The image of a prone man with hands folded can be made out on the cloth, with both the front and back views of the head meeting neatly at the middle of the sheet, suggesting it was folded over the front and back of a naked body in death.
The cloth, a pale sheet of woven fabric approximately 14-feet (4.5 meters) –long, might be considered unremarkable save for the distinctive reddish-brown markings on its front and back.But other scientists say this newly proposed premise leaves some major questions unanswered. Though the Catholic Church doesn't have an official position on the cloth, the relic is visited by tens of thousands of worshippers at the Turin Cathedral in Italy each year. The first records of the shroud begin to appear in medieval sources around the same time, which skeptics don't think is a coincidence.The Shroud of Turin, which bears a faint image of a man's face and torso, is said to be the fabric that covered Jesus' body after his crucifixion in A. [Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus] Carbon and quakes Radiocarbon dating tests conducted at three different labs in the 1980s indicated the cloth was less than 800 years old, produced in the Middle Ages, between approximately A. Those results were published in the journal Nature in 1989.The Shroud of Turin, the controversial piece of linen that some believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, could finally be dated accurately.A new method "stands to revolutionize radiocarbon dating," according to research presented on Tuesday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.But critics in favor of a much older date for the cloth have alleged that those researchers took a sample of fabric that was used to patch up the burial shroud in the medieval period, or that the fabric had been subjected to fires, contamination and other damaged that skewed the results.