|New banner on my shroudofturinwithoutallthehype website. Click to enlarge.|
However, rest assured that the image produced with the two step procedure (imprinting with flour/water, then developing the image with nitric acid) does respond reasonably well to Secondo Pia style tone-reversal (negative to positive) and to 3D rendering in ImageJ (see previous posting).
Some have noted that I've said little about bloodstains in the new model. I don't intend to, considering that blood (or should that be "blood", i.e. some kind of blood substitute?) while showing some curious and perhaps unexplained details is not one of the 'enigmatic' features of the Turin Shroud, the latter being confined to the faint body image. (It cannot be said too often that the so-called "wounds" and "injuries" on the TS are NOT visible in the body image per se, but merely INFERRED from the locations of bloodstains. What's more, that's true also for the dumbbell-shaped imprints of many of the scourge marks: they are imprints made by trace amounts of blood only. They lack scientific corroboration and thus verification in the body image as regards proving authenticity. (But then, this blogger's aim is not, and never has been, to disprove authenticity - merely to pour cold water on the daft claims - from self-styled "scientists" no less - that the TS body image could never have been generated except by supernatural means).
What any model has to explain is why there is no body image under bloodstains, at least according to the crucial test that Adler and Heller did with their protein-digesting enzyme under the microscope. (One would have preferred more direct evidence that the blood is underneath, not on top of body image - the latter being a more convenient geometry from a forger's point of view- but let's take that particular Adler/Heller result at face value, even if remaining unwilling to do so in respect of all their results - notably their scarcely-credible "bilirubin story").
The new model accommodates the 'blood-first, image second' chronology. One applies the imprinting medium first to the human subject, then, before it's had time to dry, one paints or dribbles on the blood. One then imprints onto linen. The blood is the first of the two liquids to make contact with linen, so there will be no body image under blood. Indeed body image will end up on top of blood.
But is that scenario necessarily the one that was deployed, with its rather demanding time-frame, inasmuch as blood, with all those intricate patterns, has to be applied before the imprinting paste dries and becomes useless for imprinting? Answer: NO. In fact, it's through a consideration of the practical constraints on a 'conjoint' imprinting of blood and body image that some tantalizing alternative scenarios suggest themselves. They will now be briefly flagged up.
In fact, let's cut to the chase with the new thinking. Here goes. The Turin Shroud was not intended originally to be a blood AND body imprint forgery, only a blood one. In other words, it was intended originally to be a whole-body counterpart of the Sudarium of Oviedo, the latter being the alleged face-cloth that was applied to the face of Jesus immediately after death on the cross, with bloodstains but NO body image.
How might that blood-only imprint have been obtained? Answer: by applying blood to a live volunteer (or corpse) in all the biblically-correct locations for scourge marks, crown of thorns, nails in hands and feet, lance wound in side, then taking a double (frontal v dorsal) imprint onto linen.
|Map of locations of 372 scourge marks according to Faccini and Fanti*|
Straightaway one sees a rationale for scourge mark 'over-kill' (there being allegedly 372 of them): without that multitude of scourge marks that cover most of the naked body from chest and shoulders to foot, there would be large empty areas on the imprint.
|From a posting this blogger did some 3 years* ago, showing how scourge marks on the Shroud respond to 3D-enhancement in ImageJ, despite being blood-only (not body image)|
One also has a rationale for the absence of loin cloth, otherwise problematical in terms of artistic sensibilities. Folded hands over groin area AND a multitude of scourge marks across bare buttocks helped ameliorate that problem.
A Mark 1 (blood only) length of linen could have been conceptualized, and indeed promoted, as the actual one that was used to transport the crucified Jesus from cross to nearby rock tomb by Joseph of Arimathea (not intended as final burial shroud note). For all one knows, that blood-only forgery might have been stored for a period, weeks, months, maybe longer, giving blood plenty of time to set hard and oxidize. Might a new idea have entered the heads of our forgers. Why stop there? Why not call the volunteer back for a second imprinting on top of the blood of something that could be claimed to be body image, created by drying and yellowing of ancient SWEAT?
How practical is that one may ask: to imprint with "sweat" in a second entirely independent session introduced as an afterthought? Answer: probably not too difficult. Why not? Because the task of correctly aligning blood-stained linen over a flour-pasted body would be much simplified by the fact that the initial blood penetrates the weave of the linen to give a reverse side imprint. That reverse-side blood can then be used to assist with alignment. By the same token, some small discrepancies are likely, as indeed is the case with the TS. Was that blood from a nail wound really mean to be in the wrist (which while mechanically-correct had not featured previously in Western art)? Was there really supposed to be blood trails in the hair, a dubious feature, given blood from scalp wounds tends to clog and create matted hair, not run in rivulets)? Was the blood initially applied to the cheek of the volunteer? Are blood and bosy images out of 'stereo-register', as pro-authenticists have claimed to counter criticism of unrealistic blood trails down hair. Or are these the clues to separate imprinting of blood and body image - in that order?
