, passing later into history in the possession of a knight with the same name as the earlier Templar master of Normandy (Geoffrey de Charny).

Others (e.g., Rinaldi 1972:18) identify the Turin Shroud with the "Burial Sheet of the Redeemer" brought to Besançon from Constantinople, according to unsubstantiated tradition, by a Crusader captain in 1207.

Ever since the earliest days of Christendom, the Shroud of Christ has been a most precious relic, which "palladium" was safeguarding rulers, nations and cities..... The image on the Shroud has been copied by numerous artists on countless icons. Today more than 50 copies of the Shroud of Turin are guarded in churches, museums and private collections in Italy, Spain, Portugal, USA, Argentina and Belgium. Even non "connoisseurs" will not have any trouble at all, to see that these copies are certainly not ""acheiropopoties"" but works of art, made by human hands. The best "hand made" copies were made in 1898, by Ruffo and Cusseti, both guarded today in Turin. Today some excellent full size photographs of the Shroud are placed in churches all over the world. 

Since the days of the French revolution, the oldest copy of the Holy Shroud of Turin, dated 1516, is guarded in the vault of the vestry of the St. Gommaire church, in the lovely little town of Lier, situated in Belgium.



This correlates significantly with the studies by forensic microscopist Dr. Max Frei, who took sticky tape samples from the Shroud in 1973 and 1978. He found many pollen grains on these tapes, and tentatively identified some fifty-eight genera or species, mostly from plants growing in the Near East. Gundelia tournefortii L., a thorn, is one of the plants whose images I identified near the anatomical right side of the head image. Dr. Uri Baruch, palynologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority who made his M.SC. and Ph.D. dissertations on the flora of Israel, analyzed most of Frei's 1973 sticky tape pollen specimens and ten of the twenty-five 1978 sticky tapes. He examined 165 pollen grains, of which 45 (27.3%) were Gundelia tournefortii. On some of the tapes, he found more than ten grains in an area less than 5x1 cm. When Baruch was collecting "pollen rain" at various sites in the Judean Mountains and Judean Desert, he never found at any site more than 1 or 2 grains of this plant. The images of the plant and the presence of so many of its pollen grains on the Shroud prove that blooming plants were placed on the Shroud, as the pollen grains could not have been deposited by wind. G. tournefortii blooms in Israel from February (in the semi-desert warm parts) to May (in Jerusalem), hence testifying the time these plants could have been placed on the Shroud. G. tournefortii grows only in the Near East; therefore, the Shroud could have come only from the Near East.




Radiocarbon dating is the use of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to measure the amount of C14, a radioactive isotope of carbon. Plants take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as part of the process of photosynthesis and incorporate the carbon in the plant tissues. Animals absorb C14 into their tissues by eating plants. When the plant dies, no further C14 is absorbed and the C14 that accumulated in life begins to decay at a known rate. The half life of C14 is calculated at 5,730 years. Measurement of the C14 present in the remains of the plant or animal is a method of determining when the plant or animal died. The procedure is valuable for dating organic material later than 50,000 years before the present time. When first used, the procedure required larger samples of the test material, consequently the custodians of the Shroud of Turin were unwilling to permit the destruction of large portions of the shroud. The advances in the procedure has gradually decreased the amount of sample required and permission was finally obtained to test 12 small samples of the non-image bearing portion of the shroud linen. Linen is made from flax, therefore an assessment could be made on when the linen was manufactured. Samples of the shroud were excised and given to three different radiocarbon dating laboratories in Zurich, Oxford and Arizona. The results of the tests were published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, 1988, titled "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin." The following results were published on the samples tested. The figures are uncalibrated "before present," i.e. 1950 CE. (P. E. Damon, etal., Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin, Nature 337:6208, 16 February 1989, pp 611-615)

Sample dates from Arizona:

591 +/- 30 yrs
690 +/- 35 yrs
606 +/- 41 yrs
701 +/- 33 yrs

Sample dates from Oxford:

795 +/- 65 yrs
730 +/- 45 yrs
745 +/- 55 yrs

Sample dates from Zurich:

733 +/- 61 yrs
722 +/- 56 yrs
635 +/- 57 yrs
639 +/- 45 yrs
679 +/- 51 yrs

The linen of the shroud was manufactured, according to these results, sometime between 1260 CE and 1390 CE with the mean value placing the manufacture of the linen in the 14th century! The results were startling and fueled the opinion that the shroud is a forgery manufactured by a clever medieval artist. 


Researchers from the Health Science Center now appear to have the clue to resolve a scientific contradiction: If the shroud is authentic, why does radiocarbon dating indicate that the cloth is no more than about 700 years old?

The shroud is unquestionably old. Its history is known from the year 1357, when it surfaced in the tiny village of Lirey, France. Until recent reports from San Antonio, most of the scientific world accepted the findings of carbon dating carried out in 1988. The results said the shroud dated back to 1260-1390, and thus is much too new to be Jesus' burial linen.

Now the date and other shroud controversies are under intense scrutiny because of discoveries by a team led by Leoncio A. Garza-Valdes, MD, adjunct professor of microbiology, and Stephen J. Mattingly, PhD, professor of microbiology. Dr. Garza is a pediatrician from San Antonio, and an archaeologist noted for expertise in pre-Columbian artifacts. Dr. Mattingly, president of the Texas branch of the American Society for Microbiology, is widely respected for his research on group B streptococci and neonatal disease.

After months examining microscopic samples, the team concluded in January that the Shroud of Turin is centuries older than its carbon date. Dr. Garza said the shroud's fibers are coated with bacteria and fungi that have grown for centuries.  Carbon dating, he said, had sampled the contaminants as well as the fibers' cellulose.

Such startling findings ordinarily would be published in a scientific journal, but the team has waited. The shroud's ultimate custodian, the Catholic Church, has declined to designate the San Antonio fibers as an official sample. Dr. Garza received them in Turin, Italy, in 1993 from Giovanni Riggi di Numana, who took the official shroud samples for the carbon dating in the '80s.

In May 1993, Dr. Garza traveled to Turin, and examined a shroud sample with the approval of Catholic authorities. "As soon as I looked at a segment in the microscope, I knew it was heavily contaminated," Dr. Garza said. "I knew that what had been radiocarbon dated was a mixture of linen and the bacteria and fungi and bioplastic coating that had grown on the fibers for centuries. We had not dated the linen itself."

