"STURP II" Testing Proposals

"STURP II" Testing Proposals 1984-88

As is well-known, the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) had detailed plans for a second round of testing. These tests would have been more sophisticated than, and developed out of, the week-long testing that STURP did in 1978.

A summary of the STURP proposals drawn up in 1984 is available online and the complete document is also available -- see below.

My interest was focused on the C14 dating, and how it evolved. In my book The Rape of the Turin Shroud there is correspondence I had with members of STURP and also with Luigi Gonella, scientific adviser to the Archbishop of Turin.

The 1984 STURP proposal for C14 dating was sensible, although they lacked any personnel with actual field experience in C14 dating, and crucially in "handling" the C14 lab grandees. This flaw, combined with some devilishly deceptive behavior on the part of Harry Gove and others, led ultimately to the C14 dating project being totally divorced from STURP, and the proposed further testing of the Shroud being quashed.

Below one will find links to the 1984 documents, two later versions of the "STURP II" proposals, and some relevant correspondence. In the 1987 version one sees a total retreat from C14 dating, and even a de-emphasis on testing to determine authenticity, with a re-focusing on purely conservation goals. Steve Lukasic of STURP sent me a copy of the draft for comment, and I made a vigorous critique. Al Adler of STURP agreed with my main contention, and a new set of proposals was drawn up in October of 1988, when rumors were rife that the result of the C14 dating was going to be medieval.

The correspondence between Lukasic and me tells part of the story; but what was really happening was a last (and quite justified) gasp by STURP to continue the study of the Shroud in the face of the storm that was about to break, namely the sensational news that "the Shroud is proved to be a fake". Sadly, the manner in which Gonella and the Archbishop handled the C14 results led to such a vicious controversy in Italy that STURP's proposed testing died, and the organization itself was dissolved a few years later.

What is most incredible is that no further sampling for C14 dating or other testing has been allowed SINCE 1988 ! A truly sad state of affairs, all painstakingly documented in my book.


Summary of the STURP 1984 testing proposals

Complete STURP 1984 testing proposals (this is a very large file of 181 pages and 46 MB)

STURP 1987 testing proposals: Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3 -- Part 4

Lukasic-Meacham correspondence

STURP 1988 testing proposals