Dating techniques used archaeology
The second pair of subsamples was treated with a commercial detergent (1.5% SDS), distilled water, 0.1% HCL and another detergent (1.5% triton X-100); they were then submitted to a Soxhlet extraction with ethanol for 60 min and washed with distilled water at 70° C in an ultrasonic bath (method b).
The Oxford group divided the precleaned sample into three.
To confirm the feasibility of dating the shroud by these methods an intercomparison, involving four AMS and two small gas-counter radiocarbon laboratories and the dating of three known-age textile samples, was coordinated by the British Museum in 1983. The strip came from a single site on the main body of the shroud away from any patches or charred areas.
The results of this intercomparison are reported and discussed by Burleigh . Three samples, each ~50 mg in weight, were prepared from this strip.
The procedures for taking the samples and treating the results were discussed by representatives of the three chosen laboratories at a meeting at the British Museum in January 1988 and their recommendations = standard deviation) errors, of the Shroud of Turin and control samples, as supplied by the three laboratories (A, Arizona; O, Oxford; Z, Zurich) (See also Table 2.) The shroud is sample 1, and the three controls are samples 2-4. The sampling of the shroud took place in the Sacristy at Turin Cathedral on the morning of 21 April 1988. All these operations, except for the wrapping of the samples in foil and their placing in containers, were fully documented by video film and photography.
Following this intercomparison, a meeting was held in Turin in September-October 1986 at which seven radiocarbon laboratories (five AMS and two small gas-counter) recommended a protocol for dating the shroud. The samples were then taken to the adjacent Sala Capitolare where they were wrapped in aluminium foil and subsequently sealed inside numbered stainless-steel containers by the Archbishop of Turin and Dr Tite.
In October 1987, the offers from three AMS laboratories (Arizona, Oxford and Zurich) were selected by the Archbishop of Turin, Pontifical Custodian of the shroud, acting on instructions from the Holy See, owner of the shroud. Samples weighing 50 mg from two of the three controls were similarly packaged.
It was first displayed at Lirey in France in the 1350s and subsequently passed into the hands of the Dukes of Savoy.
After many journeys the shroud was finally brought to Turin in 1578 where, in 1694, it was placed in the royal chapel of Turin Cathedral in a specially designed shrine.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.One-third received no further treatment, one-third was submitted to a weak treatment with 0.5% HCL (room temperature), 0.25% Na OH (room temperature) and again in acid, with rinsing in between.