Dr. Garza returned to San Antonio with a few threads from the lower right corner of the shroud. He enlisted Dr. Mattingly. Together they applied the principles of microbiology to the evaluation of several archaeological specimens. "Archaeomicrobiology," as they describe their discipline, had never been used before on the shroud or almost any other artifact. 

At the Health Science Center and elsewhere, they examined samples using optical and electron microscopes and sophisticated viewing techniques, and photographed them under high magnification using special dyes and lighting. The researchers delicately sliced fibers to expose cross-sections of the bioplastic coating, and are working with an enzyme process to cleanse contaminated samples.

Adding to the atmosphere, a third member of their team has identified a part of the shroud's markings as that of blood from a human male. No one has conclusively determined how the markings got on the linen, but they appear in bas relief in a perfect negative image. Experts have entertained theories that the markings came from paint, scorching, or accelerated aging. Victor V. Tryon, PhD, assistant professor in microbiology and director of the university's Center for Advanced DNA Technologies, examined the DNA of one so-called "blood glob" from two separate microscopic shroud samples. He reported isolating signals from three different human genes by employing polymerase chain reaction, which can detect pieces of double-stranded DNA.

Amid the debate, Drs. Garza and Mattingly cannot escape the fundamental question of whether they have real shroud fibers. A transfer of papal authority in Turin and a turn of events three years ago there further cloud the issue.

Turin's Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini has publicly questioned the authenticity of the sample. On Italian television in January, he was quoted as saying: "There is no certainty that the material belongs to the shroud so that the Holy See and the custodian declare that they cannot recognize the results of the claimed experiments."

Cardinal Saldarini rejected Dr. Garza's request in April 1993 to perform tests on shroud fibers. But his refusal came days after Dr. Garza had arrived in Turin, and obtained a sample that remained from the 1988 cutting for radiocarbon dating. He received the sample from Riggi, a scientist appointed by Saldarini's predecessor, Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero, to do the cutting. Ballestrero retired in 1990. 

Where the new testing and other events will lead is uncertain, but few people deny the work of the Health Science Center team has expanded the scope of microbiology. In the process, the researchers have developed methods that promise to enhance the accuracy of radiocarbon dating. They also have given archaeologists a new tool to evaluate antiquities. And perhaps they have even opened a path that leads to an explanation of the enduring mysteries of the Shroud of Turin.


Translating the C14 age into a "real age" for the Shroud is not the simplest explanation in terms of the totality of evidence. No one makes an argument for the Shroud being 3000 or 5000 years old because the evidence from all the various studies that have been done on the object indicate that it is a real burial cloth with the image and bloodstains of a crucifixion victim. If it is not Christ, it is another crucified male who underwent the same kinds of tortures as mentioned in the biblical account, ie Roman-style crucifixion prefaced by scourging. 

Yes, it would take a lot of extraneous carbonaceous material to throw the date off by 1400 years, if contamination ALONE is the problem. Isotope exchange with materials on or in prolonged contact with the cloth is another very strong possibility, and one which is very difficult or impossible to evaluate or test for. But it probably is the cause of many aberrant dates obtained on samples from secure archaeological contexts.

Where does that leave us with the C14 dating of the Shroud? Still at stage 1 -- more samples need to be dated, from various places on the cloth, along with samples from the backing cloth whose age is precisely known. And of course all samples should be subjected to exhaustive screening and laboratory examination first.


The carbon 14 dating of the shroud to 1260-1390 A.D. brings us into the world of the Penitentes' patron saint, Francis of Assisi (who died in 1226), to his stigmata (the miraculous wounds on his hands, feet and side) and, especially, to the lay brotherhoods that his piety and his cult of self-mortification engendered. These Christians appreciated and understood Jesus' wounds in a very physical way.

This is the world of the holy shroud; these are the people for whom it would have held special meaning; and these, certainly, are the people for whom it was made. Just as the Penitentes understand the significance of blue-ness, these medieval Christians would have understood that the nails must have gone through Jesus' wrists in order to hold the body to the cross (although in medieval art these wounds are invariably in the palms). And their cult images would match this physical understanding of crucifixion, even to the point of adding human blood, much as the Penitentes add human hair and bone to their cult images. All of which is to say that the indication of nail holes in the wrists and what some claim is the presence of blood on the linen need not add up to a miracle.

Knowing both this and the shroud's carbon 14 dating of 1260 to 1390 A.D., it is worth returning, finally, to the place and time of the shroud's first appearance in historical documents. It is the year 1357, and the shroud is being exhibited publicly to pilgrims. It belongs to a French nobleman, Geofrey de Charnay, and is being displayed in his private chapel in Lirey, a village near Troyes, in northeastern France. The Bishop of Troyes, Henri of Poitiers, is upset because he believes the shroud is a fake; in fact, he has been told this by a man who claims to have painted it. Thirty years pass. It is now 1389, and Henri's successor, Pierre d'Archis, writes a long letter of protest about the shroud to Pope Clement VII. He recalls his predecessor's accusation and then goes on to state his own conviction "that the Shroud is a product of human handicraft ... a cloth cunningly painted by a man." He pleads with the Pope to end its public display. The Pope's written reply is cautious but clear; the
shroud may still be displayed, but only on the condition that a priest be in attendance to announce to all present, in a loud and intelligible voice, without any trickery, that the aforesaid form or representation [the shroud] is not the true burial cloth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but only a kind of painting or picture made as a form or representation of the burial cloth.

In Whose Image?

An Obvious Copy: Report on the Czechia Shroud Copy

2001-MAY-3: Shroud image may belong to Jacques de Molay: Dr Robert Lomas is leading a study of the shroud at Bradford University. He suggests that the image and shroud may have been from Jacques de Molay, a medieval priest who traveled to Scotland seeking a safe refuge from persecution by the Christian Church for his Knights Templar followers. Dr Lomas believes that high temperature and sweat from de Molay's body during his torture by the Church may have produced metabolic acids. These could have left an imprint on a shroud wrapped around him. He survived the torture and was held in prison for seven years before being burned alive with another Templar, Geoffrey de Charney. It was de Charney's nephew's widow who first placed the shroud on public exhibition. 

