However, the scientific community is divided over the shroud dates because -- with the exception of the carbon dating tests -- medical, artistic, forensic and botanical evidence favors the authenticity of the shroud of Turin as the burial cloth of Jesus.
One example of microscopic testing that supports the Shroud as authentic is the 1978 sample of dirt taken from the foot region of the burial linen.
"Everything which has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped in a thick fog; it belongs to a space of time we cannot measure.
The dirt was analyzed at the Hercules Aerospace Laboratory in Salt Lake, Utah, where experts identified crystals of travertine argonite, a relatively rare form of calcite found near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.
It is a stretch, say researchers, that a 13th century forger would have known to take the trouble to impregnate the linen with marble dust found near Golgotha in order to fool scientists six hundred years later.
Before that, according to various written sources, the Shroud traveled around the Middle East and Europe.
It had once been in the possession of the Knights Templar, according to a researcher at the Vatican Secret Archives.
Since the 17th century, the sacred cloth has been housed in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, except for a few years in the middle of the last century.