Crucifixion Nail Image Found on Shroud of
Consistent with Nail Found in Caiaphas' Tomb.
Aug 15, 2012
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While continuing research for his unfinished fictional book related to the Shroud of Turin, computer scientist Les Fredette has made a significant discovery. Mr. Fredette indicates what he believes to be a match between an image on the venerable Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth that eerily depicts the ghostly image of a crucified Jesus Christ, and crucifixion nails found in 1990 in the tomb of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest who ordered Christ's arrest.
The discovery of an image of a crucifixion nail on the Shroud of Turin is, in itself, a major discovery, but its connection to a physical artifact of antiquity is also extremely significant. While all previous evidence that has been gathered regarding the Shroud has been based on the Shroud itself (e.g., blood samples and pollen samples), historical pictures (e.g., Prey Manuscript) and historical writings/accounts, Mr. Fredette's discovery brings evidence supporting the Shroud's authenticity to an entirely new level, one which could, according the Mr. Fredette, "put a significant nail in the coffin of speculation."
Caiapha's Tomb Nail 1
Shroud "Nail" Image [source: 3DShroud.com]
Caiapha's Tomb Nail 2
Shroud "Nail" Image
[Image Source: Shroud3D.com]
Mr. Fredette's discovery is actually two fold in scope. First, there is an image of a crucifixion nail on the Shroud, and, second, the nail image may actually be of one of the nails found in Caiaphas's tomb in 1990.
The initial discovery of the nail image was made while Mr. Fredette was reviewing the 3D holographic images of the Shroud published on Shroud3D.com, Mr. Fredette noted that the site's author, Dr. Petrus Soons, postulated that an item/artifact lying over one of the figure's hands, which is much more apparent in 3D than in 2D, was perhaps a piece of rope that had been used to bind the figure's wrists together in death. To Mr. Fredette, however, the mysterious item did not appear to be a rope. Purely on a hunch, Mr. Fredette thought the item might be a nail, but at first he thought that it was too small to be a crucifixion nail. At the same time, Mr. Fredette recalled a news report regarding the purported discovery of crucifixion nails in Caiaphas' tomb. This important memory drove Mr. Fredette to search for pictures of the Caiaphas tomb nails, and when he found them, he was intrigued.
"There, sitting right in front of me, was a picture of Mr. Jacobovici, the Israeli journalist that first publicized a connection between the nails found in Caiaphas's tomb and those used to crucify Jesus, holding two nails. The nails were amazingly similar to what I was seeing on the Shroud image. To say the least, I was excited, awestruck and, to be honest, very skeptical of my own discovery."
In addition to the 3D images found at Shroud3D.com, another site, created by Thierry Castex (thierrycastex.blogspot.fr) also contains 3D imagery of the Shroud. The 3D image of the Shroud on Mr. Castex's site, which shows a slanted perspective instead of a head-on perspective, also clearly shows the Shroud nail image.
Shroud "Nail" Image
[Image Source: thierrycastex.blogspot.fr]
[Image Source: thierrycastex.blogspot.fr]
After making his initial correlation between the Shroud nail image and the tomb nails, Mr. Fredette, using his background in computers and mathematics, endeavored to find out just how closely the tomb nails and the Shroud nail image matched. Using a computer graphics program, Mr. Fredette measured, compared, and overlaid various images of the Shroud and tomb nails. "To my utter amazement, the tomb nails and the Shroud 'nail' appeared amazingly comparable, with many points of congruence. Not only is the sizing correct (~7-8 cm), but the overall image shape, the position/size of the bent portion of the image, the nail image and tapering, and the width/size of the image "head" are all very consistent with the tomb nails."
The physical location of the nail image on the Shroud is also significant, as nowhere else on the Shroud is their anything remotely similar or pronounced. "Given that the location of the nail image is directly over the hands and not located in some arbitrary location on the Shroud provides at least some interferential indication as to what the object might be. It makes perfect sense that the crucifixion nail would be placed in this location, as opposed to any other location." As to the stability of a nail maintaining its position on top of the hands, Mr. Fredette refers to his experiments with weighted objects of the appropriate dimensions, the results of which indicate that such an object could stay in position. "Assuming that the body was being treated with care and not jostled about, a nail placed on the hands would have enough weight and resistance to stay put," reasoned Mr. Fredette.
