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Shroud Tour: Microscopic Traces

Please note, many of these traces that were originally documented in the 1978 STURP tests and other tests have been removed and collected during the 2002 preservation project


Throughout the Shroud’s weave, traces of cotton are found. This may puzzle some who would assume that the Shroud is made of pure linen. One must not be confused, the amount of cotton found on the Shroud is very minute, and does not trump the linen from which the shroud is made. Furthermore on the issue of the cotton found on the Shroud, I wish to cite a passage from Ian Wilson’s “The Blood and the Shroud” (page 71):
“[A]nother of Raes’s findings was of minute but unmistakable traces of cotton adhering to linen threads, suggesting to him that wherever the Shroud had been woven, it had been done on equipment that had also been used for cotton. Since the particular variety of cotton that Raes found was Gossypium herbaceum, a characteristic of Middle-Eastern variety, this initially led him…to regard this as good evidence for the Shroud having originated in the Middle East…Furthermore, as the French textile expert Gabriel Vial pointed out…the presence of traces of cotton may in any case be altogether incidental…the Shroud’s surface is so littered with microscopic debris, including innumerable particles and fibres from the garments of those who have brushed up against it…the presence of cotton might simply have derived from the wearing of cotton gloves by the people handling it—as in fact members of the STURP team did in 1978.”

As many would point out, the Jewish people were not allowed to mingle materials. To discuss this with regards to the cotton and linen, I turn to Mark Antonacci’s work, “The Resurrection of the Shroud” (page 99):
“Interestingly, microscopic traces of cotton were found on the shroud, but there were not microscopic traces of wool. Jewish Law (Mishnah) prohibited the mixing of linen and wool, as demonstrated by Deuteronomy 22:11 ‘You shall not wear mingled stuff, wool and linen together’ and Leviticus 19:19 ‘Neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.’ However, neither Deuteronomy, Leviticus, nor the Mishnah prohibited the mixing of cotton and linen.”

This is because cotton and linen are both from plants and not considered a mingling. Wool, however, comes from an animal, and if it is mixed with that of a plant, then it is considered mingled and unlawful. Any discrepancies between Bible translations can be solved by looking at the Mishnah. 

Pollen: Coming Soon!


Limestone Dust: Coming Soon!


Second-hand Contaminants:


Small traces of paint are found throughout the cloth’s surface. These traces of paint must be understood for what they are and what they are not. The paint does not make up the body image itself, nor does it make up the blood areas, instead, the small traces of paint are a result of a common practice that when one paints a picture of a holy thing, they press their painting against the original to “sanctify” it, making their painting holy, essentially, a third-class relic. When this is done, small traces of the painted image would cling to the original. This is what we see in regards to the traces of paint on the Shroud.


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