2000-OCT-14: Proposal to clone DNA: A secretive group of 13 or 14 Christians called the Second Coming Project propose to obtain a small sample of DNA from the shroud or from a relic that people believe can be traced to Yeshua of Nazareth's (Jesus Christ's) body. They propose to clone Yeshua by taking the ovum from a woman, removing her DNA and replacing it with the DNA obtained from a relic. If the fertilized ovum successfully divides, it would be implanted in the womb of a woman and hopefully result in a birth nine months in the future. They are targeting 2001-DEC-25 as the date of birth, even though there is a consensus among Christian theologians that Yeshua was born circa 4 to 7 BCE, probably in the fall. There are obstacles to this project. There is no consensus among the scientific and religious communities that Yeshua's DNA is present on any relic or artifact. There is no assurance that DNA that has been in existence for two millennia can be made to replicate. Bill Merrell, vice president of convention relations for the Southern Baptist Convention, said that this effort is "the height of foolhardiness," "the highest silliness in the category of neither science nor religion" and "perfectly reprehensible." The project appears to be founded on the belief that Yeshua is the son of God and that this condition was determined by his DNA. Thus, a cloned version of Yeshua would also have divine status. In essence, they would be creating a God -- a fourth member of the Trinity.

November 16 1998


The Shroud of Turin will be at the centre of fresh controversy next month when a scientist details his claims to have isolated DNA from the "blood of Jesus." 

Dr. Leoncio Garza-Valdes, a former professor of microbiology, is the latest to question the scientific consensus that the shroud many believe was used to wrap the body of Jesus after the crucifixion is a medieval forgery. 

In his book, The DNA of God?, Dr. Garza-Valdes describes cloning tests carried out by colleagues at the University of Texas which show that the "red'' areas on the cloth, far from being paint, are ancient blood stains of a group consistent with a Jewish male. 

In addition, fragments of wood were found with the blood which, he believes, could have come from the cross. The fragments were from the oak tree, common in Jerusalem. 

But his claims have been greeted with caution by skeptics, who say that he has yet to provide convincing evidence that the shroud is not a fake. 

Dr. Garza-Valdes, who first studied segments of the shroud in Turin in 1993, is already known for challenging carbon dating tests carried out in 1988, which put the date of the cloth between 1260 and 1390. 

A number of experts subsequently concluded the ghostly image of a man on the cloth must be that of a crucified crusader, a painting or even an early form of photography, devised by Leonardo da Vinci. 

But Dr. Garza-Valdes and Professor Stephen Mattingly, a microbiologist at Texas University, have excited believers in the shroud by finding that the cloth is covered with a barely visible living "bioplastic'' coating of bacteria and fungi. 

This, the scientists believe, developed over the centuries "like a coral reef'' and could have skewed the 1988 carbon dating tests. 

The book details the experiments that show the "blood'' on the shroud is ancient and contains XY chromosomes, which establishes it as human and male. 

The tests were conducted by a team headed by Dr. Victor Tryon, director of the Centre for Advanced DNA Technology at the University of Texas Health Science Centre. 

Gene segments from the stains were cloned and the analysis showed that the blood came from a male with an AB blood type, common among Jewish people. 

Dr. Garza-Valdes, a practising Catholic, said the placing of the blood traces strongly indicated that the body was that of Jesus. 

"Not many people in the first century suffered all those lesions, the crucifixion wounds, the crown of thorns, the spear wound in the right side of the chest, the flagellations,'' he said. 

He disagreed with suggestions the DNA could be used to clone Jesus in the style of Dolly the sheep, saying that the samples were too degraded. 

Professor Michael Tite of Oxford University, one of the scientists who carried out the 1988 carbon dating tests, was skeptical of the new book's claims. "Nobody has yet provided me with convincing evidence that our carbon dating is incorrect,'' he said. 

"The amount of coating needed to skew the dating that much would be large, though the possibility cannot be ruled out. But I still believe the shroud is medieval.'' 



7-08-98 - Archaeologists Find New Link Between King Arthur and Tintagel

 A sixth-century piece of slate inscribed in Latin could   more closely link the legendary King Arthur to his reputed birthplace  at Tintagel Castle.

Researchers said Thursday they had unearthed a stone bearing a   1,400-year-old inscription resembling the name Arthur at Tintagel, a   windswept ruin that sits on a rocky outcrop in southwest England.

Geoffrey Wainwright, chief archaeologist for English Heritage, a government-backed conservation agency that manages historic properties   and advises on conservation policy, called the artifact ``a find of a lifetime.''

Although there is no evidence linking the stone directly with King Arthur, the slate is proof that the name Arthur existed during the era in which he reputedly lived, Wainwright said.

``It proves for the first time that the name existed at that time and that the stone belonged to a person of status,'' he said, adding that the discovery will ``enhance the strong Arthur legend.''

The slate, which measures 8 by 14 inches, bears the inscription   ``ARTOGNOV,'' which is Latin for the British name Arthnou.

Archaeologists found it July 4.

The first connection between Arthur and Tintagel Castle was made by a   Welsh author in the 12th century.

According to one story, Merlin the Magician disguised Arthur's father to allow him to enter Tintagel and seduce a duke's young wife, Arthur's mother. In another version, Arthur was found washed ashore by Merlin in a cave below the castle.

Today, the Tintagel area embraces the legendary connection with King Arthur. A local guidebook notes: ``Fact hereabouts is tremendously hard to separate from fiction.''



Historians in search of King Arthur have committed themselves to a certain mode of approach. They have tried to strip away legend and isolate hard evidence. Doing so means dismissing the medieval literature (Geoffrey of Monmouth and everything later), sifting older matter of Welsh provenance, and picking out whatever may be deemed factual or, at least, arguably so. Applied with due objectivity, such a process reduces the data to two Latin documents. They refer to Arthur at no great length as a successful war-leader of Celtic Britons in the fifth or sixth century, embroiled chiefly with encroaching Saxons, ancestors of the English. One of these documents is the "Historia Brittonum," History of the Britons, compiled early in the ninth century, and ascribed dubiously to a monk of Bangor named Nennius. In a single chapter it lists twelve Arthurian battles. The other document is a chronicle, the "Annales Cambriae," Annals of Wales, which is somewhat later and has two Arthurian entries, also about battles.

There is a penumbra of Welsh poems and traditions, and support for the Latin texts can be claimed from that quarter, especially from an allusion to Arthur's martial prowess which may be as early as 600. They alone, however, are the documents properly so called.

