Summary of C-14 procedural issues

To summarize the procedural problems with the 1988 C-14 dating of the TS:

1. Only a single sample location was taken from the shroud.


2. Bias was demonstrated by the C-14 labs in their role in kicking out STURP from participating in the tests and preventing their proposal of additional non-destructive tests to be carried through.


3. The traditional decay counting method of C-14 testing was discarded and the only the new AMS method would be used. This slashed the original number of seven labs to be involved to three.

New Scientist reported from the labs:

“If one of the laboratories pulls out, then the test will be virtually meaningless.”

“As you are aware, there are many critics in the world who will scrutinize these measurements in great detail. The abandonment of the original protocol, and the decision to proceed with only three laboratories will certainly enhance the scepticism of these critics.”

Harry Gove stated, “I hope the three laboratories stand firm and say to hell with you, let’s get a result we all believe in, or leave it undated.”


4. Sample was from the Raes corner, one of the most contaminated sections of the shroud.



5. Blind testing was not done.


6. Entire process was supposed to be filmed. However the most critical moment was not filmed and was only witnessed by a few participants.


7. Discrepancy of weights of samples between when the samples were placed into the vials and when they were taken out of the vials.


8. Lack of rigor by the labs during the pretreatment.


9. The data was leaked by the labs prior to the official announcement by the British Museum.


10. Testing data was not made public by the labs until they were forced to release it by legal action 29 years later.


11. There was a conflict of interest in parties involved.


12. Raw data was manipulated by the labs.


In a court of law, a procedural error would result in a mistrial.

A mistrial occurs when 1) a jury is unable to reach a verdict and there must be a new trial with a new jury; 2) there is a serious procedural error or misconduct that would result in an unfair trial, and the judge adjourns the case without a decision on the merits and awards a new trial.

It would not matter what the verdict of the trial would be, in a mistrial the verdict would be nullified.

In the case of the 1988 C-14 dating of the TS, there were at least a dozen procedural violations. Yes, some of it was the fault of the RCC. But, a significant portion was the labs’ responsibility.

So, I argue it does not matter what the reported date of the C-14 would be. At best, it would be a scientific “mistrial”. At worst, it would be scientific misconduct. Either way, it would render the entire testing void.

Scientific misconduct is the violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in the publication of professional scientific research.