Friday, February 20, 2015

Might the Shroud of Turin properly be described as a 'proximity imprint' in sweat and blood, real or simulated, to distinguish it from Freeman's faded painting?

"Thinks:  I'm getting bored doing these selfies. What could I do next - maybe on a religious theme?" NOT!!!

The Shroud of Turin is certainly not a painting. The mainly US-based STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) task force showed as much in 1981, searching for but failing to find known artists' pigments, bar a few flecks of iron oxide (artists' red ochre?).

STURP's conclusions (1981), opening sentence: Click to ENLARGE.  STURP rejected out of hand any idea that the Shroud was a painted image. Has anyone told CharlesF?

While the origin of those latter particles is still uncertain (contamination?) one thing was certain: the sepia image did not comprise inorganic material, as per red ochre and/or other medieval paint pigments. Its spectral and chemical properties showed it was due to some kind of molecular change in the linen fibres per se - and a highly superficial one at that -  affecting the topmost 200nm of the weave, the thickness of gold leaf.

The most probable interpretation is of a chemical modification similar to that produced by scorching with a hot object. That  causes linen carbohydrates to undergo a range of subtle though permanent changes - chemical dehydration (i.e. loss of hydrogen and oxygen atoms in a 2:1 ratio), oxidation, cross-linking, formation of conjugated double bonds.  The latter, by absorbing visible blue light, results in a yellow discoloration.  We're told the Shroud image is not a scorch, only scorch-like.  Well, that may or may not be true, but today this posting is not about mechanism. It's about terminology.

Getting the right words to describe the Shroud image into the media and public domain has acquired a new urgency of late, given the recent claims that attempt to undo decades of research.  I refer to historian Charles Freeman's claim that the TS is merely an age-degraded painting.  I've said quite a lot on that score already elsewhere, as indeed have others, and have little more to add, except to say that Mr. Freeman needs to get up to speed with Shroud science, and disabuse himself of the idea that it's all about art history. The TS is arguably NOT about art. It's an artefact, intended for purposes other than mere artistic expression. Works of art do not generally result in the issue of Pilgrims' Badges (Lirey, France, circa 1357).

However, thanks to the robotic and mindless Google algorithm, Charles's misguided notions will no doubt survive for a while, at least on the internet.

Never underestimate the power of Google to give staying power to undeserving ideas, ones that can hang in there for months, sometimes years, thanks to sensationalist click-bait reporting. Charles Freeman's unreconstructed pre-STURP thinking is still listed 3rd and 5th when one googles (shroud of turin).

It's no longer sufficient in this blogger's view to continue describing the TS as a "faint image". That is too non-specific and makes it too easy for CF to peddle his antediluvian views (if STURP can be thought of as supplying a flood of new information).  "Faint image" or even faint NEGATIVE image simply does not do the business (CF having closed his eyes completely to the  implications of the tone-reversal implied by the descriptor "negative"). No, we need new updated terminology that makes it clear that the TS is not just any old "faint image", but one with very special, indeed unique properties that sets it apart from other pictorial representations of the human form. While that terminology cannot and must not attempt to impose a new orthodoxy regarding mechanism, actual or conjectural, it is entitled in my view to guide thinking in the right direction, while leaving key details unspecified.

So what is that terminology to be?

One has to be neither  pro- nor anti-authenticity to regard the TS image as an IMPRINT.

 Definition of "imprint" (noun): Free Dictionary:



1. a mark or indentation impressed on something.

2. any impression or impressed effect.

That straight away puts clear blue water between those who have taken on board three crucial aspects of the TS image and those who ignore all of those, claiming it was simply painted.

They are:

1. The life-size double image on an up-and-over sheet of linen, showing frontal and dorsal surfaces but importantly not sides or top of head, which implies IMPRINTING not painting.

Durante 2002/Shroud Scope image, frontal (left), dorsal (right) with some added contrast. Faded painting? Or some kind of whole body imprint on up-and-over linen, real or simulated? Note the negative (tone-reversed) nature of the image.

2. An imprinting mechanism explains the negative image, in which the most prominent features that in a photograph would look light through reflecting light appear dark because they are the ones that make closest contact with linen. (Whether actual contact or mere proximity alone is needed will be considered shortly|).

As above, after tone-reversal, displaying the remarkable transformation first discovered by Secondo Pia in 1898. Painting? How many free-hand paintings (as distinct from imprints) are produced as negatives, requiring modern technology centuries later to restore the proper tonal contrasts?

3. The 3D-properties of the TS negative image which contrary to early reports is not unique to the TS, but in fact are easily modelled  with contact-only imprints, e.g. model scorches from a heated template as this blogger and others has demonstrated, e.g. with a brass crucifix.

 The as-is Shroud image above, before tone-reversal, after 3D enhancement. Results at least as good, and indeed generally better than this, can be obtained with imprints from model systems, e.g. contact scorches from heated brass templates.

Those three characteristics as I say are not only consistent with, but entirely predictable from an imprinting process. They are neither consistent with nor predictable from free-hand painting. Let's say no more about painting, and try now to refine the terminology. "Imprint" is a start.  Can one improve on that?

Let's go back to STURP, and look at what its documenting photographer (or the best-known of them) had to say in 2000:

Is the Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph?
A critical examination of the theory.
Barrie M.Schwortz (2000)

"The STURP team concluded that there was a correlation between the density (or darkness) of the image on the Shroud and the distance the cloth was from the body at the time the image was formed. The researchers calculated that the image on the Shroud was formed at a cloth-to-body distance of up to approximately 4 centimeters, but beyond that, imaging did not occur. The closer the cloth was to the body, the darker the resulting image in that area, with the darkest parts of the image being formed where there was direct contact between the two. The image became proportionately lighter as the distance increased until it reached the maximum imaging distance."

Left to me I would have described the TS image as probably, indeed almost certainly a CONTACT imprint, such as can be modelled with hot templates. But the view exists, articulated above, and emanating in main from STURP physicist John Jackson PhD, that the TS image is not contact-only, but from modelling studies (at any rate)  appears to allow imaging across modest air gaps that do not exceed approx 4cm.  Personally, I think that latitude in allowing an air gap is a defect of the presumed imaging model, one that assumes a linen cloth spread loosely over a real corpse, and making only partial contact under gravity. That's a pro-authenticity scenario. However, the modeller who takes the radiocarbon dating on trust (1260-1390) is not constrained by that gravity-only assumption bringing cloth into close proximity, indeed physical contact with a real body. There's Luigi Garlaschelli's model for starters which used a live volunteer and manual frottage with powdered pigments, dry or as a slurry. Manual 'moulding' allows for greater contact especially in the awkward areas where cloth might tend to bridge gaps instead of following the contours. Then there's my own LOTTO method of scorch-imprinting: Linen On Top, Then (damp) Overlay, which also allows for moulding of linen to physical relief of a 3D or bas relief template.

Ler's not prejudge who is right, who is wrong.  Let's assume that all that's required is close proximity between a body and/or inanimate template that tolerates air gaps up to 4cm. 

It's an imprint, and it's one that requires close proximity .

Let's call the TS image a "proximity imprint".

Caveat: I've tried to be inclusive here, allowing for the possibility that  the image to have been produced by a burst of radiation (unspecified, see critique by the estimable Bernard Power ), and able to operate across air gaps. Without attempting to read  the minds of 'resurrection radiationists', whether it's electromagnetic radiation or even wackier subatomic particles - notably neutrons-  that are proposed, might they consider the term "imprint", even modified with "proximity" as a potential poisoned chalice? Well, I've given a little thought to that, and followed up with some googling. What do I find?  Those 'radiationist' ideas have already filtered through to the mainstream media under the heading "imprints".

Here's a sample:

If there's some grimacing then, it's from me, not them. I say an imprint implies a contact mechanism. A radiation mechanism that can operate across an air gap is better described surely as one involving projection and light capture, the latter requiring all kinds of ancillary hardware (lenses, collimating systems, light-sensitive emulsions etc - a far cry from simple contact-imprinting). But if they are happy for radiation- mediated imaging to be described as imprinting, then that's fine by me, at least for the time being, one where I regard the immediate road block/obstruction as Charles Freeman with his simplistic paint-based scenario  - one that attempts to turn the clock back on decades of Shroud research. One needs to get to grips with "negative image" and "3D properties", Charles, and quick, and cease lecturing us on how we have ignored the effects of wear and tear.  No we haven't. This blogger was using Shroud Scope well over two years ago to report indications of delamination of blood stains (blood being arguably a kind of paint pigment) and indeed finding evidence that had indeed happened, with implications for the blood first/image second dogma - no need to enlarge on that right now.

Takeaway message: don't make things too easy for Charles Freeman. Stop referring to a faint or faded Shroud image. Refer instead to a 'proximity imprint'.  "Imprint" alone will do if one is averse to qualifying adjectives...

Afterthought: the earliest known attempt to represent the Shroud post-Lirey was (I 'm given to understand) the 1516 Lier copy, i.e. some century and a half after its first known public display.

Whilst that copy was clearly painted (there being no attempt on the part of artist to conceal that fact) there is no indication that what being shown was a  considered a painting - quite the contrary in fact.

The Lier copy looks for all the world like the present day Shroud - a faint double body IMPRINT - the product of mechanical impression - not a painting.  The body image per se (excluding blood and curiously-coloured burn holes) is monochrome, suggestive of a sweat imprint.

