And even though I want to believe that it belonged to Jesus, I think it would be better if it remained a mystery.Benjamin, Pittsburgh, USA Time heals all wounds, solves all mystery, and buries all truth. This debate will only be solved after UFOs and the Kennedy assassination.They only way any truth can be gained from the shroud is through testing it's age again - to get some measure of certainty.David Appleyard, Halifax, UK The Shroud is one of the most intriguing antiquities in the world. Tradition has often been confirmed by scientific investigation.The author dismisses 1988 carbon-14 dating tests which concluded that the linen sheet was a medieval fake.
Fire damage He says he was originally dubious of untested claims that the 1988 sample was taken from a re-weave.Raymond Rogers says his research and chemical tests show the material used in the 1988 radiocarbon analysis was cut from a medieval patch woven into the shroud to repair fire damage.It was this material that was responsible for an invalid date being assigned to the original shroud cloth, he argues.It is said to have been restored by nuns who patched the holes and stitched the shroud to a reinforcing material known as the Holland cloth."[The radiocarbon sample] has obvious painting medium, a dye and a mordant that doesn't show anywhere else," Mr Rogers explained."It was embarrassing to have to agree with them," Mr Rogers told the BBC News website.The 4m-long linen sheet was damaged in several fires since its existence was first recorded in France in 1357, including a church blaze in 1532.These tests revealed the presence of a chemical called vanillin in the radiocarbon sample and in the Holland cloth, but not the rest of the shroud.Vanillin is produced by the thermal decomposition of lignin, a chemical compound found in plant material such as flax.That led to the then Cardinal of Turin, Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, admitting the garment was a hoax.Michael Minor, vice-president of the American Shroud of Turin Association for Research, commented: "This is the most significant news about the Shroud of Turin since the C-14 dating was announced in 1988. But [the new research] is saying that they dated the rewoven area." But since the announcement of the 1988 results, several attempts have been made to challenge the authenticity of these tests.