Measuring the Shroud Nail Image Size (Reduced)
[Image Source: Shroud3D.com]
[Image Source: Shroud3D.com]
As previously noted, the Shroud nail image is more noticeable in 3D images than in 2D images. This is especially true in the 3D animations published on Shourd3D.com. Mr. Fredette explains, "When the front image animation is run, one can see how the nail object clearly changes perspective. Most striking is how one can actually discern the bent portion of the nail 'disappearing' as the images rotates (see below), which is exactly what would be seen if a real, bent nail was rotated around its lengthwise (vertical) axis. The animation illustrates the true three-dimensionality of the object and shows that it is not just a 2D optical illusion."
In the same vain, while there is not way to prove with absolute certainty that the nail image on the Shroud is, in fact, one of the actual nails from Caipaha's tomb, Mr. Fredette indicates that "If the Caiaphas nails are Christ's crucifixion nails, then the nail on the Shroud is, with a very high degree of probability, one of them."
"What is amazing," explained Mr. Fredette, "is that we are not talking about simply identifying an image of a crucifixion nail on the Shroud, but that one of the specific nails found in Caiapha's tomb could very well be the nail seen in the Shroud image. The reason for this conclusion is as follows: what is the likelihood that an image of a nail on the Shroud positioned directly over the hands matches precisely the shape and size of a crucifixion nail found in Caiaphas's ossuary and visa versa? If we use a less controversial example, I think it becomes more obvious that the conclusion about the nails is not at all far fetched but very reasonable. What if, for example, there was a picture of King Tut in his tomb, and in that picture he was wearing a very ornate and detailed necklace. And then a cave was discovered that held artifacts associated with King Tut, one of which was a necklace that matched the one in the tomb painting. What would be the likelihood that the painting was of the actual necklace? Pretty high, especially if it was known that King Tut owned only one such necklace (as I'm sure Christ is only associated with one set of crucifixion nails). Clearly, once one gets past any predisposed prejudice against the Shroud and tomb nails, the strength of the inference can be seen."
The ramifications of Mr. Fredette's discoveries are substantial. The discovery provides additional evidence supporting the authenticity of the Shroud, and that the Caiaphas tomb nails are the actual nails used to crucify Christ.
One specific complaint about the Caiphas tomb nails, and thus likely the nail on the Shroud, has been that they are "too small" to be crucifixion nails (~7 to 8 cm). This argument, however, appears to be substantially arbitrary in nature as the number of previously known crucifixion nails, prior to the tomb nails, number exactly one: a 4.5 inch (11.4 cm) crucifixion nail found in a burial cave at Giv'at ha-Mivtar, northeast of Jerusalem, in 19682. This nail was still imbedded in the heel bone of the crucified individual. Given that a 4.5 inch nail could be used to pierce the feet/foot, it is not without reason to believe that a three (3) inch nail could be used to successfully pierce the wrist. In fact, three inch nails are actually used in the annual re-enactment of the Passion of Christ in the
to secure devoted Christians to crosses3.
While inclusion of a crucifixion nail with Jesus in the tomb may seem strange at first, Jewish burial traditions require that any blood that can be recovered that was shed during life should be buried with the body, as long as it is not overly contaminated with blood shed in death. Certainly the crucifixion nails would have been coated with blood shed at the moment of Christ's death, and, therefore, should have been buried with him.
How the nails found their way to Caiaphas's tomb, however, is anyone's guess. Mr. Fredette suggests that since the nails were not mentioned in the New Testament depictions of the resurrection event, they were perhaps overlooked or simply ignored and then found later by the Jewish leaders or the Roman guards. It is known that Caiaphas was not a believer in Jesus because he continued to persecute Jesus' followers, but perhaps he or one of his immediate family members decided to keep the nails for their "healing powers", which were apparently attributed to crucifixion nails during the first century. The superstitious aspect of the nails as an explanation for their presence in the tomb is supported by the presence of a coin found in a skull that was in one of the Caiaphas tomb ossuaries. The placement of a coin in an ossuary, although very uncommon in a Jewish burial, was not altogether unprecedented, despite its being seen as a potential act of idolatry and superstition.
