The technique hinges on carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.
Organisms capture a certain amount of carbon-14 from the atmosphere when they are alive.
Following Time's lead, we reported that although radiocarbon tests have dated the shroud to 1260-1390 A.
D., no one has been able to account for the shadowy image of a naked 6-foot-tall man that appears on the shroud.
Guillermo Gonzalez for sending me the issue of BAR with the Shroud article last November and encouraging me to act on it.
Stephen Mattingly - Previously unpublished response to the article "A Letter to Hershel Shanks, Editor of BAR" by Dr.
But even he “realized that there probably would be variation”, says Christopher Bronk Ramsey, a geochronologist at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the latest work, published today in Science.
With bloodstains on the back, wrists, feet, side and head the image appears to be that of a crucified man.
The details - the direction of the flow of blood from the wounds, the placement of the nails through the wrists rather than the palms - displays a knowledge of crucifixion that seems too accurate to have been that of a medieval artist.
The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that radiocarbon is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen.
The resulting radiocarbon combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis; animals then acquire in a sample from a dead plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died.