Opinion on them has swung back and forth. One seldom-noted fact is that Edward Gibbon believed in Arthur, on the strength of the 'simple and circumstantial testimony of Nennius.' From the 1930s on, Collingwood's theory of an Arthur who revived the imperial military office of Comes Britanniarum, and employed Roman-type cavalry to rout pedestrian Saxons, appealed to many including novelists such as Charles Williams and C.S. Lewis. While the cavalry notion faded for lack of evidence, the image of Arthur as a post-Roman commander-in-chief, with or without civilian power as well, and as active in south and south-west Britain, flourished into the seventies. It seemed to have established itself through the work of Kenneth Jackson, Leslie Alcock and John Morris (though Alcock's review of Morris's "The Age of Arthur," which made sweeping claims, was critical; there was never a united front). Some scholars, notably Rachel Bromwich, while accepting an Arthur who was primarily a warrior, dissented as to his homeland and made it northern.

In 1977 an onslaught by David Dumville on all such reconstructions, and on Welsh records generally, set the pendulum swinging the other way. Today most historians who consider the 'historical Arthur' at all are sceptical and reluctant to discuss him. An added reason has been the partial discrediting of the topic by the appearance of further 'historical Arthur' books which are mutually contradictory, wildly unscholarly, and sometimes worse.

I would agree with the sceptics, not in giving up the procedure entirely, but in seeing it as a dead end unless it is supplemented in other ways. The Latin texts are too distant in time from Arthur's apparent floruit. The list of battles in Nennius, to use the name for convenience, is probably adapted from an earlier Welsh poem, but there is no telling how much earlier, or what exactly it said. Moreover, even taken at face value, the texts raise other chronological problems. For one thing, they spread Arthur's career over an incredible stretch of time. Two of Nennius's battles can be located with fair confidence, one at Chester and one in southern Scotland; they make sense only in the context of widespread Saxon raiding in alliance with Picts, which is attested by Gildas and Bede; and that phase can hardly have been much later than the 450s. Yet the "Annales" put the last battle of all, the 'strife of Camlann,' in 539 (or 537; there is a slight ambiguity). Was Arthur a centenarian when he fought it? This is no modern quibble. At least two medieval authors seem to have been aware of a crux. We might hope at least to locate him in some part of the time-range and then treat everything outside as spurious. Apparently, however, this cannot be done, because the Welsh matter nowhere supplies a chronological fix to calibrate him with known history.  We are never told that his first battle took place when X was emperor, or his last when Y was pope.

Even the stripping-away of legend doesn't really work. Reducing the evidence to what is in the "Historia Brittonum" and the "Annales" still fails to get rid of the problem. Thus, both credit Arthur with winning the battle of Badon. It was a real and important victory, mentioned by Gildas somewhere about the 530s when it was within living memory. It may have occurred near Swindon, or farther west, near Bath. But the Historia passage says Arthur slew 960 of the enemy single-handed in one charge. That need not invalidate the whole story of his campaigns, but it means that at least where Badon is concerned, legend-making has entered: a conclusion supported by two Arthurian fables in an appendix. The same may have happened in the "Annales" entry about this battle, which is disproportionately long because of the allusion to Arthur, itself rather curious and perhaps interpolated.

Some accept the 'strife of Camlann' entry as a p"Annales" appears to be real; a completely fictitious Arthur here, with no hint of interpolation, would be anomalous. What it says is that Arthur and Medraut, the original Modred or Mordred, fell at Camlann in 539. The trouble is that to isolate this incident as the sole fact not only upsets almost everything else because of the difficulty over dates, but also suggests that the whole vast cycle grew around a squabble of minor chiefs, otherwise unknown, at an unidentified place certainly far from the Saxon enemy whose repulse was the basis of the Arthurian glory. I, at least, cannot think my way from one to the other. The 'Camlann Arthur' who has been seriously proposed by Michael Wood, for instance, is a reductio ad absurdum of the method, showing that if you push it to its logical limit, the utmost it can offer is a minimal figure who explains nothing.

A more fruitful approach is to ask, not 'Did Arthur exist?' but 'How did the Arthurian Legend originate; what facts is it rooted in?' To do so is to acknowledge that this is a literary problem rather than a historical one, though with a hope that literary investigation may lead to historical insight. Such an approach casts the net wider and introduces a kind of lateral thinking. It allows, for instance, the consideration of Geoffrey of Monmouth, not in the sense of believing what he says about Arthur, but in the sense of asking what his raw materials were: sometimes, plainly, the aforesaid Welsh matter, but maybe not always. The investigation may lead to a real Arthur-figure or it may not. The first requirement is to try.

A crucial question is whether the Legend's roots are as far back as the period it professes to be about; or, to put this another way, whether the bards and story-tellers who created it were using traditions genuinely dating from that period. It is here that archaeology enters. It confirms the story of Saxon incursions into Britain and a phase when the advance more or less halted. However, it is far from confirming the Welsh-derived drama of large-scale warfare triumphantly ended by Arthur's victories. In that respect, it is of little help with the Legend as such. More promising are the results at specific sites.

Three places are outstandingly linked with Arthur. According to Geoffrey he was conceived in a ducal stronghold on the Tintagel headland, and it is generally assumed that he was born there. According to Caradoc of Llancarfan he had dealings with an abbot of Glastonbury, and the monks who exhibited a grave sixty years later said it was his and he was buried there. According to John Leland, citing Somerset lore later again, Arthur's Camelot was the ancient Cadbury hill-fort which can be seen from Glastonbury Tor. The Camelot of romance is fictitious, but a significant point about it is that it is not Britain's capital. It is Arthur's personal headquarters. The possibility of 'Camelot' having a basis in such a headquarters can fairly be entertained.

In all three instances, archaeology has proved occupancy and eminence in the period to which the Legend refers. Tintagel, formerly interpreted as a dark-age monastery, has emerged in recent years as a major centre, very likely a regional seat of government, during the fifth century. At Glastonbury a Christian community existed almost or quite as early, if perhaps on the higher ground rather than the site of the Abbey, and may have been the only one in that part of Britain. At Cadbury, excavation in 1966-70 showed that the hill-fort was reoccupied probably during the second half of the fifth century, and fortified with a new stone-and-timber rampart nearly three-quarters of a mile in perimeter, including a gatehouse. Excavation of other hill-forts has since shown reoccupation and refurbishment, but no full parallel for the great Cadbury fortification, with its gatehouse, has turned up anywhere else in post-Roman Britain. It implies a very special occupant with impressive resources of manpower: a king or chief unique (so far as present knowledge goes) in his time. 

