US researchers intend to prove that the Shroud of Turin is not a forgery by mimicking Jesus' crucifixion on volunteers.
The Turin Shroud is a piece of centuries-old linen cloth which some believe was the actual shroud in which Jesus was buried after being crucified.
For centuries, people have claimed that the alleged burial cloth shows the face of Jesus and contains his blood stains.
However, in 1988, three radiocarbon dating laboratories in Oxford, Arizona and Zurich dated the shroud's true origins to the 13th or 14th century.
Last July, forensic scientists Matteo Borrini and Luigi Garlaschelli used a human volunteer and forensic techniques such as bloodstain pattern analysis to simulate the way the shroud could have become soaked in blood. They concluded that the man would have had to have been wrapped in the cloth in a very unrealistic way and that the famous religious artifact was likely a medieval hoax.
However, a research team from the Turin Shroud Centre of Colorado hopes to debunk these findings using their own experiment.
"A recent paper reported by Borrini and Garlaschelli concluded from blood flow experiments that the observed wrist/forearm blood flow patterns on the Shroud of Turin are sufficiently inconsistent with the studies so the Shroud of Turin should be considered to be a probable forgery," said the researchers, who are expected to unveil their findings at a scientific conference running in Baltimore, Maryland this week.
They have staged a mock crucifixion, strapping volunteers to a full-size cross with special wrist and foot attachment mechanisms.
The volunteers, who were chosen based on their similarity to the physique of the imprint on the Shroud of Turin, were then drenched in blood at the site of "nail wounds" on their hands. The researchers then analyzed the way the blood had flown from the "wounds" — and they say their experiment will offer a new perspective on the issue of the Shroud's authenticity.
"The presentation, using the perspectives from the above disciplines, will discuss how conclusions were obtained that appear to support the hypothesis of Shroud authenticity in some new and unexpected ways," they wrote.