Shroud of Turin is an ancient artifact

A series of tests carried out by the University of Padua on the Shroud of Turin indicate that it might be a little older than everyone thought.

Many believed that the Shroud of Turin was a medieval forgery. In fact some have even suggested that it might have been knocked up by Leonardo da Vinci to rustle up a bit of tourism for the city.

Of course there are also those who are convinced that it really was the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth.

The 14-foot-long cloth bearing the image of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by someone crucified was analysed by university scientists using infrared light.

Giulio Fanti, a professor at Padua University found that the shroud was aged between 280 BC and AD 220.

Fanti, a Catholic, told the Telegraph that the results were based on 15 years of research on fibres taken from the cloth, which were subjected to radiation intensity tests.

He rejected the conclusion of carbon dating tests conducted in 1988 that bolstered the theory the shroud was made in the 13th or 14th century in a medieval forgery. Fanti insisted that these results were skewed by laboratory contamination.

The cloth is housed in Turin Cathedral in north west Italy, where it was apparently dropped off by the Knights Templar on their way back from one of the crusades. There were a lot of such relics forged during this time as the various cities tried to make money from the tourist trade. It was not enough to have a saint, you had to have an original bit of a biblical character to rope in the punters.