Careful examination of the Shroud shows only one nail image - so where is the second (hand) and third (foot) nails? While the exclusion of the other nails from the image does not nullify the presence of the one identified nail image, the lack of the other nail images is curious.
With regards to the hand nails, Christian tradition has always favored two nails as being used to crucifying both hands separately, stretched out on a cross. However, the New Testament accounts do not indicate the exact details of the crucifixion. In fact, the Shroud points to at least to one major deviation from the traditional crucifixion interpretation: Christ was crucified through the wrists and not the palms. Based on this deviation from tradition, it is also possible to contemplate that Christ was crucified with only one nail through both wrists.
While a single nail through both hands may not be the interpretation held by most Christians, it is not at all an unprecedented idea. In fact, the Jehovah Witnesses believe that Christ was crucified on a stake and not a cross. The idea of a Christ's crucifixion being performed on a stake is not simply an arbitrarily contrived difference, but one based on a meaningful interpretation of the Greek words stauros and xylon, which are used in the New Testament account of Jesus' execution. The word stauros (σταυρός) means upright pale or stake, and has never been interpreted to mean two pieces of lumber. The word xylon (ξύλον) means tree, club, or post, which again does not imply a cross.
But what does the Shroud say about a stake-like crucifixion. According to Mr. Fredette, the possibility exists that the Shroud shows a stake-like crucifixion. "There are several reasons to entertain that the Shroud depicts a stake-like crucifixion. First, the fact that there is only one nail present at least points to the idea of a single nail being used. More importantly, the actual position of the corpse on the Shroud and the blood flows also provide interesting clues."
Mr. Fredette continues, "The corpse has been well established to be in a state of rigor mortis, meaning the stiffness after death. As such, if Jesus was crucified on a cross, then in order to position his arm as they are seen on the Shroud, the rigor mortis would have to be broken, especially the left arm which was fully extended. This braking of the rigor mortis would have likely produced an asymmetrical positioning of the arms, which is not seen on the Shroud. What is seen on the Shroud is a very symmetrical positioning of the arms. If one positions the arms and hands in the position consistent with a stake-like crucifixion (i.e., arms extended above the head with wrists overlapping), when the rigor mortis is broken and the arms are lowered directly to the pelvis area, the position of the arms and hands are exactly what are depicted on the Shroud."
With regards to the blood flows on the forearms from the wrist wounds, these flows have been used to justify a cross-like crucifixion, but Mr. Fredette is not convinced. "I have read several conflicting interpretations of what the blood flow shows for a cross-like crucifixion. For example, one analysis indicates a position with the palms facing outwards with thumbs point up and another where the palms are facing inwards with the thumbs pointing down. Both interpretations call for a 65 degree from horizontal positioning of the arms. In fact, the stake-like crucifixion can also produce appropriate blood flows similar to the thumbs down position at 65 degrees from horizontal. The takeaway of all this is that the blood flow analyses do not provide a conclusive answer and do not rule out a stake-like crucifixion."
Skepticism regarding the Shroud and Caiaphas Nails
With regards to the Shroud of Turin, while there are literally hundreds of scientific and historical points of evidence that indicate a first century origin for the Shroud, the lone 1998 carbon dating test indicating a medieval date (1260-1390 A.D.) cast doubts on its authenticity. However, evidence presented in a peer-reviewed scientific paper published in Thermochimica Acta in 2005, indicates that the 1978 carbon dating sample used does not agree with the linen-production technology nor the chemistry of the fibers obtained directly from the main part of the cloth. In other words, the sample used was not representative of the main cloth and was contaminated with non-shroud fibers, which likely originated during repairs of the Shroud during medieval times. In addition, imagery from antiquity, such as illustrations in the Hungarian Prey Manuscript (circa 1192-1195) and coins minted under Justinian II, the Byzantine Roman Emperor at Constantinople (circa 692), are clearly were based Shroud of Turin. Therefore, given that the Shroud can be historically traced to at least 692 A.D. via the coin imagery, the carbon dating results need to be discounted, wholly and fully, with regards to the overall date of the Shroud.
With regards to the controversy as to whether or not the nails found in Caiaphas's tomb have any historical relevance, Mr. Jacobovici, addressed all points of contention in a full on his website1. "As a person of science, I found Mr. Jacobovici's logic, reasoning and conclusions held much more veracity than his critics' complaints", said Mr. Fredette.
