Even for the first investigation, there was a possibility of using radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the linen from which the shroud was woven.
Now Carpinteri’s team have hypothesized that high-frequency pressure waves generated in the Earth’s crust during earthquakes are the source of such neutron emissions.
Since then, there have been several requests for fresh tests but Church chiefs have always refused - and this is why Professor Fanti and his team had to rely on fibres that were used in the 1988 tests.
Thirteen years ago when he was plain cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict wrote that the shroud was a ‘truly mysterious image, which no human artistry was capable of producing.
Last year scientists at the University of Padua in northern Italy dated it to between 300BC and AD400 – still hundreds of years after Christ, who is believed to have died between 30-36AD.
Other scientists have previously suggested that neutron radiation may have been responsible for the ghostly image of a crucified man with his arms crossed.