The University of Arizona
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Attempt to affect the apparent (super 14) C age of cotton by scorching in a CO (sub 2) environment.

Austin Long


One explanation for the radiocarbon dates on the Shroud of Turin being younger than the time of Christ is that the heat from a fire, which scorched a portion of the Shroud, may have affected the (super 14) C content (dates) on the shroud by affecting molecular exchange between the fabric and atmospheric carbon. This report describes a laboratory test on the susceptibility of cellulose, in the form of cotton, to incorporate carbon from CO (sub 2) while it is heated in a closed tube with carbon dioxide until the cotton considerably darkened. To maximize the effect of this hypothetical process, we simulated the shroud material with cotton that had a (super 14) C level of 0.55 modern (55 pMC, equivalent to 4800 yr), and the atmosphere with pure CO (sub 2) , which had a (super 14) C level of 1.3 modern (130 pMC). No measurable (super 14) C transferred from the gas phase to the solid phase. The implication of this test is that scorching is an unlikely mechanism to affect the apparent age of cellulose-like material.


heating;cotton;cellulose;polysaccharides;carbohydrates;laboratory studies;accuracy;atmosphere;archaeology;experimental studies;organic compounds;C 14;carbon;isotopes;radioactive isotopes;carbon dioxide;absolute age

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