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Old 31 December 2009, 11:07 PM
Silas Sparkhammer's Avatar
Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
Join Date: 22 September 2000
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 26,843

Originally Posted by Silkenray View Post
There are reasons not to keep testing and retesting. Radiocarbon dating is an inherently destructive dating method - meaning that each time a test is done, a sample must be taken. . . .
In general, you are very right. In this specific instance, we had a stroke of luck (and the Church and the shroud itself had a stroke of misfortune) in that a fire partially damaged the shroud, so that samples can be taken from the charred edges of the burned portion. (And burning a sample doesn't alter its Carbon-14 characteristics.)

But, yes, I'd hate to see a chunk of, say, the Mona Lisa sacrificed for purposes of isotope dating!

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