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The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval.

The Shroud of Turin , which many people believe was used to wrap Christ's body, bears detailed front and back images of a man who appears to have suffered whipping and crucifixion.

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

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The Zurich group first split each ultrasonically cleaned sample in half, with the treatment of the second set of samples being deferred until the radiocarbon measurements on the first set had been completed.

The first set of samples was further subdivided into three portions.

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.

The three control samples, the approximate ages of which were made known to the laboratories, are listed below. T/32) from a tomb excavated at Qasr Ibrîm in Nubia by Professor J. This linen was dated in the British Museum Research Laboratory using liquid scintillation counting, giving a radiocarbon age of 2,010 ± 80 yr BP (BM-2558).

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.

Each subsample was treated with 1M HCL (80° C for 2h), 1M Na OH (80° C for 2 h) and again in acid, with rinsing in between.

Two of the three samples were then bleached in Na OCL (2.5% at p H-3 for 30 min).

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.

Photography of the shroud by Secondo Pia in 1898 indicated that the image resembled a photographic 'negative' and represents the first modern study.