Unrelated (or scarcely so) to the above, I've just come across this fascinating article:

Rembrandt thickened paints with flour

Two noteworthy points:

1. While paint was built up in a series of layers (I was searching to find typical paint thickness) each layer is described as incredibly thin - typically a thousandth of a mm. However, that is enormous compared with the claimed 200-600nm (nanometre) thickness of the TS image layer. A thousandth of a millimetre is a micrometre, and a micrometre is 1000 nm, so each paint layer of which there could be several could be up to 5 times as thick as the TS image.

2. There's a reference to a physical (and presumably non-destructive) technique for probing the superficial layers on ancient works of art.

Here's the relevant passage (my bolding):

First the researchers took a cross-section from a miniscule section of the painting. Then they used a variety of methods to probe the layers, including a technique called Time of Fly -- Secondary Ion Mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). This technique involves sending a focused, high-energy beam of ions at the layered sample, then observing the ions that bounce back.
By analyzing the energy and chemical nature of the ejected ions, scientists can deduce detailed information about the types of elements and chemical bonds held within. For the second greyish layer of paint on the "Portrait of Nicolaes van Bambeeck," the scan showed, Rembrandt mixed oil and a small amount of lead with wheat flour.
 Might I suggest that you add that to your "Must Do" list, Turn custodians (preferably this century).

Update, 20:00  Feb 21: I see below a review of this posting on Dan Porter's shroudstory site that "there is a problem with JImage (sic)".

Link to comment

It seems to be prompted by my stating as verifiable fact that simple contact scorches respond as well if not better than the Turin Shroud in ImageJ software.

Might it also have been provoked by his noting that the 1532 burn marks respond to 3D enhancement in ImageJ (see my result above)?

It's time to draw a line under the "encoded" 3D-mystique that attaches to the Turin Shroud. The reason that the TS image, model scorch imprints and burn marks all respond to ImageJ is NOT because there is something "wrong" with ImageJ.  It's because ImageJ does what ImageJ does - namely converts image density into pseudo-3D relief in proportion to image density. I say "pseudo" because it's a simple job to show that ImageJ can be used to create pseudo-3D in 2D graphics that have never had any prior 3D history. I reported that on this site last summer, posting this result:

And here's a variant, entirely monochrome, and using a 'spray gun' (MS Paint) to create a gradient of image density:

Top: homemade 2D figure entered into ImageJ. Bottom: result after 3D rendering with two levels of smoothing - low (left) and high (right)

Even earlier I showed how a Mickey Mouse cartoon also responds, after a fashion, to ImageJ.

If anyone thinks or suspects that they have a 2D image that has some mysteriously-encoded 3D information that can only be detected in special software - nothing so easily-downloadable as ImageJ -  that only they know about, then the onus is on them to do what I have done above, namely to enter home-made 2D graphics with no 3D history into their gee-whizz software and show they do NOT respond. It's called being scientific (as distinct from mystique-mongering) which, though I hesitate to say it, adequately sums up 90% or more of post-STURP so-called  'Shroud-research' (including I might add that of some erstwhile demob-happy STURP team members).

Update Sunday Feb 22

I've previously compared the response of Shroud Scope images with my model scorch imprints, and reported the results. From memory the two were comparable, as indicated above. Tracking down those images has proved harder than I thought. The solution was obvious - simply do it again.  I've used a cropped scorch imprint onto linen from my small brass crucifix, about 15 cm high (a necessary caveat if minded to make quality comparisons).

TS frontal image, Shroud Scope (left) contrast-enhanced versus scorch imprint from brass crucifix (right). Appearance after 3D enhancement in ImageJ, with displayed settings.

Result confirmed. The two responses are much the same. Note too that lateral distortion, while apparent in the model scorch image, was not sufficient as often claimed to make for a grotesque result.

Further update, still Sunday.

As I feared, the suggestion that "imprint" be adopted as a description for the TS image has not been universally well-received. The term is thought to be loaded in favour of a contact-only mechanism, despite prefacing it with "proximity" and despite being used previously by those who mechanisms do not require actual physical contact.

The reason for making common cause with champions of pro-authenticity was not to make them drink from a poisoned chalice, as stated earlier, but to find some means of nudging Charles Freeman and his paint pigments out of mainstream Shroud research, and hopefully out of its totally undeserved media attention.

Well, I'm flexible, and certainly not trying to sneak a semantic Trojan horse into beleaguered Fort Pro-Authenticity.

Here's another suggestion. Refer to the Shroud as possessing a 'captured image'. Leave it open as to the mechanism of capture - contact, radiation, chemical, thermochemical, reactive vapours. But while artists may be said to capture 'likenesses' of their subjects, they can hardly be said to capture images. They are not 'cameras' in any shape or form.  They do not 'record'. At best they visually transcribe. They exert active mental control at every step (or lack thereof if incompetent, careless or hurried), unlike a recording process that is usually passive but arguably more reproducible, at least in principle.

More thoughts: the crucial difference between painting an image, vis-a-vis imprinting (oops, sorry) and image capture is that painted images are assembled in stages. Captured images appear in their entirety - not in stages. They may be weak images initially, taking time to intensify to a satisfactory level of visibility, but they are COMPLETE images from the word go. Maybe there's a better terminology lurking somewhere in the dictionary or thesaurus that incorporates the idea of total image capture, reminiscent of photography, but NOT photography.

Still more thoughts (12:00)

occurring at the same time; coinciding in time; contemporaneous; simultaneous. 2. going on at the same rate and exactly together; recurring together
How could it be distinguished from painting (non-synchronous)?

Presence/absence of image homogeneity is a key criterion.  Check for: homogeneity of colour, homogeneity of image thickness, homogeneity of contrast range (min-max intensity) etc etc.

Might there be further diagnostic tests that discriminate between a painted image and that acquired by synchronous image capture (regardless of mechanism)?

Consider IMAGE ATTRITION. Body image has to be treated separately from blood. Why? Because blood (interestingly) is in a sense paint -like, so one has an internal control, so to speak, when one attempts to compare the degradation patterns of body image v blood.

Shroud Scope image: the wishbone-shaped blood stain in the hair. Note the irregularity in the weave, running horizontally (yellow box).

Close-up of above. Note the hang-up of blood in the weave irregularity, implying attrition of blood elsewhere.

The above images and interpretation are from a posting on my specialist Shroud site from June 2012. Contrary to what Charles Freeman  says, some of us have been considering the effects of image attrition for quite some time. I was using evidence of bloodstain attrition to probe the Adler/Heller narrative-friendly claim that blood stains preceded body image  - and finding it highly questionable (note the way that image density above appears just as strong where blood stains have apparently flaked off).

Attrition of body image, by a different mechanism from blood, i.e. fracture of brittle and weakened linen fibres, had not escaped this blogger's attention well before Charles Freeman scolded us all for thinking the TS always looked the way it does today.

 Here's another posting of mine , this time from March 11, 2014:

March 11 2014

Yes, image fibres were reported by Ray Rogers to be brittle and prone to breakage, something he discovered during sampling with sticky tape. There is no obvious reason why a paint-bearing fibre should be weaker, especially if the paint has detached. But the image process involves chemical change to fibres, as described earlier (oxidation etc). The weakness is now explicable.

Following some patient tuition from Dan Porter, Charles Freeman finally appears to understand what is meant by a negative image (up till now, he seemed to think it simply meant left-right reversed, as in a mirror image). But how can his degraded paint narrative explain the negative image?  Here it is - an embellishment of said narrative (my italics):

February 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm
Subject to support by an expert in textile conservation,I can only repeat what I said earlier. We know beyond any doubt from medieval manuals and the few surviving medieval, painted linens that painting took place only on the outer surface of a cloth sealed with gesso. We also know that with folding and unfolding the pigments could disintegrate. A place called Barley Hall has apparently done some experiments with this but they never replied to my e-mail.
The question then becomes: ‘if the pigments have been in place for five hundred years and then disintegrate what is left underneath? Presumably the cloth has been affected depending on the density of the pigments so that one is left with shadowy images that will vary in consistency with the density and perhaps types of pigment of the original paint. My suspicion is that they will vary so light painted areas will appear darker and heavily painted areas lighter so, perhaps,providing us with the apparent negatives. But in addition to this we have the artist creating a mirror image.
So now one needs to find a textile expert who may know of similar examples. The best case of the pigments disintegrating that I know of is the Zittau Veil - the pigments came off when steamed- but I don’t know whether the remaining shadows where the pigments were are negatives or not.
This is a plausible hypothesis and so needs to be tested out, just as the Oxford lab tested out John Jackson’ s hypothesis about carbon monoxide affecting the radiocarbon date and finding that it did not.
So to go back to the original questions: my hypothesis is that the artist WAS trying to create a mirror image but that the apparent negative image is what is left when the pigments came off after five hundred years of covering the weaver: so nothing to do with the artist himself.

You may consider it a plausible hypothesis Charles. However, your plausible hypothesis required your making late-in-the-day qualifying assumptions, not only about total detachment of pigment leaving no traces for STURP to detect by microchemical testing. It now involves some wild speculation about pigment leaving shadows (why? how? what?).  As if that were not stretching credulity enough we're now told that thick paint leaves light shadows and thin paint leaves dark. "Plausible hypothesis" you say Charles, when it involves your building a house of cards, making qualifying assumptions that no one, least of all yourself, would have dreamed up that rider unless or until, er,  painted into a corner. Last but not least you are looking to art technologists and historians to verify your hypothesis rather than physicists and chemists. Do you have these people at your beck and call, or will there be more who fail to answer your emails?