Other Nail Images on the Shroud
Several of the comments regarding the Shroud Nail Image in my paper have referenced that I did not address other nail images purportedly found on the Shroud - namely by Wehrkamp-Richter and Alan and Mary Whanger, so I will do so here.
In 2010, Mr. Wehrkamp-Richter reported what he believed a "geometric form in the centre of surrounding blood traces" on the foot image portion of the Shroud. Mr. Wehrkamp-Richter, however, does not indicate that he specifically identified the image of a nail on the Shroud, rather a shape that is consistent with a three-sided nail being used to inflict the wound on the foot (see below). So, the suggestion that images of nails are being found all over the Shroud, thereby making my discovery just one of many such claims, is a false ascertain.
I believe that Mr. Wehrkamp-Richter work only serves to support my findings in at least one respect: that roman crucifixion nails have unique, identifiable qualities that make them distinct from other common nails used in the 1st century.
With regards to Alan and Mary Whanger's purported identification of a nail image on the Shroud (circa 1980's), I have not found any photographic information regarding this discovery. On their
website link (http://www.duke.edu/~adw2/shroud/whanger.htm),
the following reference to the nail image is provided: Duke University
"On closer examination, the Whangers have found that there are images of many objects in addition to those of the body, and that these images show evidence of electron coronal discharge radiation. These additional objects include a crucifixion nail, a Roman spear, a sponge on a stick, a crown of thorns, two scourges, a large hammer, a pair of pliers, and two desecrated Jewish phylacteries or prayer boxes. All are consistent with 1st Century objects, with Roman crucifixions of Jews, with Jewish burial practices, and/or with Biblical accounts of the Crucifixion of Jesus."
Given a lack of information, I can't determine whether or not the images that the Whagners have found are genuinely present on the Shroud. What I can say after studying the Shroud of many years is that if these images exist they are at all readily apparent, either in 2D or in 3D Shroud imaging. This stands in stark contrast to the nail image that I have identified on the Shroud, which is clearly visible in both 2D and, more strikingly, in 3D. What my discovery has done is rationally identify a fully discernable object on the Shroud, one that has been seen and noted by other Shroud researchers, and connect it with a real and tangible 1st century crucifixion nail found in the tomb of Caiaphas in 1990.
Based on my review of the two other nail "discoveries", they do not impact the significance or the validity of my discovery because a) Mr. Wehrkamp-Richter did not discovery a nail image on the Shroud, and b) given the lack of specific information or photographic evidence, the Whangers' nail image is unsubstantiated. And even if the Whangers' have found what they believe is an image of nail on the Shroud, along with the plethora of other items, the clarity of these items on the Shroud are so faint and amorphous as to render any conclusion about them subject to significant debate.
I have finally found at least one picture identifying the plethora of objects that the Whangers discovered on the Shroud (http://santafaz.info/ing-t33.html). Based on this imagery, I stand by my assertion that the evidence supporting the object over the hands is a crucifixion nail is sustainability more supportable than the Whagners’ evidence supporting their identification of nail images. I believe this because a) one can actually see the nail in 3D over the hands and perform very specific measurements of its dimensions an shape, and b) the nail image over the hands has may points of congruence with the Caiaphas tomb nails.
About Mr. Leslie Fredette
Mr. Fredette, 46, is a computer scientist, project manager, and literacy specialist. He currently works with his wife, Susan, operating a literacy clinic for individuals with learning disabilities, primarily Dyslexia and ADHD. Previous to his current venture, Mr. Fredette worked as a systems architect and project manager in the financial, defense and wireless industries. Mr. Fredette first became interested in the Shroud of Turin over a decade ago and over the years has periodically kept himself abreast of new developments regarding the Shroud. Mr. Fredette can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Avraham Steinberg, Fred Rosner, Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics: A Compilation of Jewish Medical Law
 Craig A. Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries (
Press, 2003), pp. 106-107 Baylor University
 Acts: 13:29 "And when they had carried out everything that was written about him, they took him down from the tree (xylou | ξύλου) and laid him in a tomb.
 Thermochimica Acta (Volume 425 pages 189-194, by Raymond N. Rogers, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California)