The Pollen Evidence on the Shroud of Turin

Pollen Grains and Plant images on the Shroud of Turin

During a 1999 conference of the prestigious Missouri Botanical Society in St Louis, Missouri, Avinoam Danin, a botany professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a leading authority on the flora of Israel, along with Uri Baruch, a pollen specialist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, reported that the combination of pollen spores lodged in the Shroud’s surface, as well as floral images mysteriously “imprinted” on the face of the cloth, could only have come from plants growing in a restricted area around Jerusalem. How floral images came to be on the cloth is as big a mystery as are the body images.

Pollen identification is a common method used in criminal forensics to determine where an object has been geographically. Max Frei, a Zurich criminologist, had previously identified a total of 58 different pollens on the Shroud. These pollens are native to areas around 1) the Dead Sea and the Negev, 2) the Anatolian Steppe of central and western Turkey, 3) the immediate environs of Constantinople, and 4) Western Europe. Danin and Baruch confirmed much of Frei’s work. They also confirmed some previous floral image identifications by Oswald Sheuermann, a German physicist, and Alan Whanger, a professor at Duke University.

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