These three places were picked as major locations of Arthur's story, and all three now stand revealed as important and apt in the right period. The implication is clear. At Tintagel the headland would have gone through a long phase of vacancy or near-vacancy before Geoffrey told his tale. He was not spinning a fantasy around famous ruins as he did at Caerleon, he knew some kind of tradition of the place's long-ago appropriateness. At Glastonbury the acceptance of Arthur's grave by Welshmen, against natural inclination, and the non-emergence of any rival grave, go far to establish a similar tradition irrespective of what the monks may have heard. At Cadbury, uninhabited for hundreds of years, even a modern archaeologist could not have detected the new fortification by inspection alone, without digging. It is really not to be supposed that the unknown person responsible for the Camelot identification chose the most plausible hill in Britain by a mere guess.

The people who focused on these places knew something about them. A purely accidental three-out-of-three score is beyond serious credence. They drew on traditions originating in the Britain to which they assigned Arthur, the Britain of the century or two after separation from Rome. That is truly where the Legend is rooted. All three places, by the way, are in the West Country, the former Dumnonia. Advocates of a northern Arthur have produced no comparable sites. Obviously Arthur, if he existed, could have been active in that part of Britain and inspired early bardic allusions, but nothing of consequence in the north gives him a birthplace or a headquarters or a grave, and the region's archaeology nowhere links up with any story of him. 

While Camlann might etymologically be Camboglanna, a northern Roman fort, the versions of Arthur's last battle never point to this fort or anywhere near it. There are two Camlanns in Wales, still called so, and even the claim of the Somerset river Cam is backed by a report of a mass burial. 

Given the apparent body of tradition we can venture a little further and glimpse a few individuals embedded in it from whom Arthurian characters are derived. The distant original of Uther's brother Aurelius Ambrosius is a fifth-century British war-leader, Ambrosius Aurelianus; he is mentioned by Gildas and Bede, and a continuity in legend is witnessed by Nennius. The distant original of Mark in the Tristan story is seemingly a certain Marcus, likewise Roman-named, with a father Marcianus who was called after a mid-fifth-century emperor. Romancers gave Marcus a role as King Mark of Cornwall that may be fictitious, but the Marcianus connection shows that he was 'there,' so to speak, from a very early stage. Was Arthur there also, perhaps as a real person, perhaps as an imaginary hero? Or was he inserted in the traditions later when they had undergone development?

His name favours the first alternative. 'Arthur' is a Welsh form of the Roman Artorius,' not common, but adequately attested. Arthur falls into place alongside Ambrosius, Marcus, and others in the same category, during a phase when Roman influence lingered. Furthermore, there is a sequel. In the latter part of the sixth century, when Roman names in general had faded out, this hitherto rare one began to enjoy a vogue. Several Arthurs are on record up and down Britain, including a Scottish prince. They are best explained as having been named after a hero established in song and story; and therefore alive or invented earlier, with a long enough interval to carry his bardic fame beyond his own people.

As for his historicity or otherwise, two arguments can be dismissed. Critics have urged that because he is credited with fantastic feats, such as his singlehanded slaughter at Badon, he cannot have been real. But fantastic feats were ascribed in America to Davy Crockett, who was real enough. Most were tongue-in-cheek "tall tales," but they were current and popular, and within a year or two of his death at the Alamo, he was seriously alleged to have killed 85 Mexicans during the siege; not 960, admittedly, but still a pretty wild number, and after a much shorter time for exaggeration. It was formerly claimed that anyone said to have slain a dragon must be fictitious. Yet several reputed dragon-slayers, in the Balkans for instance, were undoubtedly real. Far-fetched elements in a story do not discredit the entire story. Far-fetched elements in a career do not disprove its protagonist's reality. Baron Munchausen himself was real.




Gildas wrote around 540, and said that the Battle of Mount Badon occurred 44 years previously, putting the death in 496. This clearly implies that Arthur died in the Battle of Mount Badon, which is not the case.

Arthur's death has been reported in several different versions of his legend spanning almost ten centuries. 

The earliest Latin works, started with the monks Gildas, Bede, and Nennius, writing in A.D. 540, 731 and 800, respectively. Then, there was the Annales Cambriae of 960, followed by William of Malmesbury's work in

Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Brittaniae was written c. 1136. Geoffrey Ashe, writing in the 20th century explored the possible historicity of his namesake's chief character, attempting to show a correspondence between Arthur's actions and the actions of a fifth century "King of the Britons" named Riothamus. 

There is also the English priest Layamon's translation and expansion of the Frenchman Wace's reworking of Geoffrey's Historia. Layamon's work is followed by the Vulgate Cycle, also known as the Prose Lancelot for its focus on Sir Lancelot du Lac and because it is written in prose instead of poetry. The last work is Morte Arthure, a Middle English work of the fourteenth century written by an unknown author.

King Arthur is one such hero, known perhaps over all other mythical and other medieval figures as a chivalrous knight, a powerful warrior and a just and intelligent leader.

In the year A.D. 540 in Gildas' wrote about the history and conquest of Britain. While Gildas interspersed a lot of proselytizing with his history, he is a valuable source because he lived so close to the supposed real life of King Arthur. 

In A.D. 731, there is the Venerable Bede, writing the Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum. There is also Historia Brittonum of Nennius c. A.D. 800, which lists many battles of Arthur's, which is the first work to mention Arthur by name. 

There are also Celtic sources from which Arthurian legends spring, including The Mabinogion and the Annales Cambriae (A.D. 960), a year by year listing of historical events including two important entries about King Arthur. 

In William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum Anglorum (A.D. 1125) there is mention of Arthur's tomb and the beginnings of the myths about King Arthur's possible return. In the early material is Giraldus Cambrensis' De Principis Instructione where we are told that Arthur's grave has been found in Glastonbury, also known as the Isle of Avalon. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Brittaniae (History of the Kings of Britain) written c. 1136 is the basis for almost all of the Arthurian legends that we know today and the basis for arguments about Arthur's real-life existence.