This not science. It is not even vaguely scientific. It's an attempt to dress up a dud hypothesis with ever increasing layers of fantasy.

Give it up Charles.  This is getting you nowhere, and for the rest of us is a serious distraction from the real business of getting to the bottom of that iconic negative image.

Update: Monday  13:35. Oops. I see my musings and vapourings in this private little pool have been picked up elsewhere.

Philosophical question: is it better to (a) cast around in muddy waters, attempting to find a path through the curtain of suspended silt,  or to (b) make a habit of stirring up mud wherever one goes, blocking out light for anyone who attempts to follow too closely? What do you think, CF?

Afterthought: Monday Feb 23

Another term that ought to be dropped from Shroud literature is "encoded", as in "the Shroud image has encoded 3D information". The error is compounded when it's then claimed or merely hinted at that certain software programs (ImageJ) or readers of brightness maps (VP8) can "decode" that encoded information to produce a 3D-rendered image that takes us back to the original subject.

No they can't.

We don't know the nature of the original imprinting mechanism. We can only guess at it. Suppose however that we did know it. Then physicists and mathematicians could analyse the mapping process, and derive predictive formulae or algorithms that take us from 3D object to 2D mapping, and, importantly in the reverse direction as well (in principle, though there might be ambiguities). In short, if you know the mapping function that encodes 3D information to create a 2D map, you can in principle decode a 2D map produced from the same set-up to get a 3D rendering, but you have to know the imaging mechanism, point by point.

It should be self-evident that taking a 2D mapping from an unfamiliar system and uploading to ImageJ or viewing with the VP8 CANNOT decode. There is no code in the 2D image. It's merely a density or brightness map. The software has no way of knowing how that 2D image was produced. the software has no way of "decoding"it, not knowing the mapping functions. All it can do is scan the 2D image and make modelling assumptions, the most obvious one being that the brighter/darker the image, the higher/lower that point in an artificially constructed vertical dimension (z axis). In other words the 3D-rendering hardware/software creates hypothetical or pseudo-3D relief. That may be totally artefactual, as shown earlier by entering 2D image maps with no 3D history. Where it gets interesting is when one enters the TS image that might, just might have had,  a 3D history. The 3D-rendering one obtains may, purely by chance, good luck, call it what you wish, be a reasonable approximation of what MAY have preceded the 2D image. But one is unlikely ever to have complete certainty on that score, being ignorant of the initial 3D to 2D imaging mechanism. One thing is for certain. ImageJ etc cannot be said to "decode" the Shroud's "encoded 3D" information. It simply reads 2D image intensity, creating pseudo-3D relief in proportion to image intensity. There can be no mystique about the end result, and no basis on which to brag that one choice of settings gives a more "realistic" or "truer" end result than another.

What one can do, of course, is create and test models, and compare the results one gets in ImageJ etc with those from the Shroud. That is what I was doing back in 2012, "normalizing" my ImageJ settings, choosing those that gave the closest match between 3D brass templates and their scorch imprints onto linen. But the results are only as good as the model, and models as we know require independent corroboration and verification. Aye, there's the rub (Shakespeare).

Monday 09:50

These two comments appeared yesterday on, on the same thread, the first on Sat pm, the second a day later: my bolding:

February 21, 2015 at 1:50 pm
I agree with Colin, except for point 3: “3. The 3D-properties of the TS negative image which contrary to early reports is not unique to the TS, but in fact are easily modeled with contact-only imprints, e.g. model scorches from a heated template as this blogger and others has demonstrated, e.g. with a brass crucifix”.
At least, a 2D painting of the shroud also show so-called 3D properties using JImage, even better than the TS.
There is a problem with JImage.

More later…

February 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm
There is much more in the Shroud image than meets the naked eye, the image is indeed very complex. Many scientists have admitted that. This will be demonstrated in a Shroud article that will be available online in a few days time

I'll make a prediction. It's TH who is busy right now, putting together one of his lay-down-the-law, brook-no-opposition pdfs. Louis knows about it through private email correspondence. TH will make the case for complexity that will superficially seem scientific, though probably materially wrong in one or more respects if past performance is anything to go by. TH will then encourage the reader to infer that complexity must point to unspecified supernatural intervention of some kind, or he'll maybe content himself by creating a comfort blanket for those who hanker for mystical interpretations.  (I have no problem with the latter, provided it's not based on agenda-driven pseudo-science).

So, if I'm right, how can I prepare for the coming onslaught? Will the message be simply that the TS image is far to complex and subtle to be analysed with ImageJ, or will it go further and attempt to belittle the capabilities of that software generally?

Having given the matter some thought, here's my defensive strategy, one that can be put into action immediately so as to assemble an armoury.

I shall dust off my brass crucifix (approx 15cm from head to toe) and do some fresh scorch imprints onto linen. I shall then analyse those images at different settings in ImageJ, but not only in natural colour, but in Thermal LUT ("Look Up Table") mode. The latter can be used to take horizontal slices at different levels through the 3D-rendered image, and allow one to deduce which planes are highest, which lowest. That ordering of planes in ImageJ will be compared with the original template to see how well the 3D relief of the original template is mapped onto the 2D image as image density - and subsequently read by ImageJ as "pseudo-relief".

Prediction? A scorch imprint, 3D-rendered in ImageJ, will provide a close correspondence  with the original 3D template. ImageJ  IS reliable, on the assumption that the imaging model is valid. It may not be reliable if alternative models (radiation, chemical vapours etc) are assumed that unlike contact scorching can tolerate air gaps between 3D subject and linen.

16:45 Update: I have just this minute performed some new scorch imprints, using my LOTTO method  to do both frontal and dorsal sides of the brass crucifix simultaneously (first time in fact). The results have been photographed before and after ironing to remove pressure indentations in the fabric.  (Have remembered to use  the scanner on my inkjet printer set to high resolution too). I shall be analysing those flattened scorch imprints in the next day or two in ImageJ, comparing natural colour and Thermal LUT modes. There will be a new posting if the results look interesting and/or TH or A.N. Other pops up to say that ImageJ is "not up to the job" of rendering the TS image in 3D. 

As I said earlier. ImageJ does what ImageJ does. It should not be prejudged on the results it gives with the TS image alone, assessed according to personal criteria that are likely to be subjective. It should be judged on comparisons between (a) the TS image and (b) one's models of how that image might have been formed. 

The closer the match between TS and model, the greater the likelihood that the model is valid according to defined criteria. Who knows- the chosen model might even be "correct",  though proving that is another matter entirely.

Update 18:30 Monday: response to Dan Porter's coverage of this posting from Charles Freeman:

in response to Dan:
Here, in the low country of South Carolina, some of the best game fishing requires you to kayak or wade into the isolated murky salt water marshes. There, you will find the great and tasty Redfish that only sportsmen are allowed to pursue. Sometimes, searching through blogs for the best material seems similar. You must […]
These are hypotheses but they are ones which are making sense to people who know about these things and so eventually something acceptable to the scientific community may emerge. No other hypotheses about the making of the images have gained any widespread support, certainly not in any scientific circles, so why not try another in a field that is still open?

My reply: Well, there's always a first time for everything, like having a historian lecture this retired career scientist on what constitutes good science.

Scientists have a distinctive approach when it comes to understanding unexplained phenomena (or artefacts). They build conceptual models, then test them.

I have never claimed that thermal imprints (contact scorches) explain ALL the known characteristics of the TS image (some might in any case be related to wear and tear). But they do account for (a) negative image (b) 3D properties (c) non-directional image (d) colour and spectral properties of the image (d) mechanical weakening of image fibres (e) absence of artists' pigments

So how, where and when is Charles Freeman going to model his image-forming process? Has he tried lifting old paint from canvases  or fabric see if there's a "shadow" (sic) forming underneath, and to assure himself that any ghost image is a negative, not a positive? Or does he expect art historians, restorers and paint technologists to do his model building and testing for him? Did I hear him say something about science?

Update: Tuesday 24th Feb

While we're on the subject of rogue terminology, the kind that misleads new - and not so-newcomers - into thinking that certain aspects can all be taken as read - there's another word that should be instantly expunged from Shroud literature. It is WOUND, or WOUND SITE, as in sentences like "The exit nail wound is in the wrist, not the palm".

There is no nail wound in the Shroud BODY image. (See my posting from June 2012). There is no lance wound in the side either. There are no wounds where a crown of thorns is presumed. There are no nail wounds in the feet. There are no scourge wounds. There are no wounds that correspond with any of the blood stains on the Shroud. There is blood at all those listed sites I grant you. But there is nothing, I repeat NOTHING in the body image that one can identify as torn or punctured flesh that exists independent of the blood. Put another way, if one were to digest away the bloodstains, using say Adler and Heller's protease, there would be nothing to see that could be identified as "wound site" in body image.

Why should there be anyway, if one buys into other 'received wisdom' re the Shroud, based on STURP studies no less?  Think of the number of times we have been told, based on those same Adler/Heller protease tests, that there is no body image underneath bloodstains. Why?  Because the blood was imprinted first, we're told, protecting the linen from the imaging process.  So how can folk take that Adler/Heller finding at face value (which incidentally I don't, but that's by the way), declaring there's no image under blood, while in the same breath referring to the sites of nail "wounds" etc, as if they can be accurately pinpointed, when all they have is BLOODSTAINS, with NO body mage underneath, whether of intact or torn human flesh? 

