I pay attention to relics because my medieval detective keeps getting mixed up in them. In his first adventure, VEIL OF LIES, there was something in the book very close to the Shroud of Turin, the Mandylion.
But it just won't stay out of the news. In 1988, carbon dating testing on the shroud proved it to be from the 1300s, a medieval artifact. But shroudies refuse to believe it. Even though this particular shroud only got its orign from around that time. Supposedly, this one was gifted to Geoffroy de Charny as a souviner from his crusade to Smyrna, Turkey in 1346. And the other knights only got a lousy t-shirt.
The shroud bounced from here to there and eventually ended up in Turin. It was just another burial shroud of Christ until it was photogrpahed in the late 19th century and the negative showed up better the face and body. That seemed to capture the public's imagination. And it's been "studied" ever since.
An emient church historian, Antonio Lombatti, in a research paper published in June in the scholarly journal Studi Medievali, says that there were about forty "shrouds" out there, most likely all of them fakes, including the Turin shroud.
According to the Daily Mail from 10 June:
Lombatti, of the Università Popolare in Parma, Italy, cited work by a 19th century French historian who had studied surviving medieval documents. ‘The Turin Shroud is only one of the many burial cloths which were circulating in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. There were at least 40,’ said Lombatti.
‘Most of them were destroyed during the French Revolution. Some had images, others had blood-like stains, and others were completely white.’
The Turin Shroud is a linen cloth, about 14ft by 4ft, bearing a front and back view of the image of a bearded, naked man who appears to have been stabbed or tortured. Ever since the detail on the cloth was revealed by negative photography in the late 19th century it has attracted thousands of pilgrims to the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Turin.
Folks who believe consider it a matter of faith. But if you make a study of medieval relics you will find much traffic in fakes, many of the same sorts of relics in different locations. It was the medieval way.