Arthur's death was written in an entry in the Annales Cambriae, Welsh Annals, around A.D. 950. It reads, "Year [537] The Battle of Camlann, in which Arthur and Medraut fell..." 

The Welsh Annals have an entry for Arthur's death including a place name, Camlann.

Geoffrey sates that Arthur went to the Isle of Avalon to heal after his final battle.

Geoffrey claimed that Arthur's tomb is nowhere to be found, however it was found after he died. 

In 1195, Giraldus Cambrensis mentions Arthur's tomb in his De Principis Instructione (On the Instruction of Princes), "Now the body of King Arthur...was found in these our days at Glastonbury deep down in the earth and encoffined in a hollow oak.. The letters in the tomb say: HERE LIES BURIED THE RENOWNED KING ARTHUR WITH GUENEVERE HIS SECOND WIFE IN THE ISLE OF AVALON" The tomb was found in Glaston, which was in ancient times called the isle of Avalon. In the British tongue it was called Inis Avallon, that is 'the apple-bearing isle'. Morganis, a noble matron and the ruler and lady of the area, and who was kin by blood to King Arthur, carried him away after the war of Camlan to the island that is now called Glaston that she might heal his wounds. 

Almost every author puts Arthur's death in a different year. The Welsh Annalsa date of 539, while Geoffrey tells of his passing in 542, and Wace puts the date of 642. Gildas wrote around 540, and said that the Battle of Mount Badon occurred 44 years previously, putting the death in 496.

At the report of Modred's treason: Arthur cancelled the attack which he had planned to make on Leo, the Emperor of the Romans.  Leo I, reigned at Constantinople from 457 to 474. Arthur's Gallic warfare therefore took place between 457 and 474, and because we know that Leo was the Eastern Emperor during those times, Arthur could not have died after 474.

Geoffrey speaks of a Pope called Sulpicius, who didn't exist, but the name is thought to be a garbling of the name Simplicius, who reigned from 468 to 483. He was Pope during six full years when Leo was Emperor, 468 to 474.  

There is a great deal of evidence suggesting that Arthur was in fact another man referred to as "Riothamus, King of the Britons." According to Adam Levin, in his thesis, in British, the name "Riothamus" is rendered "Rigotamus." The first part, "Rig", means "kingly" or "king," and takes on the "-o" in a compound. The second part is a superlative ending, as "-est" in "kindest." Thus, the word literally means "king-most" or "supreme king," as the modern word "generalissimo." As an adjective, it would mean "most kingly." In later centuries, it appears as a proper name, "Riatham" in Breton and "Rhiadaf" in Welsh." It is not unheard of that a great ruler be known by a title instead of a name.

A writer named Jordanes wrote the Gothic History in 551 referencing Riotimus as "King of the Britons", who came by way of the channel to fight the war. After the battle, from Jordanes we know that Riothamus fled toward Burgundy--toward Avalon. 

While King Arthur was off fighting this battle, Mordred crowned himself King of Britain and lived in adultery with Queen Quenevere. 

There was an ensuing battle between Arthur and Mordred. Mordred raised a total of eighty thousand troops and met Arthur when the latter landed at Richborough. Euric raised an "innumerable army," possibly eighty to one hundred thousand troops. The meeting place is not certain. It is possible that Instead of Arthur's meeting Mordred on the coast of Britain, Euric may have met Arthur on the coast of Gaul, or perhaps the two leaders met inland, near Bourges.  The two leaders rallied their men and attacked at the River Camblam. Arthur's division assailed Mordred's battalion and killed him. In the ensuing chaos, Arthur fell. In the end, Geoffrey tells us that "Arthur himself...was mortally wounded and was carried off to the Isle of Avalon, so that his wounds might be attended to".

Though other authors have written about other dates, this version fits the facts best.


Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset, England. The Abbey was founded in 700 AD and is said to be the resting-place of King Arthur. Henry VIII destroyed the Abbey in 1539 after the Dissolution. The monks claimed that this was Avalon.  However, it is speculated that this site was hoaxed so the church could raise money from tourism.  Glastonbury is believed to be the place known in Authurian lore as the Isle of Avalon. According to the legend, Arthur, after being mortally wounded by Mordred, was taken by a sacred boat to Avalon. And it is in Avalon that Arthur awaits the day when Britain requires his services as the "once and future king".

Another opinion: Arthur legends date back to the 6th Century. They are spread wide across the British mainland from Cornwall to the very northern tip of Scotland. So why go against popular ideology, and put Arthur in Scotland, rather than England or Wales? Because it is more likely that he did in fact come from Scotland.

MYNYDD-Y-GAER - Burial Place of Uther, Arthur or Athrwys?

Sir Thomas Malory tells us in his "Le Morte D'Arthur" that Camelot was "called in English, Winchester". He reports of the main church there that twelve of Arthur's defeated enemies "were buried in the Church of St. Stephen's in Camelot" and that Arthur "the King was wedded at Camelot unto Dame Guenever in the Church of St. Stephen's, with great solemnity." Caxton, Malory's publisher, however, clearly states in the book's introduction that Camelot was in Wales. Chrétien De Troyes, the man to first coin the phrase Camelot, relates, in his tale of Lancelot, how Arthur held court there having recently moved on from Caerleon, thus implying the proximity of the two.

The Theory: A hypothesis, particularly stressed by Barber and Pykitt, suggests that Malory knew well the identification of the Arthurian Camelot with the Roman town of Venta. However, possibly influenced by existing Medieval tradition, he misinterpreted this as the town of Venta Belgarum (Winchester) rather than Venta Silurum (Caerwent). Or maybe readers have simply misunderstood Malory's writings. He writes "Camelot that is (called) in English, Winchester". Caerwent (alias Camelot) would indeed be called Winchester if translated from Welsh into English.

Arthurian Sites in England

Camlann is Arthur's final battlefield on Salisbury Plain where he received his mortal wound by Mordred. The name "Camlamm" is probably derived from the British word Camboglanna, which means "crooked bank" (of a river), or Cambolanda, "crooked enclosure."

Camlann is mentioned in a few of the triads, particularily in the one headed "Three Unrestrained Ravages," which describes the events leading up the final battle between Arthur and Mordred. Also mentioned in "Three Futile Battles," Camlann is describes as a bloody and tragic clash that was the result of a feud with Mordred.


