Statistical and Proactive Analysis of an Inter-Laboratory Comparison: The Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin.
We review the sampling and results of the radiocarbon dating of the archaeological cloth known as the Shroud of Turin, in the light of recent statistical analyses of both published and raw data. The statistical analyses highlight an inter-laboratory heterogeneity of the means and a monotone spatial variation of the ages of subsamples that suggest the presence of contaminants unevenly removed by the cleaning pretreatments. We consider the significance and overall impact of the statistical analyses on assessing the reliability of the dating results and the design of correct sampling. These analyses suggest that the 1988 radiocarbon dating does not match the current accuracy requirements. Should this be the case, it would be interesting to know the accurate age of the Shroud of Turin. Taking into account the whole body of scientific data, we discuss whether it makes sense to date the Shroud again.