Residue of 2,000 year-old ointments found on Shroud of Turin

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Residue found on the Shroud of Turin is not only linked to pollen the linen has collected throughout the centuries, as previously discovered, but “also to the ointments and flowers that were used in funeral rites 2,000 years ago,” announced Italian researcher Marzia Boi on April 30.

Boi does research for the Biology Department at the Botanical laboratory of the University of the Baleares Islands.

According to a press release from the Archdiocese of Valencia, Boi’s research lines up with other studies presented during the International Congress on the Holy Shroud, taking place in the Spanish city of Valencia.

During her presentation, Boi said the Gospels indicate Jesus was buried with royal honors, “which involved preparing the body with ointments and oils.”

Microscopic analysis of the pollen extracted in previous studies of the shroud points to three types of plants that “according to ancient documentation,” were commonly used during burials.

The pollen on the Shroud is mainly from the Helichrysum genus, Boi said, and from plants such as laudanum, terebinth, aromatic galbanum and lentiscus.

The identification of these plants constitutes “another piece of information that confirms that the man on the Shroud could be Jesus,” she explained.

Boi said analysis of the pollen on the Shroud by palynologists would help “to better identify them.”  She also said the ointments and oils present on the linen have protected it from insects and fungus over the centuries.

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