There are no wounds, only bloodstains to indicate where there MAY HAVE BEEN wounds. But without that independent evidence for wound sites, as distinct from blood, one cannot be certain that blood was not simply painted onto a preexisting Shroud body image as an afterthought.  Sure, one has then to explain how Adler and Heller obtained the result that they did. There are possible explanations that I shall keep to myself for now. Regardless of whether they are correct or not, it's worth noting that the "blood first" conclusion has now become a set-in-concrete dogma. How scientific is that - to base a dogma (and a narrative-friendly one at that) on a single test that relied on whether the observer saw or thinks he saw a faint yellow colour of body image (or not)  under the microscope, and not on blood samples that he or his colleague had personally harvested from the TS (Reminder: both Adler and Heller worked with stripped image fibres still adhering to Mylar sticky tape supplied to them by Raymond Rogers, who unlike them DID go to Turin to see and sample the TS blood and image fibres in person).

Repeat: stop referring to WOUNDS on the TS. Blood maybe (assuming it's real whole blood) but not, repeat NOT wounds. 

Update 13:00

This appeared yesterday on shroudstory (my bolding):

February 23, 2015 at 5:34 am
I believe the method outlined by Mr Farey is flawed, and there are better images available than that shown on Shroudscope, valuable as that tool happens to be. Firstly only the exit wound of one nail hole of the left upper limb is shown, it is smeared, and no entrance wounds are visible.

Oh dear oh dear. Why do folk post comments with opening sentences like the one above? Better images than Shroudscope? I personally am open to the suggestion there are better images than Shroudscope, despite having happily used that tool as the basis for literally dozens of postings Frankly I can think of no realistic alternative, at least not an as-is negative image.  So what are these "better images"? If one's not prepared to name them, and say why, then  the impression created is one of pomposity, of having privileged information denied to us lesser mortals.

Update: Wednesday February 25.

Have searched for and found the exact words (in French) which Bishop Pierre d'Arcis used in his celebrated 1389 memorandum addressed to the Avignon-based anti- Pope. Whether that memo actually reached the Pope, or was unreasonably ill-disposed towards the Lirey custodians of the Shroud, is of little interest to me. What is of importance are the precise words employed  whether they refer to a painting, or might have, or to a fake relic that a sceptical Bishop might and indeed did describe as a "cunning" painting. (The word in inverted commas was 'habilement',  French, needless to say.). 

What matters is the context of the entire passage if one wishes to determin whether  "cunning " was really intended or simply "clever" or "skilful" (habilement has a range of meanings). I'll be back later with a fuller version of what d'Arcis said in his memorandum, whether or not a mere draft or posted missive to Avignon. 

One thing's for certain: regardless of the finer shades of meaning, there is no support whatever for Charles Freeman's notion that the TS began life as a painting intended merely as a prop for an Easter festival. Props do not have to be "cunningly" fabricated, such that 14th century folk flocked to see one particular specimen  with their own eyes, parting with their hard-earned 'argent', in the belief that what they were seeing  (or were led to believe) was the genuine burial cloth that enveloped the crucified Jesus.  That was before the pigment had fallen off to leave the faint, ghostly  and 'enigmatic' image, correction, imprint, we see today, you realize.  Is there a verb (English) to 'de-enigmatize'More  later.

Update Thursday 26th February

Have located the relevant Pierre d'Arcis passage, slightly abridged (or redacted?) in a French language book on the Shroud (solidly pro-authenticity but seemingly well-researched). Google books reproduces certain pages, not others, and there is no facility to copy-and-paste, so I'm busy right now in retyping ready for translation (Google plus me and wife).

Meanwhile, this comment has just appeared on

in response to Hugh Farey

Here is the link:

I consider the interpretation of the linked Durante image faulty. The crease mentioned is quite minor, nor does the blood trickle detract from the plainness of the true location of the wound on the wrist, as clearly shown on the superior imagery of the Enrie negatives, more particularly so upon zooming. The result is plain to see. I’ve already given several reason why measuring of distances in this area is likely to result in faulty interpretations.

So now we know the preferred source of image when discussing nail "wounds" in the ?wrist - the Enrie pictures taken in, wait for it, 1931. That was in the days when the image was captured onto a silver bromide emulsion, which then had to be developed to complete the conversion of silver bromide to silver grains. So we're to understand that pre-digital chemical technology is supposed to give a superior more authoritative result to fully-electronic, digital photography?  You cannot be serious daveb!  Do you always prefer Enrie over Durante 2002? or do you chop and change, depending on what point you are trying to make or defend? Personally, I use Durante for everything, except a brief dalliance with the more recent (2010) Halta image displayed on the BBC's site. I would personally NEVER base a claim on an Enrie image unless it was supported by Durante,  but since I never use Enrie (despite being available on Shroud Scope) it's somewhat academic.

Still Thursday 26 Feb

It took a little tracking down, but here's that famous 1389 memorandum of  Troyes' Bishop Pierre d'Arcis, translated from the Latin to French in 1900 by Ulysse Chevalier.

I'll cut-and-paste in red font, and then, at leisure, wife and I will translate sentence-by-sentence into English (black font) 

NB: the purpose of this exercise, for which no originality is claimed, not even as a review, is primarily linguistic.  What words were being used to describe the Lirey image? Was it seen primarily as a painting, or primarily as a forgery, presumed to have been made by a painter?

Extrait de la lettre de l’évêque Pierre d’Arcis, au pape Clément VII, résidant en Avignon (Lettre écrite en 1389) :

From the letter of Bishop Pierre d'Arcis, addressed to Pope Clement VII, residing in Avignon (Letter written in 1389):

« L’affaire, Saint Père, se présente ainsi. Depuis quelque temps dans ce diocèse de Troyes, le doyen 
"The case, Holy Father, is as follows. For some time in the diocese of Troyes, the dean 

d’une certaine église collégiale, à savoir celle de Lirey, faussement et mensongèrement, consumé par la
of a certain collegiate church, namely that of Lirey, falsely and untruthfully,  consumed by the 

passion de l’avarice, animé non par quelque motif de dévotion mais uniquement de profit, s’est procuré 

 passion of avarice, driven not by any reason of devotion but only of profit, procured

 pour son église un certain linge habilement peint sur lequel, par une adroite prestidigitation, était la 

for his church a certain cloth cleverly/cunningly painted on which, by a clever sleight of hand, was  

 représentée la double image d’un homme, c’est-à-dire le dos et le devant, le doyen déclarant et  
shown the double image of a man, that is to say the back and the front,  the dean declaring and

prétendant menteusement que c’était le véritable suaire dans lequel notre Sauveur Jésus-Christ avait 

claiming untruthfully that it was the true burial shroud in which our Saviour Jesus Christ had

 été enveloppé dans le tombeau, et sur lequel le portrait de Sauveur était resté imprimé avec les plaies 

been wrapped inside the tomb, on which the Saviour's portrait had been imprinted with the wounds 

qu’il portait.

that he bore.
 [...] En outre, pour attirer les foules afin de leur extorquer sournoisement de l’argent,    

In addition, to draw crowds for the purpose of extorting money slyly, 
 de prétendus miracles ont eu lieu, certains hommes étant loués afin de se donner pour guéris 

 so as to claim that miracles have occurred, using hired men as to make it appear they had 
 lors de l’exposition du suaire, dont chacun croit qu’il est le suaire de Notre-Seigneur. 
 been cured upon exposure of the shroud, each convinced it is the shroud of Our Lord.
Mgr Henri de  Poitiers  de pieuse mémoire, alors évêque de Troyes, étant mis au courant de ces faits

 Bishop Henri de Poitiers of pious renown, then bishop of Troyes, being made aware of these facts 
 et pressé d’agir par de nombreuses personnes prudentes, comme c’était en effet son devoir

 and urged to act by many responsible people, as was indeed his duty 

sa juridiction ordinaire, se mit à l’oeuvre pour découvrir la vérité dans cette affaire.
in the exercise of his ordinary jurisdiction, set to work to uncover the truth in this matter.

Car beaucoup de théologiens et de personnes visées déclaraient qu’il ne pouvait s’agir

 For many theologians and persons who were consulted (had) declared that it could not be

 du suaire authentique de Notre-Seigneur dont le portrait se serait ainsi imprimé dessus,

the authentic shroud of Our Lord whose likeness had been imprinted upon it, 

puisque les saints Evangiles faisaient pas mention d’une telle impression, alors que si elle s’était produite,

as holy Gospels did not mention such an impression, whereas if it had occurred,
il semblait bien évident que les saints évangélistes n’auraient pas omis de le rapporter,

it seemed obvious that the Evangelists would not have omitted to report it,

  En fin de compte, après avoir déployé une grande diligence dans son enquête et ses interrogatoires,

In the end, after a thorough investigation  and interrogation, 

et que le fait ne serait pas demeuré  caché jusqu’à nos jours.

and that the fact would not remained hidden until today.

il a découvert la fraude et comment ledit linge avait été astucieusement peint,

he discovered the fraud and how the said cloth had been cunningly painted, 

 la vérité étant attestée par l’artiste qui l’a peint, autrement dit que c’était une oeuvre due au talent d’un 

 the truth being attested by the artist who painted it, namely that it was the talented work of said

homme, et non point miraculeusement forgée ou octroyée par grâce divine»

man, and not miraculously wrought or bestowed by divine grace "

(Texte latin reproduit par U. Chevalier, Etude critique sur l’origine du Saint Suaire de Lirey-Chambéry-Turin, 1900, Annexe, 

document G, p. VII-VIII).

