Chemical analysis, all nicely peer-reviewed in scientific journals and subsequently confirmed by numerous chemists, shows that samples tested are chemically unlike the whole cloth.It was probably a mixture of older threads and newer threads woven into the cloth as part of a medieval repair.Some have proposed that it came from the body itself, or was generated by an event inside the tomb, pointing to a divine origin linked to the resurrection.
"We believe it is possible that neutron emissions by earthquakes could have induced the image formation on the Shroud's linen fibres, through thermal neutron capture on nitrogen nuclei, and could also have caused a wrong radiocarbon dating," said Professor Alberto Carpinteri, from the Politecnico di Torino.
The Shroud has attracted widespread interest ever since Secondo Pia took the first photograph of it in 1898 which showed details which could not be seen by the naked eye.
But if the newer thread is about half of what was tested – and some evidence suggests that – it is possible that the cloth is from the time of Christ.
No one has a good idea how front and back images of a crucified man came to be on the cloth.
Years ago, as a skeptic of the Shroud, I came to realize that while I might believe it was a fake, I could not know so from the facts.
Now, as someone who believes it is the real burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, I similarly realize that a leap of faith over unanswered questions is essential.
Mark Antonacci, a leading expert on the Shroud and president of the Resurrection of the Shroud Foundation, is currently petitioning Pope Francis to allow molecular analysis of the cloth using the latest technology.
It is hoped that such an investigation will be able to confirm or rule out the radiation theory.
Yes, it is possible to create images that look similar.
But no one has created images that match the chemistry, peculiar superficiality and profoundly mysterious three-dimensional information content of the images on the Shroud.
The scientists base the idea on research into piezonuclear fission reactions which occur when brittle rock is crushed under enormous pressure.