Coins over eyes


C10) There is the image of an identified coin (dilepton lituus) on the right eye (Filas 1982; Haralick 1983;
Barbesino 1997) .
C11) There is an image of another identifiable coin (Pilate lepton simpulum) over the left eye
(Balossino 1997; Barbesino 1997).

The two suspected coins placed on the eyes are believed to be Pilate coins, small bronze coins issued AD 30 or 31. Earlier attempts to identify the right eye coin seemed to reveal the letters UCAI and a lituus (the auger wand with a top end like a shepherd’s crook) at the center. All available Pilate coins with the lituus show the name of the Roman emperor at the time, Tiberius Caesar in Greek letters, TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC where the C, P and Y should sound like our S,R, and U respectively. It was thought that UCAI is an altered or even a mis-spelled form of Y KAI. A coin in the collection of Fr. Filas in Layola University in Chicago seemed to show the same letters. Later on, the coin on the left eye was conjectured to be a Julia coin (also issued by Pilate) with a simpulum (like a ladle) at the center.

Stephen Jones has a long write-up on the coins: … ce-is.html

Comment on the coins over eyes from Barrie Schwortz:

Around 1980, the late Fr. Francis Filas, of Loyola University in Chicago, claimed to have found a coin image on one of the eyes of the Shroud. Filas declared he could read the inscription on the coin and subsequently identified it as a Roman “lepton”, a small coin minted during the early first century. His theory was that the date on the coin proved the Shroud’s age. Although his work was widely publicized and seemed quite convincing, many scientists remained skeptical of his conclusions.

In recent years, Dr. Alan Whanger and his research team claimed to have discovered additional images on the Shroud, including various flowers, a spear tip and other items. And again, many in the scientific community remain skeptical.

My personal opinion, based on my photographic experience and my close examination of the Shroud itself, is that the weave of the cloth is far too coarse to resolve the rather subtle and very tiny inscription on a dime sized ancient coin. I believe the fibers are much too large to resolve such fine detail. Also, Filas found these coin “images” on the Shroud using the 1933 Enrie photographs. He personally mentioned to me that he could not achieve the same results with the 1978 photographs. Unfortunately, the 1933 photographs have been copied and recopied multiple times and I believe the “images” he discovered are artifacts of clumped photographic grain, caused by the recopying and enhancement of grain structure from earlier generation photographs. This grain clumping is very common on high contrast or contrast enhanced films when copied over multiple generations.

Filas’ research described a large number of points of congruence between the coin image he found on the Shroud and the actual coin. I believe one would get matching points of congruence for practically anything one looked for, since a highly magnified random sampling of clumped grain structure would have the same effect as a sky full of clouds: you could see whatever you wish to see, and no two people would necessarily see the same thing. Statistically, superimposing one random image over another yields a minimum of 50% congruence. At that point, one would have to reset the baseline to zero, and then, only significant congruence beyond that would be statistically viable.

Francis Filas and I were friends and had many discussions on the subject. I was never able to see what he was trying to point out to me in his photographs, much to his frustration. What he saw as inscriptions, I saw as random shapes and noise. Such is the subjective nature of image analysis. For these reasons however, I cannot accept these coin “inscriptions” as viable evidence of a first century Shroud “date”. In fact, the majority of all the imaging scientists who have directly and indirectly studied the Shroud in the last 25 years are skeptical of the multitude of secondary images continuously being “discovered” on the Shroud.

I do not argue that there appears to be something on the eyes of the man of the Shroud, and it may well be coins or potshards, since they were used in some first century burial rituals, but I do not believe we can resolve coin inscriptions. My own efforts at contrast enhancing and enlarging the 4″ x 5″ photographic negatives I made of the Shroud in 1978 failed to yield any similar results. As for other images on the Shroud, it is quite possible that these exist, but they are far more subtle than the Shroud image itself and may be the result of a different image formation mechanism. I believe that future research on the Shroud should include the use of the new, sophisticated imaging technologies that were not available in 1978. Perhaps then the question of these secondary images, as well as the coin images, can be verified or put to rest.

Joe Marino has compiled a list of arguments from both sides on the issue. His provides some background into the claim:

Three members of the STURP team wrote an article before they went to Italy, proposing there
could be coins on the eyes of the man in the Shroud. A Jesuit priest, the late Fr. Francis Filas,
took up the idea and believed he could identify the coin over the right eye as being a coin minted
in AD 29-32, known as a “lepton,” (with an astrologers staff called a lituus and inscription of the
emperor Tiberius Caesar in Greek letters ), by none other than Pontius Pilate, who sentenced
Jesus to death. Most scholars believe that Jesus was crucified in either AD 30 or 33. Filas
believed he could see the letters “UCAI,” but the problem was that the letters should have been
“UKAI.” One early critic wrote, “This is the only, and correct, writing.” Surprisingly, multiple
Pilate lepton coins with a misspelled “C” instead of a “K” later surfaced! Although STURP
ended up discounting Filas’ research, other researchers started looking into the question,
including the late physician Dr. Alan Whanger, and Prof. Robert Haralick (while he was at the
Spatial Data Analysis Laboratory at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in
1Blacksburg, VA). Dr. Whanger believed he was able to identify a Julia lepton, also minted by
Pilate in honor of Tiberius’ mother Julia) over the left eye of the man in the Shroud. Another
important question was whether Jews in ancient times used coins in burials. Research has also
continued to the present day.[/qoute] … bliography