(Latin text reproduced by U. Chevalier, Critical study on the origin of the Shroud of Lirey-Chambéry-Turin, 1900 Annex G, p. VII-VIII).
Google translation (used as first transcript).

From the letter of Bishop Pierre d'Arcis, Pope Clement VII, residing in Avignon (Letter written in 1389):

"The case, Holy Father, is as follows. For some time in the diocese of Troyes, the dean of a certain collegiate church, namely that of Lirey, falsely and untruthfully, consumed by the passion of avarice, driven not by any reason devotion but only profit, s 'procured for his church a machine on which cleverly painted by a clever sleight of hand, was shown the double image of a man, that is to say, the back and the front, the declarant Dean and claiming that menteusement This was the real shroud in which our Savior Jesus Christ was wrapped in the tomb, and on which the Saviour portrait had been printed with the wounds he wore. [...] In addition, to draw crowds to extort money slyly, alleged miracles have occurred, some men being hired in order to provide for cured upon exposure of the shroud, each of which believes it is the shroud of Our Lord. Bishop Henri de Poitiers pious memory, then bishop of Troyes, being aware of these facts and pressed to act by many conservative people, as was indeed his duty in the exercise of its ordinary jurisdiction, began at work to find the truth in this case. For many theologians and persons referred declared that he could be the authentic shroud of Our Lord which is the portrait would be printed on it, as holy Gospels did not mention such an impression, whereas if it had occurred, it seemed obvious that the saints would not evangelists failed to report it, and that the fact would not remained hidden until today. In the end, after having made great diligence in its investigation and interrogation, he discovered the fraud and how the said cloth had been cunningly painted, the truth being attested by the artist who painted it, meaning that c 'was implemented due to the talent of a man, and not miraculously wrought or awarded by divine grace "(Latin text reproduced by U. Chevalier, Critical study on the origin of the Shroud of Lirey-Chambéry-Turin, 1900 Annex G, p. VII-VIII).

Recap: this little translation exercise began as a result over doubt as to whether the D'Arcis memorandum had really described the Lirey shroud as "cunningly" painted. Cunningly implies deceit, subterfuge etc. But the adjective used ("habilement") is also translatable in less pejorative terms as "cleverly" or even "skilfully".  What does the entire memorandum have to say that would throw light on the intended meaning, understanding of which has become more important in the light of the Freeman attempts to dismiss the Lirey shroud as intended originally merely a painted prop for an Easter liturgy.

Naturally, one wishes one had the original Latin*, but for now the French and my enhanced Google translation will have to do.

The original Latin is indeed available (in principle) according to an article on, viz (that's Latin you know)

Fossati, Don Luigi. La Santa Sindone: Nuova Luce su Antichi Documenti. Rome, 1961, pp. 213-9. Source for the Latin version the d'Arcis Memorandum

In fact, it's not just the one word "habilement" that has been deployed to flag up deceitful intentions. There are others too:

faussement et mensongèrement, 

consumé par la passion de l’avarice, animé non par quelque motif de dévotion mais uniquement de profit

une adroite prestidigitation

prétendant menteusement

extorquer sournoisement de l’argent

astucieusement peint

non point miraculeusement forgé

There is no hint here whatsoever that the Shroud was simply a painted prop that had been diverted to another use. It's absolutely clear from the string of pejorative adjectives and adverbs that the Shroud had been custom-made, and very cleverly/cunningly so in order to deceive folk into thinking it was the real burial shroud. Yes, the bishop thought it must have been cleverly painted, by a painter. But what else was a 14th century cleric supposed to imagine - that clever photography had been employed?

According to Freeman's hypothesis, the image should have been highly visible in the 14th century, with still adhering pigments. Why would it be referred to as "cunningly painted" if obviously a painting? Answer: it wasn't obviously a painting. It was only assumed to be a painting, albeit one done with so 'light a touch' that the artist responsible was using new ingenious techniques to simulate the kind of image that a crucified man, sweat and blood-laden, might leave on a burial shroud.

Update Friday 27th Feb

Yes, I'm aware that certain pro-authenticity voices have attempted to undermine the credentials of Ulysses Chevalier. questioning his motives for unearthing from the archives and translating the d'Arcis memorandum. 

I have nothing to say on that score: unless those same partisan voices can undermine the credentials and sincerity of TWO Troyes bishops,  Pierre d'Arcis AND his predecessor Henri de Poitiers, then what matters are the sentiments expressed in the d'Arcis memorandum, and the language employed -  condemning quite unequivocally something that BOTH recognized immediately as a fraud.

It's also interesting to see the reference to a "double image", being described as if for the very first time, with no hint that the configuration had any prior existence in art or iconography. What price the idea that the present day Shroud was hidden away but "known about" via whispered word of mouth, such that a few small circles in an L-shaped pattern on an otherwise obscure Hungarian manuscript is today offered as "compelling evidence" that the existence of the Shroud was known a century and a half before the Lirey exhibition?  One cannot take tiny selected fragments of evidence in isolation - one has to look at the entire historical picture and seek consistent, mutually-reinforcing patterns. Nothing in that uncompromisingly dismissive memorandum suggests that the shroud existed prior to the mid-14th century.  It was seen as a (then) modern-day abomination - preying initially on the gullibility of the sick in search of a cure, before the age of antibiotics, sterile surgical instruments etc. A few testimonials from  planted sufferers instantly  'cured' of their maladies was sufficient to widen the appeal of the Shroud, and to then cement its claimed 'credentials' as the genuine burial cloth.

See the posting that precedes this one. There simply are no grounds for thinking that the iconic 'double man' image existed in anyone's consciousness prior to the 1357 Lirey display, and the commemorative pilgrim's badge that accompanied it (above). Based on that memorandum, it was certainly not in the  minds of either of the two bishops (both of whom one would expect to have been better informed than the general populace on matters of religious iconography). Had that been the case, they would surely have flagged up or otherwise alluded to the resort to an unoriginal and overworked motif.

 Update: Saturday Feb 28

 There's more, a lot more, in that same fascinating book that I've quoted above. Unfortunately, it's only available on Google books, with the customary missing pages, and it does not 'copy/paste'.  What's more, it's French language, and I'm separated right now from my France-purchased laptop with the French-accented keyboard. 

Never mind. The bit's between the teeth. So here's what the author wrote (sans accents) immediately prior to the d'Arcis memorandum. I can't say as I'm surprised that the events described are not more widely described in the pro-authenticity literature: 

Nous allons voir de plus impartialement ce qui en est de ces decouverts et de ces accusations.
 We'll see more impartially what is with these discoveries and accusations. 

 Pour cela, nous allons completer notre etude et retourner au Moyen-Age a l'epoque ou Jeanne de Vergy For this, we will complete our study and return to the Middle Ages during the period when Jeanne de Vergy, 

la veuve de Geoffroy de Charny organisa des ostensions regulieres avec le clerge local de 1357.
Geoffroy de Charny's widow, organized the regular showings with the local clergy from 1357.

 L'eveque de Troyes, Henri de Poitiers, qui n'avait pas ete consulte pour qu'aient lieu les expositions 
 The bishop of Troyes, Henri de Poitiers, who had never been consulted before the showings took place 

decide de proceder a une enquete estimant que le Linceul ne peut etre qu'un simulacre puisque les 
decided to proceed to an inquiry iestimating that the Shroud could only be a fake because the 

Evangiles n'en parlent pas. Ses perquisitions l'amenent a conclure a un faux fabrique et peint par un artiste
 Gospels do not mention it. His search led him to conclude a fake manufactured and painted by an artist

dont il ne donne pas le nom et dont la technique n'est pas devoilee. Il fait tout pour ce que cessent les 
for which he does not give the name and whose technique is not disclosed. He does everything for an end to

ostensions et un conflit s'installe entre l'eveque de Troyes et le clerge de Lirey.
ostensions and a conflict develops between the Bishop of Troyes and the clergy of Lirey.

En 1360, Jeanne de Vergy craint pour le Linceul et decide de le mettre en securite dans son chateau 
 fortifie de Montfort.;
  In 1360, Jeanne de Vergy fears for the Shroud and decides to place it for safe-keeping in her fortified castle of Montfort.

En novembre 1378, Pierre d'Arcis succede a Henri de Poitiers. En 1389, plus de 30 ans apres 
In November 1378, Pierre d'Arcis succeeds to Henri de Poitiers. In 1389, over 30 years after 

l'interdiction d'Henri de Poitiers la collegiale perdit sa source de revenus. Geoffroy II, le fils de 
Henri de Poitiers's ban,  the collegiate church lost its source of income. Geoffroy II, the first son of  

Geoffroy I, demanda au legat du pape, en visite de la region, l'autorisation au prealable a Pierre d'Arcis, 
Geoffrey I, asked the papal legate, visiting the region, for authorization beforehand, before Pierre d'Arcis' 

car Lirey faisait partie de son diocese. Le legat lui accorda un indult pour l'ostension de Linceul et par 
because Lirey was part of his diocese. The legate gave him a permit for the exposition of the Shroud and 

 decret du 28 juillet 1389, il permet le expositions et des indulgences pour ceux qui le venerent.
by the decree of July 28, 1389, allowed the exhibition and indulgences for those who venerated it.

