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To confirm the feasibility of dating the shroud by these methods an intercomparison, involving four AMS and two small gas-counter radiocarbon laboratories and the dating of three known-age textile samples, was coordinated by the British Museum in 1983. The strip came from a single site on the main body of the shroud away from any patches or charred areas.
The results of this intercomparison are reported and discussed by Burleigh . Three samples, each ~50 mg in weight, were prepared from this strip.
Each subsample was treated with 1M HCL (80° C for 2h), 1M Na OH (80° C for 2 h) and again in acid, with rinsing in between.
Two of the three samples were then bleached in Na OCL (2.5% at p H-3 for 30 min).
Following this intercomparison, a meeting was held in Turin in September-October 1986 at which seven radiocarbon laboratories (five AMS and two small gas-counter) recommended a protocol for dating the shroud. The samples were then taken to the adjacent Sala Capitolare where they were wrapped in aluminium foil and subsequently sealed inside numbered stainless-steel containers by the Archbishop of Turin and Dr Tite.
In October 1987, the offers from three AMS laboratories (Arizona, Oxford and Zurich) were selected by the Archbishop of Turin, Pontifical Custodian of the shroud, acting on instructions from the Holy See, owner of the shroud. Samples weighing 50 mg from two of the three controls were similarly packaged.
The Zurich group first split each ultrasonically cleaned sample in half, with the treatment of the second set of samples being deferred until the radiocarbon measurements on the first set had been completed.
Vial of Musée des Tissues and Centre International d'Étude des Textiles Anciens in Lyon), Dr M. Tite of the British Museum, representatives of the three radiocarbon-dating laboratories (Professor P. (With unravelled or shredded samples, pretreatment cleaning would have been more difficult and wasteful.) Because the shroud had been exposed to a wide range of potential sources of contamination and because of the uniqueness of the samples available, it was decided to abandon blind-test procedures in the interests of effective sample pretreatment.
All laboratories examined the textile samples microscopically to identify and remove any foreign material.
The Oxford group cleaned the samples using a vacuum pipette, followed by cleaning in petroleum ether (40° C for 1 h) to remove lipids and candlewax, for example.
One-third received no further treatment, one-third was submitted to a weak treatment with 0.5% HCL (room temperature), 0.25% Na OH (room temperature) and again in acid, with rinsing in between.
The final third was given a strong treatment, using the same procedure except that hot (80° C) 5% HCL and 2.5% Na OH were used.