May 22, 2015 16:56 PSP Book - 9in x 6in Fanti-Malﬁ
186 Inquiries into Alternative Chemical Dating
to start, even if in a simpliﬁed way, with some methodological
considerations regarding what it means to develop alternative
dating methods, since the matter is far from simple. In the following
chapter, instead, we will deal with a mechanical multiparametric
dating method designed by us with the acronym MMPDM.
6.1 Requirements of a New Dating Method
It is easy to say that as the radiocarbon dating method is not
applicable to a certain historical sample, an alternative one must
be used; what is less easy is using and, even more, devising an
alternative dating method that could provide us with a scientiﬁcally
reliable result. The question is indeed delicate and complex, and it
involves several factors which are presented below.
First we must ﬁnd a dating method that actually works and is
suﬃciently reliable, that is to say, which has an uncertainty level
suﬃciently reduced and it is as little as possible aﬀected by the so-
that can somehow corrupt the sample under testing and
can consequently alter the result.
For example, a few years ago the Shroud of Turin Research
Project’s (STURP) chemist Raymond Rogers suggested  a
chemical dating method of ﬂax ﬁbers on the basis of the determina-
tion of the vanillin content in the lignin
present in the Shroud ﬁbers.
Since a few samples were available to make comparisons and an
in-depth study on the possible presence of environmental bias had
not been carried out, Rogers was only able to make a “preliminary
What is meant with spectroscopic methods is the study, and the consequent
measurement, of a spectrum. Originally, a spectrum was the range of colors that
could be observed when white light was dispersed into its components by means
of a prism. With the discovery of the undulatory nature of light, the spectrum has
come to be referred to as the intensity of light in relation to the wavelength or the
frequency: this relationship is highlighted in appropriate Cartesian diagrams. The
term “spectrum” has then been further generalized and was referred to as a ﬂow
or to an electromagnetic radiation intensity or to particles (atoms, molecules, and
others) in relation to their energy, wavelength, frequency, or mass.
The reader can go back to Chapter 5 for some references on the bias concept.
The constituting materials of a ﬂax ﬁber have been listed in Table 5.1. For some notes
regarding lignin see Section A.5 of the appendix.