La meme annee, Jeanne de Vergy, la mere de Geoffroy II de Charny, epouse en seconde noce, Aymon 
  The same year, Jeanne de Vergy, the mother of Geoffrey II de Charny, remarried to Aymon

de Geneve qui n'est rien d'autre que l'oncle de Clement VII. Ce dernier autorise personellement sa tante 
 of Geneva  which was none other than the uncle of Clement VII. The latter  personally allows his aunt 

 par alliance a reprendre les ostensions a Lirey. Comme on dit, les affaires reprennent et de nouveau lors 
 by marriage to resume displays at Lirey. As they say, business is picking up, and also during the 

des presentations du Linceul.
showing of the Shroud.

Toutes ces manoeuvres provoque la colere de Pierre d'Arcis que se plait de ne pas avoir ete consulte 
All these manoeuvres arouse the anger of Pierre d'Arcis who protests at not having been consulted

mais pas-dessus tout parce qu'il constate que la prosperite financiere et de retour a Lirey alors que sa 
but above all because he declares that the financial prosperity and return to Lirey, to say nothing that his 

cathedrale de Troyes,  depuis pres de deux siecles, faut d'argent pour la renouer, se trouve dans
cathedral at Troyes nearly two centuries old is in need of funds for restoration, now finding itself in a 

piteux etat.
pitiful state.

D'autant plus qu'en 1389, le nef vient de s'ecrouler. On peut comprendre que Pierre d'Arcis
 Moreover in 1389 the (cathedral) nave has begun falling apart. Understandably Pierre d'Arcis 

considerant que la petite ville de Lirey faut partie de son diocese,  il serait normal  qu'il participe

 considering the small town of Lirey to be part of his diocese, it would be normal that it contributes

 au frais de renovations dans la mesure ou il donne gracieusement son autorisation. 
 its share of renovation costs to the extent he graciously may see appropriate. 

Apparemment,  Geoffroy II et les chanoines de Lirey  ne s' emurent pas des difficultes financieres de 
 Apparently Geoffroy II and the canons of Lirey were unbothered by the financial difficulties of

Pierre d'|Arcis. Ils firent las sourde oreille at continuerent a exposer le linceul dans les cites alentour et 
 Pierre d'Arcis. They turned a deaf ear and continued to expose the shroud in the surrounding cites and

 continuerent a prosperer financierement. Cela dut le mettre encore plus en colere et
 continued to prosper financially. This must have made him even angrier and 

humainement on peut le comprendre. 
 understandably so.

Prenant exemple sur son predecesseur il ordonne au doyen des chanoines de Lirey de cesser les 
 Taking the example of his predecessor he ordered the canons of Lirey  to cease

ostension sous peine d'excommunication
displays under pain of excommunication.

Cependant fort de l'appui de Geoffroy II de Charny, ayant lui-meme, l'autorisation du legat
 However, with the backing of Geoffrey II de Charny, having himself  authorization from the legate of 

 de Clement VII, le clerge local refuse d'obeir. Mieux, il va se plaindre aupres du pape qui confirme le...
Clement VII, the local clergy refused to obey. Better, he will complain (directly) to the Pope confirming

  droit d'exposer le Linceul et de plus qui impose a l'eveque le 'silence eternal' sous peine
 the right to exhibit the Shroud and moreover  mposing 'eternal Silence' on the Bishop on pain

 d'excommunication. Se tenant bafoue, Pierre d'Arcis decide d'en appeler au roi  Charles VI qui ordonne 
 of excommunication. Thus overruled, Pierre d'Arcis decided to appeal to King Charles VI ordered the 
 la saisie de la relique, mais le clerge de Lirey n'obtempere toujours pas et poursuit les ostensions faisait 
seizure of the relic, but the clergy of Lirey failed to to comply and continued the ostensions on the 
valoir l'autorisation papale.
strength of the papal authorisation.


My take on all this will follow shortly (the next day or two). 

When that's done, I'll be taking a longish break from posting  (weeks rather than days). Am presently  researching, thoroughly I hope, a distictively different  angle on the manner in which the Shroud image may have been produced. It's a difficult call to beat contact thermal imprinting, while still  producing a negative  non-directional image with 3D properties etc etc. But the new model that's been forming in my mind, with some prompting from the writings of Luigi Garlaschelli and Joseph Accetta, might be more suited to the medieval mind (and technology) than the heated inanimate  templates (horse brasses, brass crucifixes) on the cooker hob in this blogger's 21st century kitchen.  

 Extract from STURP Summary (1981) - my bolding
  For an adequate explanation for the image of the Shroud, one must have an explanation which is scientifically sound, from a physical, chemical, biological and medical viewpoint. At the present, this type of solution does not appear to be obtainable by the best efforts of the members of the Shroud Team. Furthermore, experiments in physics and chemistry with old linen have failed to reproduce adequately the phenomenon presented by the Shroud of Turin. The scientific concensus is that the image was produced by something which resulted in oxidation, dehydration and conjugation of the polysaccharide structure of the microfibrils of the linen itself. Such changes can be duplicated in the laboratory by certain chemical and physical processes. A similar type of change in linen can be obtained by sulfuric acid or heat. However, there are no chemical or physical methods known which can account for the totality of the image, nor can any combination of physical, chemical, biological or medical circumstances explain the image

Yes, STURP, bless'em,  provided a clue (sulphuric acid), as did Joe Nickell cited in Luigi's paper. But there needs to be a thickening agent to slow the rate of capillary diffusion, so as to keep the image confined to the most superficial fibres. See the wiki entry on fabric printing (history thereof). Note the mordants in earliest use. Note their chemical properties when dissolved in water (esp. hydrolysis) - a simple litmus test will do for starters.

CB  March 2 2015

Here is my current reading list (which will be added to at intervals):

1.    Especially important: alum, used for centuries as a mordant for attaching dyes to linen and cotton, generates sulphuric acid in contact with water, strong enough to attack skin (and that's before evaporation of water!).

2.  Adrie van der Hoeven's juggernaut paper: easier to cope with when one's seeking out specific content, in this instance, aluminium lakes (dye-alum mordant combinations).   


Wiki article on textile printing, with many references to mordanting.


Wiki entry on mordants 

5.  History of alum extraction locations and uses in dyeing etc.

6. How mordants work. 

7. About mordants.

8. Difference beyween dyeing and painting?

Provisionally: dye molecules form chemical bonds with the fabric, paints do not. Dyes are consequently more "fast" in the sense that they do not detach once bonded on (with or without help from a mordant).
8. Joseph Accetta presentation at St.Louis (2014) with proposal for woodblockprinting with iron gall ink.

for slide presentation

for pdf paper

So why the current focus and re-direction into dyeing and mordanting (which will inevitably have a certain Frenchman archaeocryptosteganowotsit accusing me yet again of stealing his ideas).

Ed.Yup. Exactly as predicted! See cut-and-paste of thread from

Briefly, it's like this: having proposed that the Shroud was manufactured in the 14th century to represent a sweat and blood imprint, as might have been left by the crucified Jesus on Joseph of Arimathea's linen, one has to "think like a medieval" and ask what kind of technology might have been employed.

Sweat itself was probably rejected as impractical, but the idea may well have been entertained of employing a sweat substitute that was mildly corrosive to cloth, capable of leaving a diffuse yellow coloration, with or without assistance from dyes and/or mordants.

The most common mordant is alum, i.e. potassium aluminium sulphate, or sometimes just aluminium sulphate, which is notoriously acidic in solution. Aluminium sulphate hydrolyses partially in water to make colloidal aluminium hydroxide and dilute sulphuric acid. But dilute sulphuric acid when it evaporates loses water, not H2SO4, so becomes steadily more concentrated, attacking skin and probably fabrics too.   That dovetails neatly, not only with STURP's recognition that sulphuric acid as well as heat can produce chemical dehydration and discoloration of linen, but with Luigi Garalschelli's ideas, assisted with input from Joe Nickell, that acid impurities in his "frottage" powder or slurry, maybe with assistance from heat (oven 150 degrees C) could have been responsible for the final faint image.

One could imagine various scenarios that might ultimately have left the Shroud image that we see today. The important thing  is to exclude all scenarios that do not produce the negative image, lacking directionality, and having 3D-enhancibility. Importantly, there must be essentially NO reverse-side coloration (that latter criterion having inhibited this blogger from indulging in blue-sky thinking that involves liquids of any description - but why not a liquid that is bulked up with a thickener of some description that restricts capillary penetration to the opposite side?)

Here's a few broadbrush ideas to be getting along with.

Firstly, there had to be template. One does not paint a negative image freehand, at least not one so photograph-like as the TS (when submitted to 19th/20th century technology). The template may have been totally inanimate (14th century provenance), e.g. a metal or ceramic bas relief, or it may been a real person (allowing for a 1st century provenance, if one is willing to junk the radiocarbon dating - count me out).

So one mixes up some alum and some thickening agent - a gum or starch etc - applies it to one's subject or template, then presses down linen to get an imprint. What then?  Knowing what we now know about the properties of alum, one could suggest an immediate roasting at a temperature that leads to chemical dehydration of the linen carbohydrates in areas in immediate contact with the alum paste. Knock off the surplus paste when done and one has (maybe) a faint yellow negative image.

But alum was in use in the 14th century, and indeed, much earlier (Ancient Egypt), not ostensibly as a source of sulphuric acid, which is coincidental. but as a mordant for attaching dye to linen and cotton. So it's not beyond the realms of the possible that having produced an alum imprint on the fabric, there was then a second step in which the imprint was dabbed with a swab soaked in a yellow dye solution that would left to dry. When the fabric was rinsed, the dye remained attached to the imprinted areas only. Alternatively, the two steps could be combined into one, ie. producing an imprint with a mixture of alum and yellow dye).

