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SHROUD SCIENCE GROUP INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
The Shroud of Turin: Perspectives on a Multifaceted Enigma

OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY  BLACKWELL HOTEL

August 14 through August 17, 2008           Abstracts of Papers

  

Aspects of the Shroud in Botany and Related Art by Dr. Alan and Mary Whanger (adw2@acpub.duke.edu). Friday, August 15, 3:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m. 

The floral images on the Shroud are very subtle, being faint, fragmented, partial, and embedded in a clutter of other images. They were first written about in 1983 by Oswald Scheuermann, a German physics teacher, with whom we had already been in collaboration about images on the Shroud which have characteristics of corona or electrostatic imaging. I looked at several of our many high-grade positive and negative photographs of the Shroud mostly made from the first generation copies of the Enrie negatives which were in the possession of Father Frank Filas. I did not perceive floral im­ages at that time, but in 1985 I first noted a definite flower image, and then, knowing what they appeared like, I began to perceive many more. I obtained the definitive botany books of Israel, and over the next four years gradually tentatively identified 28 different varieties of flower images. The 1988 carbon dating disaster precluded being able to get any of these findings into the media. In 1995 on a trip to Israel, we were able to show some of the photographs to Dr. Avinoam Danin, Professor of Botany at Hebrew University, who immediately recognized the imaged flowers and knew that they grew in Jerusalem. That began a fruitful ongoing collegiate relationship. Danin confirmed many of our initial findings and has made several more himself. 

Many have not seen the remarkable detail of the images on the Shroud, and so we propose to demonstrate several of these by using our polarized image overlay comparison technique to show some of the details which help us to identify the various floral images, usually to the very species. Tabulating various botanical details enables us to show that the Shroud images originated in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem during the month of March or April. We will demon­strate how the appearance of the imaged flowers enable us to determine the approximate time that the image was formed after death (30 to 36 hours), and even the time of day that some of the flowers were picked (between 3 and 4 in the afternoon). The botanical images, which include several thorns and thistles, give us a much more graphic idea of events associated with the crucifixion and the entombment, as well as important evidence about aspects of the image formation itself. There is also a significant correlation between the identified floral images and the pollen grains identified by Dr. Max Frei on the sticky tapes that he took from the Shroud in 1973 and 1978. 

Examining early art works based on the Shroud facial image shows in a number of cases that the floral images were subtly expressed in portraits in the Roman catacombs possibly as early as the third century, and clearly in icons in the sixth century and coins in the seventh century. This indicates that the images on the Shroud were much more distinct in the early centuries, and of course refutes the notion that the Shroud is a medieval European artistic production. 

The botanical studies thus provide important data to help us better understand and appreciate the complex nature and implications of the Shroud of Turin.
 

Copyright 2008, Shroud Science Group

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