In fact, the Shroud is much older than the carbon 14 tests suggested. No matter what any one of us may believe about the Shroud’s authenticity, we can no longer say that carbon 14 dating proves medieval origins; for the tests in 1988 were botched.
Photomicrograph of fibers from middle of carbon 14 sample. For those who after 1988 continued to believe that the Shroud was the genuine burial cloth of Jesus, a winter of ridicule and doubts has ended.
For all who use carbon 14 dating to study all manner of ancient objects, a period of careful reassessment is just beginning.
There are, in understanding what went wrong, important lessons that will ripple through archeology, anthropology, forensics and science lecture halls whenever and wherever carbon 14 dating is discussed.
Students will ask why a single sample from a suspect corner was used.