Is there hard evidence for the Mark 1/Mark 2 chronology suggested, with an indeterminate gap separating the application of blood then body image? Answer: no, and probably never will be, short of discovering some forger's diary that had slipped down the back of a well-preserved medieval sofa.
|Bloodstains - back of head - one of 20 raised-contrast images from my 'Shroud Scope' gallery*|
*Link to gallery, June 2012
But there's one feature that supports it: that's the 'messiness' of some of the bloodstains, notably on the back of the head, that one infers as being due to the crown of thorns. There is something uncompromisingly 'messy Sudarium of Oviedo-like' in that blood, in sharp contrast to the neater (some might say too neat) scourge mark imprints and blood trails on forearms etc. Indeed one even wonders whether the blood stains evolved in separate instalments, say the major ones first, followed by the more subtle and mannered scourge marks later, all this happening before there was an intention or even inspiration to overlay them all with a body image.
Time now to take a break and deliberate further on this more nuanced scenario - a phased evolution of the Turin Shroud, starting initially as big blood-brother to the Sudarium of Oviedo.
Update, May 22: here's the opening to a comment on the shroudstory site from the tedious Charles Freeman, self-styled historian (writer of history-themed books actually - something entirely different):
"Disproving my hypothesis that the Shroud was originally a painted linen with iconography of the fourteenth century whose pigments have disintegrated would be a step forward. It has not yet been done so I am keeping the hypothesis alive."
This is not how science operates. It's not even how academic research in any discipline operates. One does not propose a hypothesis, especially one that ignores or flies in the face of accumulated data, and then sit around, waiting for others to disprove one's hypothesis.
To be useful a hypothesis has to be framed in terms that make it testable. To constantly intone, as Freeman does, that there are experts in painted linen out there who given the right equipment will one day prove him correct, is the ANTITHESIS of academic scholarship. (Yes, "experts in painted linen": how's that for begging the question?). The man is a crushing bore, and vain and arrogant with it too. It's time his publishers took a long hard look at the lack of solid scholarship. He is NOT an academic historian.
It's about as exciting a spectacle as watching a circus tightrope performer with a safety net. Freeman's safety net is his entirely imaginary community of painted linen experts that he sees as his insurance policy should the going become too difficult.
Update: Saturday May 23
Some comments from David Beltz (posting as daveB) of Wellington, NZ have appeared recently on the shroudstory site, one where I no longer place comments (those who follow that site can probably guess why). However, it shan't prevent me from responding to them here.
Here's the first, reproduced in full, with a par-for-the-course put-down reference to this blogger/retired biomedical scientist highlighted in red.
Large-scale funding is required if the investigations are to be anything other than amateur. Much of the science too seldom seems to get as far as the peer-review stage. Colin Berry labours on in his kitchen or his garage, but his work seems to be too agenda driven.
On the historical front, too much has already been lost. The historians find much to criticise in what meagre documentation there is, and they even complain at intelligent speculation, calling it writing a novel.
The ancients were capable of a great deal more than they are generally credited with. As a young man, I found Sprague de Camp’s history on the ancient engineers most enlightening. Given their industry and individual innovation, I do not find it surprising that they might be capable of weaving a herring bone cloth of the dimensions of the Shroud, regardless of what looms might or might not have been generally available at the time.
I see no future in the painted linen hypothesis, only that it may be disproved. No ancient or medieval painting has the realistic form of the man on the Shroud. Shred the paint off any portrait on linen. If anything remains, it will still look like only an artifact by human hand.
In the meanwhile, the Shroud can serve its purpose as an object of religious meditation, which in these pages is too seldom considered.
So I'm an amateur now, am I, despite a record of published research, some highly cited, and despite having supervised and/or examined PhD theses, acted as referee for top biochemical/biomedical journals? One loses one's professional credentials on retirement - is that the take-away message. Oh, and there's that reference to me continuing to labour away in my kitchen and garage. First, our sniffy and superior David Beltz seems to have overlooked that I have ceased labouring away, having proposed a generic two-stage model for the TS that involves first stage imprinting followed by second stage colour development. The model has been validated using white flour for Stage 1 imprinting followed by nitric acid vapour or solution for second stage colour development. No, I'm not "labouring away" David Beltz. I am awaiting critical comment, though none has so far emerged, folk like you much preferring to make derisive putdowns. As for the kitchen and garage: to the best of my knowledge, nitric acid behaves exactly the same inside a glass jar or bottle in my garage as it does in the laboratory. I could if I so desired impose on a close relative who does biomedical research in one of the world's most prestigious research laboratories, said to have a "Nobel Prize winner on each floor" that is just a 40 minute drive away, and repeat my experiments there, thus avoiding references to my garage completely. However, I respect that individual too much to do that purely to impress the smug superior David Beltzes of this world.