A small church was built here by Joseph of Arimathea; the rest of the island is inhabited by a race of women who know all the magic in the world. It was here that King Arthur came with Merlin and a hand reached out of the water and offered him the sword Excalibur, which served him throughout his life. It is said that the hand belonged to the Lady of the Lake. Having received the sword in Avalon, Arthur was required to return it there upon his death. Sir Bedivere threw Excalibur back into the lake and the same hand appeared again, caugth the sword, and brandished it before disappearing. King Arthur returned to Avalon to die, and from here he as borne by four queens — Morgan le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, the Queen of Northgales and the Queen of the Wastelands — on his last voyage. The island itself is a place of lakes and rock, with deep meadows and wooded hollows, where no wind blows and rain, hail, and snow have never been known to fall.

Geoffrey of Monmouth describes the island as a place with the agreeable qualities of the Fortunate Isles of classical myth. Morgan le Fay rules the island and is the leader of a sisterhood of nine Otherworldly maidens, as described in The Spoils of Annwfn. Arthur is entrusted to the care of Morgan for the healing of his battle wounds, where she places him on a golden bed to recover.

Some schools of thought hold that Arthur is still alive in Avalon and will return to Britain to be their future king. Other beliefs are that Glastonbury is the site of the true Avalon, and that Arthur is buried there.



A book entitled 'Holy Blood Holy Grail, written by authors Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Harry Lincoln present some ideas that, to start with, seem very peculiar. These ideas concern, amongst others, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the Cathars, the Knights Templar and the myth of the Holy Grail which we find in the medieval tales about King Arthur. In these tales, the Grail is described as a chalice, or as a stone, that can present unlimited amounts of food, light and power to the person who asks the right questions. 

In 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' we find the following thoughts and assumptions: The Holy Grail in French 'san
greal', might well be, if we move the 'g', 'sang real', which means 'royal blood', and indicate a bloodline which originated from Jesus. The assumption is made that he was married to Mary Magdalene, who gave birth to his son.

When Magdalene fled to France after the crucifixion, the child was with her. From this child a family would have emanated that brought the bloodline through the French royal family 'the Merovingians' and other families to our time. Presumably a purpose of these descendants would have been to reinstate a one of their number on the royal throne of Jerusalem, a position that Jesus himself by right should have had. 

Behind all this there is a secret order, most commonly known as 'Prieuré de Sion'. Their all encompassing
purpose is to reinstate the dynasty of the Merovingians, decending from Jesus, onto the thrones of France and of Europe. This secret order, still active today, founded the Knights Templar and has been behind all the attempts through the centuries to bring the bloodline of Jesus to royal power in Europe. Attempts that, to a certain extent, have succeded as in the case with the royal house of Hapsburg. Through time, we find as leaders in this secret order personalities such as Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Isaac Newton and Victor Hugo, to mention the most renowned. These people are not claimed to have been part of the family of Jesus. But they are said to have participated in the alternative cultural movement that had to go underground in the 13th and 14th century after the obliteration of the Cathars and the Knights Templar. 

In the scripture 'Pistis Sofia', there is a conversation between Peter and Magdalene where Peter complains that Magdalene dominates the talks with Jesus and through doing that, she deprives Peter and his apostle brothers their rightful position of precedence. He asks Jesus to quieten her down but is soon reprimanded. Later Magdalene confesses to Jesus that she hardly dares to talk to Peter because he, with her own words, "Peter makes me doubtful, he frightens me because he hates the female race." 

A common view is that this opposition between Peter and Magdalene, that can be found in several places, for example in the 'Gospel of Thomas' and 'the Egyptian Gospel', mirrors some of the tensions within Christianity during the 3rd century. Peter represents the orthodox interpretation that denies inner enlightenment and rejects the right of women to preach. In 'the Gospel of Mary' this idea is turned upside down with the description of Mary Magdalene. Here it is evident that she is considered to be a disciple, and furthermore, the one that is closest to Jesus! She is the Saviour's beloved one and has a knowledge and wisdom that is superior to the apostolic tradition. Her superiority is founded on her visions and experiences and is demonstrated by her capacity to convince diciples in doubt and turn them to God. 

In 'The Gospel of Philip', the rivalry between the male disciples and Magdalene is described like this:  "And the companion to the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. The Lord loved her more than all the diciples and many times he greeted her with a kiss on her mouth. The other diciples were offended by this... They said: "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Saviour answered, "Why do you presume that I love you as her?" " There are circumstances that maybe have bypassed early church censorship, that very strongly indicate that Jesus would have been married. Even in the altered versions of the New Testament, he is many times referred to as 'the Rabbi'. Nobody could be called Rabbi in the orthodox Judaism unless he was married. The Fathers of the Church presumably did not know enough about the Jewish law to 'correct' this. 

There evidently seems to be a significant opposition between Peter, who becomes the first church leader, and Magdalene who escapes after the crucifixion, probably through Egypt, and later, according to the legend, to the south of France where she becomes close to a national Saint and an object to worship. 

During the centuries following the death of Jesus, there gradually developed a real battle between two main lines within Christianity. Between the different gnostic beliefs and the more dogmatic ones, where the the latter, in the 3rd and 4th centuries, becomes victorious. The 'victors' write, as we know, history. Documents from the losers often disappear and consequently we are left with the winner's version of the argumentation.  Roughly one can say that the Gnostics believed in a dualistic struggle between good and bad in our existence, but that we could be delivered through 'gnosis', inner knowledge. Also there was a belief that Jesus was an ordinary person who had achieved this and that each and every one of us, through inner self-cultivation, could do the same. The more dogmatic and literal believers, declared Jesus holy and made an institution of the actual belief in him. 

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This bloodline also connects to the de Medici family which supported Christopher Columbus and produced
Catherine de Medici, the Queen of France who died in 1589. Her doctor was Nostradamus: It includes Rene d'Anjou, Duke of Lorraine, and the House of Lorraine which employed Nostradamus and Christopher Columbus. The bloodline relatives of the de Medicis and the House of Lorraine, Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Spain, were also sponsors of Columbus when he "discovered" the Americas. 