What then? At the risk of seeming to converge with Charles Freeman, the initial image comprising mordant/dye would have been bold and easily visible from a distance. In time, the dye would have faded if not light-stable, but the dehydrated linen that had been attacked by sulphuric acid would have retained its yellow or yellowish- brown discoloration. Indeed, the intensity of the latter may have increased.In this acid/mordant model, it's theoretically possible for ALL the solid agent to finally detach, leaving an image that is nothing but chemically modified carbohydrate (as pictured by STURP). But the difference between me and Charles Freeman is that I would not press this hypothesis unless there were some analytical evidence for the presence of traces of alum or some other substance with alum-like properties, i.e. acidic and/or mordant, which do indeed exist - iron(III) oxide, aka ferric oxide being one of them, as well as some chrome salts. Calcium compounds can have a weak mordanting action as well, but their solutions are generally alklaine rather than acid, and linen is relatively unaffected chemically by alkali (while physically altered).

So where does this leave the "scorch" hypothesis, taking that term to mean a purely thermal imprint, resulting from pressing hot metal against linen, with no chemical adjuncts needed (or if present merely to achieve a visible imprint at a lower temperature)?

Let's review the reasons for this blogger having invoked a contact scorch aka thermal imprint in the first instance, some three years ago, and see if they are still valid, and the reasons for now casting a wider net, one that embraces chemical or thermochemical imprinting mechanisms (while noting that it is still "imprinting" that is in the frame, not painting).

The notion that the Shroud image is (at least) comparable to a scorch imprint that can be modelled with hot metal is not new. Journalist Geoffrey Ashe used a horse brass back in 1966 to do just that. (That's something I learned afterwards - c'est la vie).

Let's suppose, just suppose, the TS image were a scorch imprint. Might there be a rationale for depicting an unclothed man in that manner in the mid-14th century, France especially? The bloodstains point to death by crucifixion, obviously. But suppose the bloodstains did not precede image, as claimed by Adler and Heller. Suppose the body image came first, and blood was painted on later. Might the body image per se have been intended at least initially to represent someone other than the crucified Jesus? It was that line of thinking that led to this posting in April 2012 on my specialist Shroud site.

Briefly, the Lirey Pilgrim's Badge provided a possible rationale for imprinting the image of a bearded man who was NOT Jesus, but a Knight Templar, indeed the most prominent, Jacques de Molay. Why? Because de Molay, Grand Master of the outlawed order was burned at the stake in Paris 1314. Alongisde him was a fellow Templar, Preceptor of Normandy, Geoffroi de Charney. That name is almost but not quite identical to that of the Lord of Lirey whose widow placed the Shroud on its first recorded public display in 1357, shortly after her husband's death at the Battle of Poitiers. Her husband is said by celebrated genealogist Noel Currer-Briggs to have been the nephew of his quasi-namesake who died in 1314, some 43 or so years earlier.  Might the TS image have been intended to represent a Knight Templar and the manner of death, especially as the "burning at the stake" had in fact been performed sadistically by slow-roasting? Was it a tribute (initially) that had remained in the family, a closely guarded secret initially for obvious reasons when Templars were still being dispossessed and worse by an alliance of convenience between the then heretic-seeking Papacy and cash-strapped French monarchy? Was it 'reinvented' to represent the victim of crucifixion rather than "scorching".

Was there supporting evidence that might corroborate that interpretation?

See the above link for the details that suggested there might be more to the Lirey badge than meets the eye, notably the coiled object around the waist, that had no obvious role in crucifixion, which Ian Wilson described as a "blood belt" (exercise of imagination there methinks) which I conjectured could be a securing chain (fire-resistant) but which in retrospect might be a carry-over from the scourging ( a rope for securing to pillar?). There was the generally un-Christ-like appearance of the victim (that some explain away as understandable given the smallness of the badge, though there is fine detail elsewhere) etc etc.

However the accompanying detail in the frieze of the badge (pincers, nails and other instruments of the Passion) seem to speak unambiguously of crucifixion, with little to suggest an earlier symbolism relating to the events of 1314., unless I too were to exercise imagination, like seeing the "tomb" as an elevated grid for roasting, or the reverse side pattern as a a diamond trellis grid too.

Irrespective, the Templar hypothesis served to provide a provisional rationale while experimentation proceeded with model scorches to test and compare results against the TS image, especially as regards the effects of Secondo Pia-style tone reversal (interchanging positive/negative) and 3D enhancements in ImageJ software. Contact scorches performed brilliantly in both those regards. Sure, there was flak from Thibault Heimburger with his pdf critiques, but since he cannot be bothered to respond to my critiques of his critiques, I shall waste no more time in futile dialogue with the good doctor and his narrative-friendly pro-authenticity agenda. My research is not ostensibly pro- or anti-authenticity. It is curiosity-driven and anti-pseudo-science (90% of Shroud so-called research qualifying in my view for the description as pseudo-science).

So what caused the drift away from the 'contact scorch' hypothesis, at least one where it was pereceived as a simple thermal imprint with no (obligatory) chemical assistance?


1. the recently discovered Machy mould, found at Machy close to Lirey, and apparently intended for another Lirey pilgrim's badge (whether realized or not we don't know for certain, but traces of casting metal suggest it did see action).

Link to my first posting on the Machy mould.

The crucial difference between the Mould and the Lirey badge is the added motif of a bearded Jesus-like
face above the word SVAIRE (i.e. SUAIRE or facecloth), which I (and apparently I alone so far) interpret as a visual cue to the Veil of Veronica.  Regardless of the legendary and some say miraculous aspects of the then fabled Veronica (the major draw for pilgrims in early 14th century France) it began, according to the legend, as the capture of a facial imprint, and one moreover, at least notionally, in bodily sweat (Jesus was en route to Calvary bearing his cross when the eponymous Veronica stepped forward to wipe his face and brow).

Aside: it shouldn't need to be said, but research, genuine research,  is of course open-ended - one goes in the direction where the cues and clues point. One is or should be allowed to change direction in research with no loss of face or credibility.  Research is entirely different from penning and proselytising a manifesto. Not everyone knows that. 

15:00 Wed 3 March

Oops. No sooner written than hoovered up, typos an'all.

 It's still just an embroyonic idea, of course, and still needs to be checked against the STURP and other findings on mineral distribution. Caveat: the data referred to most often is that obtained by x-ray fluorescence, but that technique is operating at the limit of its sensitivity with elements of low atomic number. That's why one sees 'authoritative' data for potassium (atomic number 19) but not sodium (atomic number 11), frequently getting no mention whatsoever. Aluminium (as alum etc) is the most common mordant AND has strongly acidic properties. Shame then that it too has a low atomic number (13) just two greater than sodium, so it remains to be see how useful or reliable the data are for traces of aluminium on the TS. I may take the lazy way out and consult Adrie van der Hoeven. She's someone who's been able to get her head round the mineral data.

19:30  Still Tuesday 2 March

Have just re-read the Joseph Accetta paper (first time was a few months ago). It all beginning to make a great deal of sense to me, namely that the TS was created by PRINTING onto linen, probably using a carved WOODCUT as template, and using some kind of dye or mordant/dye combination in conjunction with a gum or similar substance that increased viscosity, tending to restrict attachment  to the topmost fibres with curtailed penetration. Indeed, one begins to wonder if there's anything in the ideas jotted down here earlier this morning that contain anything original not already in the Accetta paper.

Well, there is, but it doesn't amount to a great deal. First, I've suggested a rationale for creating the TS - namely that it was an attempt to create an image that could  represent a sweat imprint, one with an affinity to the pre-existing "Veronica" image. So the technology chosen (dyes, mordants etc) would have been designed to produce a FAINT FUZZY  INDISTINCT YELLOW image intentionally, i.e. that what we see today is not merely the surviving remnants of  what was originally of a more 'painted portrait' character. Second, I've homed in on alum (potassium aluminium sulphate) not only because it was well established in medieval (and pre-medieval) times as a mordant for attaching natural dyes to cotton and linen, but because it has additional possibilities: if one prints with an alum paste, then dye can subsequently be attached to the alum imprint to give a "fuzzy" look, consonant with the aim of  simulating a sweat imprint, and because its strongly acidic character might of itself  be capable of producing a yellowing alone, though perhaps not immdiately.  Maybe no additional yellow dye was obligatory OR maybe chemical dehydration of linen carbohydrates due to acidic action leaves a permanent weak image after degradation of a more visible dye/mordant coating.

Yes, there are a lot of maybes here, and distinguishing between different chemical mechanisms will not be easy, lacking as we are detailed data, and may indeed may always be so,  given the understandable reluctance of the Shroud custodians to subject the artefact to further testing, bar the least invasive and damaging.

However, there are still possibilities for further research, namely in modelling the TS image, using the chemically-assisted processes that have been proposed and/or pioneered initially by Joseph Accetta and/or Luigi Garlaschelli. My scorch studies, while probably the wrong model, relying entirely on thermal energy, demonstrate that imprinting off some kind of template is the way to go, explaining as they do the negative image and 3D-properties.

Afterthought: use of a soluble organic dye, as distinct from a solid artist's pigments, offers a better explanation for the Adler/Heller finding that the TS image could be bleached by diimide (a powerful chemical reducing agent). Solid pigments such as iron oxide would not be bleached by that agent. Many moons ago I proposed an analytical technique that might assist in elucidating the chemical nature of the TS image chromophore. It involved comparison of the molecular fragmentation patterns on a pyrolysis mass spectrographs before and after treatment with isotope-labelled diimide. See below.

