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The first proposal to date the Shroud was submitted in 1979 by Gove and Harbottle (published in Sox 191-167).It was, in my opinion, seriously flawed by the lack of consultation with archaeologists and experts from other fields.Possibilities of contamination should be exhaustively investigated, and pretreatment should be devised accordingly.In 1979, the much vaunted "Gove/Harbottle Proposal on Carbon Dating the Shroud" (Sox 197) outlined only standard pretreatment of the samples for carbonates and humic acids.Even among social and physical scientists, there are numerous misconceptions about the radiocarbon method of dating; among journalists and the general public there are of course many more.But among specialists who frequently make use of the test, it is not considered as a method which produces an "absolute date" for every sample that can be measured.That "C-14 dating is, after all, only another tool for the archaeologist, but it behooves us, before attempting to use it, to know which end has been sharpened." In both the comment and in Shroud writing generally, there is exhibited a lack of awareness of the pitfalls and uncertainties inherent in the C-14 method.
All of the above statements quoted from the literature reveal an unwarranted trust in radiocarbon measurement to produce an exact calendar date for any good sample submitted.
There is consensus now that, had the testing been allowed, it would have been the cause of great controversy regardless of the results.
Yet Gove, in urging the release of the Raes samples, wrote that "at long last, the Shroud of Turin's true age will be established in the near future." Before considering the recent proposals for dating the cloth, it is useful to survey the major problems routinely encountered in the field of C-14 dating.
It could not be considered as a typical or representative sample of the relic.
In sum, the proposal to use the Raes piece for C14 dating was not an academically sound proposition; it was based on expediency (as the pieces had already been removed from the relic and were "available").Jumper et al (196) claimed that the test "if 'negative', i.e.