I'll be back later with another comment from the Mr.High and Mighty David Belz later in the day, one that places another now deceased home-researcher, STURP's Raymond N.Rogers up on his customary pedestal. We'll take a look at what Mr. Rogers is quoted as saying in that 'peer-reviewed' paper of his re the alleged detection of starch on the Shroud, by someone else, not he, himself, and the allusions to Pliny era spinning and weaving technology, and proceed to ask: who's the one making rash, unsubstantiated claims and assumptions, and who's the one trying to stick to the facts, backed up by patient and careful experimentation, albeit in a kitchen or garage?
Oh, and as for that reference to my research being "agenda driven", I've stated repeatedly that my beef is with pseudoscience that masquerades as science. If that's an "agenda" so be it, but I suspect that folk were intended to place a rather different construction on Mr.Beltz's deployment of that term, which from where I am standing is about as mean and despicable an implication as one can get, though entirely predictable where that increasingly no-holds-barred pro-authenticity cheer-leading, tub-thumping shroudstory site is concerned.
Oh, and here's one from the same incomparable daveb made at the start of the month :
Colin has now been attempting to reproduce the properties of the image for some three years, with indifferent success only, although I applaud his perseverance. Might we suppose that a less chemistry-informed artisan would have struck it lucky any sooner? As one early commentator observed, Colin is more likely to end up proving the resurrection from all his efforts.
So it's a race is it to the correct answer? Who are the other competitors may one ask in the modelling department? Who are these "less chemistry-informed artisans" who should have crossed the finishing line ahead of me?
What we see here, yet again, is snide, belittling comment, the bane of internet forums, that can be summed -up in a single word: TOXIC!
There have been hints previously of that engineer's antipathy towards science and scientists. Here's just one example that I saved to file a way back:
And he has the nerve to accuse me of being 'agenda -driven' ! This from the same man that faltly rejects the d'Arcis memorandum in its entirety, on the grounds that the original Latin document was uncovered and translated into French in the late 19th century by Ulysses Chevalier, who he claims was ideologically tainted and, guess what, agenda-driven? The ease with which our David Belz resorts to genteel smear tactics doth truly take the breath away.
And here is another gem from our all-knowing, all-seeing commentator. It's supposed to be authoritative science (peer-reviewed journal!!) from Ray Rogers no less.
(MAILLARD REACTION) MAY EXPLAIN THE IMAGE FORMATION” Raymond N. Rogers & Anna Arnoldi, 2003, This article originally appeared in Melanoidins vol. 4, Ames J.M. ed., Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2003, pp.106-113.
“Observations of weave density and lignin content of the shroud fibres (Rogers, 2001) indicate a very mild bleaching technique in agreement with the methods described by Pliny the Elder (77). The same technology was in use, with some minor differences, until after the last crusade in 1291 (Hochberg, 1980). Linen was spun by hand on a spindle whorl. When the spindle was full, the spinner made a hank of thread. Each hank of thread was bleached separately, and each was a little different. Different parts of the same thread in the shroud’s weave show slightly different colours, like a variegated yarn. The warp thread was protected with starch during the weaving process, making the cloth stiff. The final cloth was washed in a solution made from Saponaria officinalis. Saponaria produces four glycosidic saponins, and all hydrolyse to produce sugar chains. (Ya Chirva et al., 1969) The following carbohydrates were identified in those chains: galactose, glucose, arabinose, xylose, fucose, rhamnose, and glucuronic acid.”
“The presence of starch, in particular amilose, on the shroud was confirmed by the fact that during testing for sulfoproteins in blood areas with an iodine-azide reagent (which bubbles vigorously when sulfur is present), a reddish background was formed. Image colour does not appear under the bloodstains when they are removed with a proteolytic enzyme. Whatever process produced the image, colour must have occurred after the blood flowed onto (or was painted onto) the cloth, and the image-producing process did not destroy the blood (Heller and Adler, 1981).”
Note that the authors are asserting that several carbohydrates, including some sugars, were identified, and also amilose, which I take to be a starch. Authors also cite Heller & Adler regarding blood-stains. Searching on “starch” on shroud.com web-site results in several other papers.
Had the paper come to me for refereeing with that cited passage above, it would have been rejected out of hand.
