The Shroud of Turin is a rectangular 14 ft 5 in × 3 ft 7 in piece of woven flax cloth, believed by Christians to be the burial cloth of Jesus. The cloth bears the faint, brownish 3D imprint of the front and back view of the face and body of a bearded naked man — muscular and tall (various experts have measured him as from 5 ft 7 in to 6 ft 2 in). The imprint shows reddish-brown stains from wounds at the man’s wrist and pinpricks around his brow which are consistent with Christ’s wounds from being nailed to the cross and from the “crown of thorns” mockingly pressed onto his scalp.
In 2013, a test on fibers from the Shroud of Turin, conducted by scientists at the University of Padua, Italy, dated the Shroud to between 300 BC and 400 AD, which would put it in the era of Christ (see “New evidence dates Shroud of Turin to time of Christ“).
Now, an expert on ancient Roman coins has discovered more evidence that the burial cloth could have been used to cover the body of Jesus.
WND reports, April 30, 2017, that Agostino Sferrazza, a numismatist or coin expert, whose specialty is Roman coins, has identified the coins covering the eyes of the Man of the Shroud as having been minted in the days of Pontius Pilate.
In an interview with the French-language RCF Liège, Sferrazza said there is no doubt that the coins covering the eyes of the Man of the Shroud had been coined in 29 A.D.
In 1976, using 3-D projection techniques, researchers first noticed the presence of small bulges on the ocular orbit bones of the Man of the Shroud which wouldn’t match any possible morphological characteristics. The researchers hypothesized that the bulges were leptons: small coins of low value which were common in Israel during the Roman occupation.
Using advanced technologies, researchers — including Turin Faculty of Sciences Associate Professor and computer scientist Nello Balossino — uncovered drawings and inscriptions on the coins:
- A “lituus” (a curved Roman-style augural staff) appears to be on the coin or disc covering the right eye.
- On the disc over the left eye, there is what appears to be a sacrificial cup.
- Most importantly, both coins bear the inscription YKAI, which is believed to be the visible part of the word “TIBERIOY KAICAPOC” — Greek for Tiberius Caesar. That would date the Shroud coins to the time of Pontius Pilate and our Lord’s Passion. (Note: Tiberius was a Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. According to the Gospels, it was during the reign of Tiberius when Jesus preached and was crucified under the authority of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea province.)
Alan Whanger, M.D., explains that whereas Jews did not believe in the Greco-Roman practice at the time of covering the eyes of the dead with coins as a tip for Charon who conveyed the dead across the river Styx, there was another reason why Jews and other cultures routinely put coins on the eyelids of the corpse. If a person dies with the eyelids open, they may have the rather disconcerting characteristic of opening again after they are shut, which accounts for “the nearly universal practice among many peoples for millennia . . . to put coins on the eyes of the dead to keep the eyelids shut.”
Whatever the Jewish custom at the time, Dr. Whanger points out that:
“The essential question is whether there are the images of identifiable coins over the eyes on the Shroud . . . . Even if there were never any coins put on the eyelids of any other dead Jews, that does not negate the presence of the images on the man of the Shroud . . . . The Shroud is a unique object, and actually is the only existing intact burial Shroud from Israel/Palestine from that period of time. There are many existing older shrouds from other areas, but none of them have images on them.”