Shroud of Turin Facts Check  > Sudarium of Oviedo

In the northern Spanish city of Oviedo, in a small chapel attached to the city's cathedral, there is a small bloodstained dishcloth size piece of linen that some believe is one of the burial cloths mentioned in John's Gospel. Tradition has it that this cloth, commonly known as the Sudarium of Oviedo, was used to cover Jesus' bloodied face following his death on the cross.

Numerous historic documents tell us that the Sudarium, unquestionably, has been in Oviedo since the 8th century and in Spain since the 7th century. It seems, too, to have arrived from Jerusalem. Documents from the late Roman period and the early Middle Ages are often sketchy and prone to chronological mistakes, and those pertaining to the Sudarium are no exception. But from a multiplicity of sources, scholars have extracted core elements of historical certainty and plausibility sufficient for a fair degree of historical reconstruction.

We can be quite sure that the Sudarium came to Oviedo from Jerusalem, and there is some evidence it dates back to the 1st century CE.


For additional information see: Carbon 14 Dating: Bones, Cloth Fibers, Wood


Face on Shroud as photographed

Face on the Shroud as it appears when photographed. This is the negative.

Gum encrusted fiber

Gum encrusted cotton fiber found only in the carbon 14 sample area and not elsewhere on the cloth.

Spliced thread

Close up view of spliced thread in the carbon 14 sample area showing that what was tested was likely a repair and not original cloth.

Mordant lakes

Photomicrograph, gum is swelling and slowly detaching from the fibers and alizarin mordant lakes can be seen. Yellow dye is in solution. Further evidence of repair.

Single fiber up close

Phase-contrast microscopy of a single image fiber. Image is a reddish-brown caramel-like complex carbon bond, a chemical change within a super thin coating of crude starch on the fabric's outermost fibers. It is not paint or any kind of applied pigment. It is likely caused by bodily amine vapors reacting with saccharides in the starch.
Close up of thread showing coating on fibers

Threads consisting of twisted bundles of fibers. Shows color in starch coating

Face as it appears on Shroud

This is how the face appears on the cloth.

Second face found on back of cloth

Second face image recently discovered with image analysis technology. This a a computer enhanced view. It matches the face on the front of the Shroud. The images are doubly-superficial meaning that nothing soaked through.

UV photo of sample area

UV photograph of carbon 14 sample area showing that the sample area is chemically unlike the rest of the cloth