I'd have appended the following specific comments to the author and journal Editor:
1. Do not go citing Pliny the Elder out of the blue, begging the question re Shroud authenticity, implying that the radiocarbon dating can be safely ignored. Oh no it cannot. The author might think it invalid, based on his examination of a few threads illicitly removed from the radiocarbon sample, with a subsequent gap in the chain of custody. But he cannot expect others to take his rejection as the consensus position in science. It's not. Indeed, the manner in which Pliny has been insinuated into the above text suggests strongly that Raymond N.Rogers was not strictly neutral and disinterested on the subject of authenticity when he penned the above paper, making it worryingly possible that he was not neutral at the time he worked with STURP in 1978. It's my belief that Rogers was a closet authenticist. If he considered the radiocarbon dating was hopelessly wrong (by some 1300 years!) then he as STURP's chemical team leader should have been the one to press for a repeat dating - not to go tacitly assuming authenticity. Science has to be totally objective in its written PEER-REVIEWED publications.
2. The presence of starch "confirmed" with a reagent that designed to test for something entirely different? The correct reagent for detecting starch is a solution of iodine in potassium iodide, which gives a blue-black inky colour with starch. A solution of iodine in the presence of sodium azide, intended to detect sulphoproteins, one that gives a totally different colour (red), CANNOT be assumed to be testing for starch or one its 2 components UNLESS VALIDATING TESTS ARE REPORTED. They were not. We are asked to accept that iodine/azide is a dual purpose reagent. Who says? Neither does it inspire confidence to see a reference to "amilose", it being AMYLOSE needless to say. Secondly the differentiation between amylose (straight chain starch) and the unmentioned amylopectin (branched chain starch) simply cannot be inserted into a scientific account without a word of explanation. In any case, the two components of starch were not properly recognized as distinct chemical entities until the 1940s. Their relevance to colorimetric tests for starch is highly questionable to say the least, unless dealing with genetic variants of wheat and other cereals, notably maize, that are enriched in one or the other (e.g. waxy maize starches that are almost entirely amylopectin, which gives a red or purple colour with iodine/potassium iodide). What we see here is at best sloppy and imprecise unscientific reporting that should never have got past the referees.
3. There is no conclusive evidence that starch or other polysaccharides and/or sugars are present on the Shroud, and even if the red colour with iodine/azide were admissible evidence, for which no assurance is offered, the evidence for that was from Adler and Heller. One CANNOT GO BASING MAJOR CLAIMS (as Roger's "starch fraction/Maillard hypothesis" has become a major claim) on evidence from other workers, in other laboratories, that is little more than anecdotal.
Repeat: the paper that David Beltz cites as if the gold standard in Shroudology SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION.
Research note: while considering my own intervention in TS image research to be largely complete (it is sufficient in science to produce a feasible model that may be beyond the resources of oneself to test ) I may place an order for some iodine/potassium iodide ("Lugol's") solution as a test for starch. The model proposed predicts that while the flour-derived starch would still be present immediately after development with nitric acid vapour (possibly not with the acid as solution) the starch granules would then selectively wash out in the neutralization step with sodium bicarbonate (leaving just the yellow or orange nitrated wheat gluten). While starch granules are not 'soluble' in cold water or aqueous solutions, they are nevertheless easily washed out by mechanical action, being of microscopic dimensions, which is the basis for separating wheat gluten protein from starch by kneading flour dough under water, washing out the starch, leaving a rubbery mass of gluten.
I shall add a photo here later of wheat starch granules that I isolated by the washing procedure when showing that it is protein, not starch, that is responsible for the yellow coloration formed when nitric acid reacts with a flour imprint on linen.
Here are those photos (late addition):
|Here's the dried-out sedimented starch at the bottom of the container, after kneading a flour dough so as to be left holding a rubbery mass of gluten (protein)in one's palm. The millions of tiny starch granules then settle out under gravity.|
Update/progress report: Sunday 24 May
The two stage image capture/image development model proposed here, which to the best of my knowledge has never been articulated previously, far less demonstrated experimentally, could be said to have began life on 1st April this year (not the most auspicious date I grant you). It was the final posting and abandonment of sulphuric acid as hypothesized agent for the yellow-brown TS image, that acid having been found wanting (it can discolor linen, but only at high concentration AND elevated temperature). That was the signal to look at alternative acids, with nitric acid being the obvious candidate. The next posting laid the historical groundwork, describing how nitric acid was known in the 13th/14th century, thanks to the writings of 'Pseudo-Geber', possibly one and the same as the Franciscan monk-cum-alchemist, one Paul of Taranto.
Here's a list of the postings on this site, since April Fool's day, taken from the summary table provided by Blogger Blogspot (which hosts this blog) and the current total of visits/views for each posting.
Typical response (with one or two welcome exceptions) from commenters on Dan Porter's shroudstory site :
"If you and your model were any good, you’d have thought of it sooner, instead of wasting our time these last 3 years with your blather"
In addition, there are these 2 recent postings on my specialist Shroud site, only recently reactivated after being dormant since end-2014:
13 May 15 (16 views)
19 May 15 (8 views)
However, the true birth date for the current hypothesis, and the break with previous "thermal scorch" thinking , could be said to have been with this one on Feb 28, 2013