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The enigmatic ‘Shroud of Turin’ (alleged to be the death shroud of Jesus Christ) is set to be retested by the Oxford laboratory that declared it a medieval fake 20 years ago:

Professor Christopher Ramsey, the director of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, said he was treating seriously a new theory suggesting that contamination had skewed the results.

Though he stressed that he would be surprised if the supposedly definitive 1988 tests were shown to be far out – especially “a thousand years wrong” – he insisted that he was keeping an open mind…

…The original carbon dating was carried out on a sample by researchers working separately in laboratories in Zurich and Arizona as well as Oxford.

To the dismay of Christians, the researchers concluded that the shroud was created between 1260 and 1390, and was therefore likely to be a forgery devised in the Middle Ages. Even Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, the then Cardinal of Turin, conceded that the relic was probably a hoax.

The retesting will form part of a documentary on the Turin Shroud to be shown on BBC 2 on Easter Saturday.