In 1998 scientists at the Optics Institute in Orsay decided to compare the bloodstain patterns on the Tunic of Argenteuil and on the Turin Shroud They created realistic and rotational computerized geometric models of what the tunic would look like if worn by a man of the same physical stature and morphology as the man depicted on the shroud. The result was absolutely bewildering: it turned out that the bloodstains on the tunic were aligned exactly with the imprinted wounds visible on the shroud. Overlaying both images drove the scientists to the conclusion that both clothes were stained by the same bleeding man.
Could that man have been Jesus of Nazareth? It was confirmed that the tunic was produced using horizontal looms, whose width matched the proportions of those looms used in Christ’s time. The weave, made using a so-called Z twist, indicates that the robe was probably made in the Near or Middle East. The fabric’s dye was made of dyer’s madder (Rubia tinctorum), which was in widespread use in ancient times around the Mediterranean Basin. The dyeing took place before the fabric was woven, and alum was used alongside the dye to dress the cloth. Both of these practices were common in the first century.
Because of these results, interest in the tunic steadily grew throughout the scientific community. In 2004, the Institute of Genetic Molecular Anthropology in Paris commenced tests on the relic. During restoration work one year earlier, the tunic was cleaned with a special vacuum cleaner. Scientists therefore decided to analyze the vacuumed particles. With the use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM), they discovered 115 pollen grains belonged (sic) to 18 plant species. The most frequently occurring types of pollen were from: nettle (Urtica fragilis), with 41 grains, and Syrian mesquite (Prosopis farcta), with 13 grains. Most of the pollen grains belonged to species that had already been discovered on the Turin Shroud (six species) and the Sudarium of Oviedo (seven species) Among them were Lebanon cedar (Cedrus libani) and spreading pellitory (Parietaria judaica). The most significant discovery, however, was of two species endemic to Palestine: the terebinth (Pistacia palaestina) and the tamarisk (Tamarix hampeana). Their pollen grains have likewise been discovered on the Turin and Oviedo cloths.
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