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To suggest evidence for burial ointments in the Shroud of Turin


*Corresponding author
Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Catania, I-95123, Catania, Italy
Università di Messina, Dipartimento di Fisica e di Scienze della Terra, I-98166, Messina, Italy


In this paper we suggest that observations of the different intensities of the dorsal and ventral images on the Shroud of Turin can be accounted for by the presence of burial ointments and/or perfumes. This is a new approach, valuable because of the strong disagreement between the results of various previous experiments to determine chemical substances on the Shroud. We will show that the image intensity of both images varies measurably and consistently between the dorsal and ventral images, in areas that nevertheless represent the same cloth-body distance, and suggest that this variation is due to the different amount of burial ointments covering the upper and lower surfaces of the body as it lay on the cloth.

The determination of the original presence of perfumes and/or burial ointments is one of the goals of research on the Shroud. Experiments on, and theoretical analyses of, the above questions are valuable in the attempt to determine if the Linen of Turin is a true shroud.

The Turin Shroud is an ancient linen cloth of rectangular form (approximately 436 cm long x 110 cm wide) that shows both the front and the back images of a beaten, scourged and crucified man. Also bloodstains, water marks, burned and scorched areas are present. The last traces are due to the 1532 Chambery fire that damaged the cloth in some parts without remedy (see Figure 1). For many people, the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus of the Gospels. Others, are sure that it is a mediaeval forgery. However, a wide debate still exists. For the best knowledge, we address the readers towards both popular (1-4) and scientific (5, 6) articles.
The aromas and/or burial ointments research is open because the results are in disagreement:

  1. The visual microscopic examination furnished, in line with the thermic instability of these organic substances, negative results (7).
  2. The immuno ...
  3. ...