Examine dating

Probably the most important factor to consider when using radiocarbon dating is if external factors, whether through artificial contamination, animal disturbance, or human negligence, contributed to any errors in the determinations.

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Inside the Vatican, an independent journal on Vatican affairs, reported: Rogers, who usually viewed attempts to invalidate the 1988 study as ‘ludicrous’ . As it turns out, Rogers ended up agreeing with Benford and Marino.

A common form of criticism is to cite geologically complicated situations where the application of radiometric dating is very challenging.

These are often characterised as the norm, rather than the exception.

The application of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) for radiocarbon dating in the late 1970s was also a major achievement.

Compared to conventional radiocarbon techniques such as Libby's solid carbon counting, the gas counting method popular in the mid-1950s, or liquid scintillation (LS) counting, AMS permitted the dating of much smaller sized samples with even greater precision.

These repairs, particularly in the media, are sometimes confused with patches applied to the shroud following the 1532 fire. But the reweaving repair was intended to be nearly invisible.

Would repairs in 1531 (a plausible date from the historical records) or at any other time, have been so expertly done that that they would have gone unnoticed when the carbon dating samples were cut from the cloth? In fact, he referred to the Benford and Marino as part of the "lunatic fringe of shroud research." According to Philip Ball, writing in “Rogers thought that he would be able to ‘disprove [the] theory in five minutes.’” (brackets are Ball’s). set out to show their [Benford and Marino] claim was wrong, but in the process, he discovered they were correct.

Regardless of the particular 14C technique used, the value of this tool for archaeology has clearly been appreciated.

Desmond Clark (1979:7) observed that without radiocarbon dating "we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation." And as Colin Renfrew (1973) aptly noted over 30 years ago, the "Radiocarbon Revolution" transformed how archaeologists could interpret the past and track cultural changes through a period in human history where we see among other things the massive migration of peoples settling virtually every major region of the world, the transition from hunting and gathering to more intensive forms of food production, and the rise of city-states.

It is these highly consistent and reliable samples, rather than the tricky ones, that have to be falsified for "young Earth" theories to have any scientific plausibility, not to mention the need to falsify huge amounts of evidence from other techniques.

Another hypothesis was being floated to explain why the carbon dating of the shroud might be wrong. Sue Benford and Joe Marino suggested that the sample used in the carbon dating was from a corner of the cloth that had been mended using a technique known as invisible reweaving – an actual technique practiced by medieval tapestry restorers and practiced today by tailors to repair tears in expensive clothing.

It was gaining traction among some shroud researchers and on the internet.

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