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The Shroud of Turin is much older than suggested by radiocarbon dating carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study in a peer-reviewed journal.
A research paper published in Thermochimica Acta suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.
"It was embarrassing to have to agree with them," Mr Rogers told the BBC News website.
The 4m-long linen sheet was damaged in several fires since its existence was first recorded in France in 1357, including a church blaze in 1532.
Even for the first investigation, there was a possibility of using radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the linen from which the shroud was woven.
The size of the sample then required, however, was ~500cm, which would clearly have resulted in an unacceptable amount of damage, and it was not until the development in the 1970s of small gas-counters and accelerator-mass-spectrometry techniques (AMS), requiring samples of only a few square centimetres, that radiocarbon dating of the shroud became a real possibility. The shroud was separated from the backing cloth along its bottom left-hand edge and a strip (~10 mm x 70 mm) was cut from just above the place where a sample was previously removed in 1973 for examination.
The author dismisses 1988 carbon-14 dating tests which concluded that the linen sheet was a medieval fake.
The shroud, which bears the faint image of a blood-covered man, is believed by some to be Christ's burial cloth.
It was this material that was responsible for an invalid date being assigned to the original shroud cloth, he argues.The scientists base the idea on research into piezonuclear fission reactions which occur when brittle rock is crushed under enormous pressure.Neutron radiation is usually generated by nuclear fusion or fission, and may be produced by nuclear reactors or particle accelerators."The radiocarbon sample has completely different chemical properties than the main part of the shroud relic," said Mr Rogers, who is a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, US.
Fire damage He says he was originally dubious of untested claims that the 1988 sample was taken from a re-weave.
This flood of neutrons may have imprinted an X-ray-like image onto the linen burial cloth, say the researches.