Evidence from Pollen and Flower Images
The study of pollen removed from the shroud is proving to be one of the most fascinating avenues of research and lends considerable weight to the possibility of the Shroud’s authenticity. Max Frei, a Swiss criminologist began this investigation in 1973 by removing pollen from the Shroud using sticky tape. The pollens were then transferred to glass plates for microscopic examination. Dr. Frei’s initial findings surprisingly correlated with Ian Wilson’s theory of the Shroud’s historical trail originating in Jerusalem in the First century and soon after, travelling to Edessa, Turkey, then to Constantinople in 944 and finally to France following the Fourth Crusade in 1204. It only gets to Turin, Italy in 1578.
Some have criticized Frei’s work as wishful thinking and lacking scientific rigor. Now enter two Israeli Professors, Dr. Avinoam Danin, a botanist with the Hebrew University of Jersalem who has published nine books on the flora of the Middle East. And Dr.Uri Baruch, a palynologist (a branch of science dealing with pollen and spores), and an authority on Israeli antiquities.
They were introduced to the Shroud by Dr. Alan and Mary Whanger who originally discovered the evidence of flower images on the Shroud. The Whangers also now possess all the pollen collected by Max Frei. Baruch examined the pollen from these samples whereas Danin examined the flower images. Both are now convinced of the Shroud’s origination in Israel.
The following is the text of a news article regarding their research:
“Floral Images on Shroud of Turin Intrigue Botanist"
Prof. Avinoam Danin (Botanist, Hebrew University of Jerusalem) - "Danin...has confirmed that of the hundreds of floral patterns on the sheet [i.e. Shroud], 28 are of flower species that still grown in Israel, 70 percent of them in a 10-square kilometer area between Jerusalem and Jericho. At least one of them, Zygophyllum (Dumosum), a kind of desert tumbleweed (actually a shrub), grows only in Israel and parts of neighboring Jordan and Sinai, as it did 2,000 years ago in the time of Jesus....Most of the floral images were clustered around the head of a bearded man who appeared to have been whipped and crowned with thorns and crucified. The positioning would have been consistent with the Jewish burial practice then of banking fresh flowers around the head of the deceased. Also consistent, Danin said, was the fact that a majority of the identified species were also used medicinally as a kind of preservative of the body....Danin said that the preponderance of botanical evidence – the presence of the exclusive Zygophyllum, along with the so many other species indigenous to the Holy Land, plus forensic evidence that the flowers were picked in the spring, at the time of the Passover and Crucifixion - convinces him that the shroud dates from the first century AD. (Danin says the reporter misquoted him as to any indication of a date and that what the evidence points to is that the Shroud must have originated in Jerusalem. The pollen does not indicate when, except that it was in the spring.)
"Some 96 percent of the 28 flower species identified on the shroud grow between Jerusalem and the Qumran Caves. Add the southern Dead Sea area to the equation and 100 percent of the species can be found, said Danin."
"I can't say for certain that it was Jesus’ shroud. But this evidence backs up the possibility that it is genuine, and there is no doubt that it comes from the Land of Israel."
The significance of both the pollen and flower images is profound. The evidence of the pollen grains of Gundelia Tournefortii causes Danin to believe that “They became part of the Shroud at one event-when in Jerusalem”. In fact, they found that 40 % of the total number of pollen found on the Shroud is from this one type of plant. The pollen content is so high it can only mean that G. Tournefortii must have been physically laid down on the Shroud. Dr. Danin has also found images of four leaves of the plant Zygophylum Dumosum which also indicates that the plant must have been physically laid on the Shroud. And it’s only found in Israel! The notion that the Shroud originated in Israel and was used in an actual burial ceremony now has strong new evidence.