The exact origins of the Turin Shroud remain a great mystery, but scientists are now disputing the long-held belief that the religious artifact is a medieval forgery.
Italian researchers at the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development say they believe the image was created by an ultraviolet "flash of light." However, if that theory is true, it remains a mystery as to exactly how that technology could have been implemented at the time of the Shroud's creation. While the technology is readily available in present day, it was far beyond the means of anyone around pre-20th Century.
The Turin Shroud is said to be the burial cloth of Jesus, but has long been believed to be a fake, created during medieval times. It is currently kept in a climate-controlled case in Turin cathedral. Scientists at the Italian agency have reportedly spent years attempting to recreate the Shroud's imagery. 'The results show a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,' the scientists said.
"When one talks about a flash of light being able to color a piece of linen in the same way as the shroud, discussion inevitably touches on things such as miracles," said Professor Paolo Di Lazzaro, who led the study. "But as scientists, we were concerned only with verifiable scientific processes. We hope our results can open up a philosophical and theological debate."
Believers in the Shroud say it contains the image of a man with nail wounds to the wrist and feet. Still, skeptics of the Shroud's authenticity are unlikely to be swayed. There has been substantial evidence working against it, including a 1988 radiocarbon test conducted at the University of Oxford, which dated the cloth to a time between 1260 and 1390.
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