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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.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.The Arizona group split each sample into four subsamples.

Two were in the form of whole pieces of cloth (samples 2 and 3) and one was in the form of threads (sample 4). This corresponds to a calendar age, rounded to the nearest 5 years, of 110 cal BC - AD 75 cal at the 68 per cent confidence level (where cal denotes calibrated radiocarbon dates). Threads removed from the cope of St Louis d'Anjou which is held in a chapel in the Basilica of Saint-Maximin, Var, France.

But the three laboratories undertook not to compare results until after they had been transmitted to the British Museum.

Also, at two laboratories (Oxford and Zurich), after combustion to gas, the samples were recoded so that the staff making the measurements did not know the identity of the samples. On the basis of the Islamic embroidered pattern and Christian ink inscription, this linen could be dated to the eleventh to twelfth centuries AD. Linen from the collection of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum, associated with an early second century AD mummy of Cleopatra from Thebes (EA6707).

At the same time, the British Museum was invited to help in the certification of the samples provided and in the statistical analysis of the results. The age of the shroud is obtained as AD 1260-1390, with at least 95% confidence. The three containers containing the shroud (to be referred to as sample 1) and two control samples (samples 2 and 3) were then handed to representatives of each of the three laboratories together with a sample of the third control (sample 4), which was in the form of threads.

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.

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