H-N=N-H  Ordinary diimide

H-N=N-D Monodeuterated diimide (a deuterium aka "heavy hydrogen" atom with a neutron accompanying the proton in the nucleus replacing one of the two hydrogens). Non radioactive, but distinguishable in mass spectra, having approximately double the normal mass.

H-N=N-T  Monotritiated diimide (a tritium atom with 2 neutrons in the nucleus. Radioactive, approximately three times the normal mass.

Signing off now on this posting. Apologies for its length, but my internet presence is intended to be mainly archival these days, not a "running conversation".  Sadly there are relatively few non-authenticists interested in the Shroud, at least on the blogosphere. Writing helps to organize and record one's thoughts, and one never knows who might discover one's site courtesy of one or other search engine.


Posted to

March 4, 2015 at 1:52 am
I suppose I should be flattered that Dan hoovers up my words within minutes of my writing them, uncorrected typos and all’, to bring them here. But anyone reading this account of a work in progress could be forgiven for thinking I was still pushing a Templar connection. On the contrary, I was merely explaining what had attracted me to it in the first place, especially details on the Lirey badge, but how the more recently discovered Machy mould for a second Lirey badge had offered a new more chemical avenue for research as an alternative to a model based purely on thermal imprinting. It was the Veronica motif, and the implication that the Shroud had been intended to portray a bodily imprint, probably sweat, real or simulated, that led to a growing disillusionment with thermal technology, despite its ability to account neatly for negative image and 3D properties. That’s not to say that scorch technology could not have been used to simulate a sweat imprint, but my current posting, nowfinally complete, has me converging with Joseph Accetta in thinking that the TS image was made by imprinting from a woodcut using a soluble organic dye or dye/mordant combination (not to be confused with solid particles of inorganic paint pigments, prone to dropping off!) There is a lot worth pursuing in those ideas of Accetta’s, one very thoughtful and perceptive individual, with scope for more experimental modelling.
In passing, does anyone here have access to data from STURP or elsewhere on the distribution of ionic aluminium on the Shroud, especially in body image v non-image areas? I’m sure I have seen some passing reference to there being higher than expected levels of aluminium but have mislaid the link. Alum – the most obvious source of aluminium – has of course been used as a mordant in dyeing and fabric imprinting for millennia, but there’s a risk of leaving sulphuric acid behind that can (theoretically at any rate) create a ghost image if or when it chemically dehydrates the more superficial and sensitive linen carbohydrates, especially those in the primary cell wall, or maybe gum or starch adjuncts used to increase dye viscosity.
March 4, 2015 at 5:07 am
Some places to start:
1) [PDF]Speculations on the 14th Century Origins of the Turin Shroud by JS Accetta
alum or a combination of alum and tannic acid. There are many different techniques for this process and many are based on a percentage of dry fabric weight to …
2) [PDF]The Setting for the Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud by E Marinelli
Alum has been used as a common mordant for millennia. Furthermore, UV fluorescence photograph shows that the area of the radiocarbon sampling.
3) [PDF]An Alternate Hypothesis for the Image Color – The Shroud of …
Then Jumper, Adler, Jackson, Pellicori, ….. (a) Wet Ice (b) Wood (c) Glass (d) Paper (e) Clay (f) Copper Oxide (g) Aluminum Oxide (h) Aluminum Paint (i) Bismuth.
4) [PDF]Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – The Shroud of Turin by RN Rogers
aluminum found by Adler), and Madder. UV fluorescence photograph of the 14C sample area. The small, white triangle (bottom left) is the location of the Raes.
5) [PDF]Perspectives for the Future Study of the Shroud
However, as Alan Adler always asserted, this experiment would … Rogers deduced the presence of madder (alizarin) or of its aluminum metal complexes since …
March 4, 2015 at 6:18 am
Thank you for providing the links Dan, which I’ve quickly scanned. However I find they do not provide the hard analytical data I seek on aluminium, or as you would say aluminum, levels in the main body of the Shroud.
One assumes the data exist, on the strength of this comment from Raymond Rogers in his FAQ paper (my bolding)
“Al Adler had found large amounts of aluminum in yarn segments from the radiocarbon sample, up to 2%, by energy- dispersive x-ray analysis. I found that the radiocarbon sample was uniquely coated with a plant gum (probably gum Arabic), a hydrous aluminum oxide mordant (the aluminum found by Adler), and Madder root dye (alizarin and purpurin). Nothing similar exists on any other part of the Shroud.”
Is there anyone reading this who has access to that data and can provide a summary and/or link?
The occasional references one sees to potassium, calcium and other minerals of TS interest usually refer to X-ray fluorescence (XRF) data, without links generally (again, hard to locate for oneself, at least by googling). But that’s unlikely to be of much use or relevance anyway, since XRF is too insensitive to work with elements of atomic number much less than 20 (Al is 13). Maybe/hopefully the energy-dispersive technique cited by Rogers, with which I’m less familiar, works better.

March 4, 2015 at 6:55 am
Hi Colin,
Would you know which energy dispersive technique by Ray Rogers was referring to?
March 4, 2015 at 8:27 am
Presumably Rogers’ reference was to energy dispersive XRF that can read several wavelengths and thus elements simultaneously, Louis. That’s as distinct from wavelength XRF that reads single wavelengths and single elements. There are claims and counterclaims naturally as to which is best suited for particular applications, so one has to be prepared to dig deeper than might wish into the technical literature if one’s in the slightest bit sceptical about claims made by generalists as to what is (or is not) present on the TS. Like aluminium (signalling presence or absence of alum – an acidic dye-binding mordant).
Nullius in verba.

Max patrick Hamon
March 4, 2015 at 8:19 am
Moons ago (i.e. as early as 1994), I told Raffard de Brienne the TS image resulted from a pre-mordanting or light mordanting process of which result can look like a light scorch. Many a time (since 2012 on this very blog), I have kept telling Colin it was. Now as usual, he is recycling one of my ideas to have it fit with his new theory. Yet methinks It could take another twenty years until the Shroud sphere get aware I finally was right…

March 4, 2015 at 9:07 am
But what if I’m as wrong about mordanting as I was about thermal imprinting? Can I blame MPH for putting false ideas into my head?
It’s the focus on imprinting that matters. Imprinting, not freehand painting, provides the negative 3D-enhancible image (Charles Freeman please note).
The precise mechanism of imprinting – thermal, thermochemical or chemical – is mere detail.
Dyeing, which unlike painting involves permanent irreversible chemical bonding onto linen, with or without mordant-assistance – is detail secondary to detail, especially as mordanting itself may at least theoretically leave a ghost image, lurking underneath the mordant, if the latter, like alum, were to be strongly acidic (alum dissociates in water to produce sulphuric acid that could discolour superficial fibres).
It’s the details that lead one to the big picture. Thermal imprinting was in retrospect a side show, albeit a useful one in demonstrating the ease of modelling negative/3D properties. Mordanting could well be a side show to a sideshow, albeit a different sideshow. Whether one or other or both leads to the big picture remains to be seen.
Science, real science that is, should be curiosity – not agenda-driven.
March 4, 2015 at 9:31 am
This comment should be promoted. Keep being curious, one and all!

March 4, 2015 at 3:07 pm
Thanks for reminding me Don why I prefer now to post ideas to my own site, and not waste time with this one. (I’ve been steadily retreating from the Templar link for over a year now, but you wouldn’t know it from reading this posting from the site’s host).

March 5, 2015 at 5:48 am
PS Have been able to track down a 1980 paper from STURP’s Morris, Schwalbe and London with results from X ray fluorescence scans of the Shroud performed in situ. Whilst the abstract and first page only are available without charge, my worst fears are confirmed: the equipment used was able to detect alements with atomic number greater than 16. That means there could be no indication as to whether or not the TS has either aluminium (element no. 13) or sulphur (element no 16).
But as MPH correctly points out, kitchen experiments on whether alum is able to leave a ghost image on linen via an H2SO4-mediated chemical dehydration, producing (one might predict) an end result that is comparable to that with scorching off a hot metal template, should be relatively “easy”. The advantage over thermal imprinting, as Joseph Accetta points out, is that a carved wooden template can be used in place of metal for dye-imprinting. If alum (potassium aluminium sulphate) had been used a mordant, one has a ready explanation for a permanent ghost image that could survive long after the dyestuff had faded, given its tendency to produce free sulphuric acid by hydrolysis under moist conditions.
That’s all have to say on this somewhat unsatisfactory posting (with its curious focus on an abandoned Templar link). Reminder: my working hypothesis is (and has been for over a year) that the TS was fabricated to appear as if a whole body version of the Veil of Veronica, in which an initial sweat (and blood) imprint had been captured on Joseph of Arimathea’s linen, and there had been no further image enhancement of the negative imprint, least of all miraculous. So the fabricator’s task was ‘simply’ to simulate ancient sweat, for which it seems reasonable that dye/mordant combinations would have been used, essentially as proposed by STURP’s Joseph Accetta, someone to whom I raise my hat in admiration, especially as he is still thinking and publishing (see his St.Louis presentation).

PS: Sunday 6th May

This image will be the first in my next posting. I'm placing it here, since it's needed 
 as a source URL in order to respond to a direct question put to me this morning on