The Shroud of Turin is perhaps the most “controversial” religious artifact in the world and is on public display for the first time in over a decade. As fascinating as this relic is, it is by no means controversial. In reality, the shroud’s authenticity has been dis proven years ago using using various experiments; the only reason for the “controversy” comes from the refusal of the religious community to accept the evidence.
Before we proceed, here is some background: The Shroud of Turin cloth supposedly wrapped Jesus’s body after the crucifixion and became imprinted with his image. Numerous historical references to Christ’s shroud exist but the only reliable records for the one today housed in Turin Cathedral begin in the 16th Century. The herringbone woven cloth measuring 4ft x14ft, is stained with human blood and appears to show the imprint of a crucified man.
Now, let’s look at what I think are the most convincing arguments for the shroud’s forgery:
The Carbon-14 Dating Test:
A “strip was divided into three parts and sent to three leading laboratories specializing in carbon dating, in Oxford, Arizona, and Zurich. Working under conditions of scrupulous independence – not comparing notes – the three laboratories reported their verdicts on the date when the flax from which the cloth had been woven died. Oxford said C.E. 1200, Arizona 1304 and Zurich 1274. These dates are all – within normal margins of error – compatible with each other and with the date in the 1350’s at which the shroud is first mentioned in history.” 
The Archaeological Test:
“In Jerusalem, a team lead by Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologist Shimon Gibson uncovered a Jewish man’s burial shroud in a tomb inside a cave…the researchers also announced that the shroud, radiocarbon dated to 1 – 50 C.E., supports the idea that the Shroud of Turin had not been used to wrap the body of Jesus after his crucifixion. The Jerusalem shroud is made of simply-woven linen and wool, while the Shroud of Turin is made of a complex twill weave, a fabric not thought to have been available on the region until the Middle Ages.” 
The Electron Microscopy Test:
“In 1980, using electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction, Dr. Walter C. McCrone found red ochre (iron oxide, hematite) and vermilion (mercuric sulfide); the electron microprobe analyzer found iron, mercury, and sulfur on a dozen of the blood-image area samples. The results fully confirmed Dr. McCrone’s results and further proved the image was painted twice – once with red ochre, followed by vermilion to enhance the blood-image areas.
In 1987, carbon dating at three prestigious laboratories agreed well with his date: 1355 by microscopy and 1325 by C-14 dating. The suggestion that the 1532 Chambery fire changed the date of the cloth is ludicrous. Samples for C-dating are routinely and completely burned to CO 2 as part of a well-tested purification procedure. The suggestions that modern biological contaminants were sufficient to modernize the date are also ridiculous. A weight of 20th century carbon equaling nearly two times the weight of the Shroud carbon itself would be required to change a 1st century date to the 14th century. Besides this, the linen cloth samples were very carefully cleaned before analysis at each of the C-dating laboratories.” 
Experimental details on the tests carried out by McCrone are available in five papers published in three different peer-reviewed journal articles: The Microscope 28, p. 105, 115 (1980); The Microscope 29, p. 19 (1981); Wiener Berichte uber Naturwissenschaft in der Kunst 1987/1988, 4/5, 50 and Acc. Chem. Res. 1990, 23, 77-83.
In light of the mountain of evidence pointing to forgery, and considering the fact that at least one modern artist has produced a comparable fake , it seems clear that the shroud is not the burial shroud of a savior that its believers wish it to be.
The shroud is a quite simply a fake. I don’t understand how anyone could draw any other conclusion based on all the scientific evidence.
As the old English proverb goes: “There are none so blind as those, that will not see”.
Thank you for reading,
- Dawkins, Richard, “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution”, Free Press; First Edition, September 22, 2009, ISBN-10: 1416594787, Pgs: 105-106
- Mati Milstein, “First-century Focus”, Archaeology Magazine [A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America], March/April 2010, Pg 9.
- McCrone, Walter, C., “The Shroud of Turing: Blood or Artist’s Pigment?”, McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, 1989.
- Ingham, Richard, “Turin Shroud confirmed as a fake”, Physorg.com, June 21, 2005, http://www.physorg.com/news4652.html
- In Detail: Shroud of Turin