1898: The Shroud was photographed for the first time. These first pictures led to the discovery that the image on the cloth is actually a negative. The image becomes positive in a photographic negative. This discovery startled the scientific community and stimulated worldwide interest.
1931: Guisseppe Enrie photographed the Shroud again with more advanced film technology confirming that the Shroud is indeed a negative image. Copies of Enrie's photos were circulated throughout the world prompting more scientific inquiry and interest.
1950: Dr. Pierre Barbet, a prominent French Surgeon, published A Doctor at Calvary documenting 15 years of medical research on the Shroud image. He described the physiology and pathology of the man on the Shroud as "anatomically perfect".
1973: Max Frei, a noted Swiss criminologist, was given permission to take dust samples from the Shroud that contained much pollen. He discovered 22 pollen species from plants that are unique to areas around Constantinople and Edessa, and 7 pollen species from plants common only in Israel. The pollen trail appears to corroborate the historical trail.
1975: Air Force scientists John Jackson and Eric Jumper, using a VP-8 Image Analyzer designed for the space program, discovered the Shroud image contained encoded 3-D data not found in ordinary reflected light photographs. This discovery indicated that the cloth must have wrapped a real human figure at the time the image was formed.
1978: The Shroud was on public exhibit for the first time since 1933 and was displayed for six weeks. At the close of the exhibition, 24 scientists comprising the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) analyzed the Shroud for five continuous days (122 hours) working in shifts around the clock.
1980: National Geographic magazine published a landmark article on the Shroud further propelling the cloth into the science limelight calling it "One of the most perplexing enigmas of modern times".
1980: This same year, microscopist Walter McCrone who was not part of the Shroud Project was given several fibers to analyze. After finding iron oxide particles and a single particle of vermilion paint, he broke ranks with the Shroud scientists who had agreed to make all findings public the following year. McCrone proposed that the Shroud was a painting of red ochre paint created from iron oxide particles suspended in a thin binder solution. However McCrone's findings in no way agreed with any of the highly sophisticated tests conducted by two dozen other scientists. His claims have all been dismissed. It turns out the iron oxide is a natural result of soaking the linen for days (retting) where iron ions from the water attach to the fibers and oxidize. The particles are randomly distributed over the entire cloth.
1981: After three years analyzing the data The Shroud of Turn Research Project (STURP) made their findings public at an international conference in New London, CT. All the scientists agreed upon the following statement: "We can conclude for now that the Shroud image is that of a real human form of a scourged, crucified man. It is not the product of an artist. The blood stains are composed of hemoglobin and give a positive test for serum albumin."
1988: The Shroud was carbon dated by three laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona. They indicated a date range from between 1260 to 1390 indicating the cloth to be only about 700 years old. This earth shattering news seemed to contradict the conclusions of STURP that gave support to the Shroud's possible authenticity.
1997: Avinoam Danin, prominent Israeli Botanist and a professor at Hebrew University confirmed the presence of flower images on the Shroud. He verified 28 different pollen species and/or plant images. Many are from plants that grow only around Jerusalem.
2002: The Shroud was restored to remove charred debris from the fire of 1532 to aid in the cloth’s preservation. All the burns and patches from the 1532 fire were removed. The shroud was attached to a new backing cloth as well.
2004: Textile expert Mechthild Flury-Lemberg, revealed that the stitching of a seam on the Shroud that runs the entire length known as the side strip is typical of Jewish burial shrouds found in Masada, Israel.
2004: Chemical research on image fibers offers clues as to how the image was formed. The entire cloth is covered with a razor thin layer of carbohydrates that adhered to the linen after being soaked in a soapweed detergent as part of an ancient manufacturing process. Something has interacted with this carbo-layer resulting in discoloration of the cloth near or in direct contact with the body. Is it a “maillard reaction” from amine gases emanating from a decomposing body? This alone is not sufficient to explain the photo-like quality of the image. There are no stains of decomposition on the cloth. More is involved but we don’t know how or what.
2005: Thermal Chemist, Ray Rogers, followed up on new spectroscopic data showing the material of the corner cut for carbon dating may be different from the rest of the Shroud. He obtained thread samples from the C-14 corner and thread samples from the interior of the Shroud. Additional micro-chemical and spectroscopic tests showed the samples were not the same. Results published in a peer-reviewed journal confirmed initial concerns. The sample cut for C-14 dating is from a medieval reweaving and not part of the original shroud.
"The radiocarbon sample was not part of the original cloth of the Shroud of Turin. The radiocarbon date was thus not valid for determining the true age of the shroud.” Rogers also determined the evidence of a madder root dye used to blend in the color of newer threads with the more yellowed threads of the original cloth. He also found cotton and starch in the C-14 sample but not from the main body of the Shroud. Starch was used to stiffen the cotton in order to make the repair.
The carbon dating tests of 1988 are now considered by many to be a complete debacle. The carbon labs violated the sampling protocol established for the tests in 1985. Three different samples were to be cut; instead only one sample was used. Ignoring caution from archaeologists, they cut the sample from the most handled area of the cloth, the outside corner edge exactly where it had been grabbed and held by Church authorities for numerous public exhibitions. It was an area that had the most potential for contamination, damage and repair.