This bloodline also includes the Habsburgs, the most powerful family in Europe under the Holy Roman Empire; Geoffrey Plantagenet and the Plantagenet royal dynasty in England; King John, who signed the Magna Carta; King Henry Ist, II, and III, who were extremely close to the Knights Templar, as was King John; Mary Stuart and the Stuart Dynasty, including King James Ist of England, sponsor of the King James version of the Bible; King George Ist, II, and III; Edward Ist, II, and III, Queen Victoria; Edward VII; George V and VI; Queen Elizabeth II; Prince Charles and Elizabeth's other offspring, Anne, Andrew and Edward; Princes William and Harry from Charles' "marriage" to Princess Diana; US Presidents, George Washington, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and George Bush are all named in the charts as strands of this bloodline; it was passed on to the year 2000 US presidential favorite, George W. Bush Jr., and his brother, Jeb Bush, the Governor of Florida. 

In fact if you go deeply enough into the genealogical research you will find that ALL the presidents are from this line. Genealogical sources, like the New England Historical Genealogical Society and Burkes Peerage, have shown that 33 of the 42 presidents to Clinton are related to Charlemagne and 19 are related to England's Edward III, both of whom are of this bloodline. A spokesman for Burkes Peerage, the bible of royal and aristocratic genealogy based in London, has said that every presidential election since and including George Washington in 1789 has been won by the candidate with the most royal genes. Now we can see how and why. United States presidents are not chosen by ballot, they are chosen by blood! 

This same bloodline also includes key Scottish families like the Lords of Galloway and the Comyns;
Marie-Louise of Austria, who married Napoleon Bonaparte; Kaiser Wilhelm II, the king of Germany at the time of the First World War; and Maximilian, the Habsburg emperor of Mexico, who died in 1867. On and on it goes into country after country. This bloodline connects into every surviving royal family in Europe, including King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Dutch, Swedish, and Danish royal lines. 




The book by Laurence Gardner

Publisher: Element Books
ISBN: 1862041113

Did Jesus marry and have children? If so, what happened to his family? Are descendants of his still alive today? 

At last the truth can be told. This extraordinary and controversial book, packed with intrigue, begins where others have ended. Laurence Gardner has been granted privileged access to European Sovereign and Noble archives, along with favored insight into Chivalric and Church repositories. He proves for the first time that there
is a royal heritage of the Messiah in the West, and documents the systematic and continuing suppression of records tracing the descent of the sacred lineage by regimes down the centuries. 

This unique book gives a detailed genealogical account of the authentic line of succession of the Blood Royal from the sons of Jesus and his brother James down to the present day. It casts penetrating new light on the Bible story and onto the enigmatic figures of Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene, and on the real truth behind the Arthurian legends and the Holy Grail. There is also a fascinating history of the Knights Templars of Jerusalem. 

LAURENCE GARDNER, Prior of the Celtic Church`s Sacred Kindred of Saint Columba, is an internationally known sovereign and chivalric genealogist. Distinguished as the Chevalier Labhran de Saint Germain, he is Presidential Attache to the European Council of Princes -- a constitutional advisory body established in 1946. He is formally attached to the noble household guard of the Royal House of Stewart, founded at St Germain-en-Laye in 1692, and is the Jacobite Historiographer Royal. 


Mar 23, 2003


By Professor Alan D. Whanger, M.D. and Mary W. Whanger

Council for Study of the Shroud of Turin, Durham, NC USA

Contact: Professor Alan D. Whanger, M.D. and Mary W. Whanger

Council for Study of the Shroud of Turin, Durham, NC USA

March 2003 -- A new discovery on the Shroud of Turin by Alan and Mary Whanger, major researchers on the Shroud since 1979, shows the image of a second Crown of Thorns, one of the most famous objects in history.

In 1987 they identified the image of a large bonnet-style Crown of Thorns over the right shoulder of the Man of the Shroud. The recently identified second Crown is a circlet which matches the size and shape of the traditional and well-known Crown of Thorns in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which is a woven band of rushes with no thorns.

These discoveries help to authenticate the Shroud of Turin as well as to provide important historical and archaeological evidence.

The unique second Crown is the one the Whangers feel was mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John that was plaited by the Roman soldiers and placed on Jesus' head to mock him as King of the Jews. In all of history, there is no mention of a crown of thorns in connection with any individual other than Jesus.

A major factor in the discovery of each of the Crowns was the identification of the images of thorns and thistles among the large number of floral and other non-body images that are found on the Shroud. These have been the focus of much of the Whangers' image analysis research using many very high-grade somewhat enhanced photographs of the Shroud. They have shown that the images on the Shroud are complex radiation images, mostly resembling electrostatic or corona images which are faint, partial and fragmented.

They identified the images of the large Gundelia tournefortii thorn which makes up the bonnet-like Crown, sprigs of the Zizyphus spina-christi thorn still embedded in the back of the neck, and multiple thistle images. The identity of all these and about twenty other floral images has been confirmed by Dr. Avinoam Danin, Professor of Botany at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and world authority on the flora of the Near East. Also, many have been confirmed by the identification of their pollen grains on sticky tapes taken from the Shroud in 1973 and 1978 by Dr. Max Frei.

The Crown of Thorns was reportedly found by Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, when she opened the traditional tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem in 326. It was also reported in the Royal Treasury in Constantinople in 1201, and was taken to Paris in 1238 by King Louis of France. The historical descriptions are often vague, but in 1350 there was a Crown of Thorns described in Paris and a second one in Constantinople.

Examination of the bloodstains on the Shroud shows about 40 puncture wounds extending from the mid-forehead to the low back of the neck. The only way to produce this pattern would be for the individual to have two crowns of thorns on his head at the same time.

The Whangers conclude that the recently identified Crown is the "King's Crown" of the Scriptures which had thorns and thistles stuck into a woven band worn over the back of the head like the Roman Emperor.

In pondering why there was a second Crown of Thorns, they finally concluded that the Roman soldiers put it together to mock the multi-tiered bonnet-like crown of the Jewish High Priest.

Thus the Shroud gives evidence that Jesus was doubly mocked as both King and High Priest during the Crucifixion.

The findings of the images of the thorns and thistles, which are common in Jerusalem, and of the objects in the shapes of two Crowns of Thorns made by some type of radiation process about 30 hours after the death of the scourged and crucified Jewish man shown front and back all help to authenticate the Shroud and its image as indeed that of Jesus of Nazareth at the pivotal moment in human history.

RNS is an Advance Publications/Newhouse News Service company. Copyright © 2003 Religion News Service®. All rights reserved.



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