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Under the direction of Yves Delage, professor of comparative anatomy, a study was undertaken of the physiology and pathology of the apparent body imprint and of the possible manner of its formation. The body is well proportioned and muscular, with no observable defects.The image was found to be anatomically flawless down to minor details: the characteristic features of rigor mortis, wounds, and blood flows provided conclusive evidence to the anatomists that the image was formed by direct or indirect contact with a corpse, not painted onto the cloth or scorched thereon by a hot statue (two of the current theories). Death had occurred several hours before the deposition of the corpse, which was laid out on half of the Shroud, the other half then being drawn over the head to cover the body.Clearly, authenticity should be judged on criteria no more and no less stringent than those applied in the usual identification of ancient city sites, royal tombs, manuscripts, etc. Amidst burn marks, patches, water stains, and creases, the frontal and dorsal images of a male body may be discerned, with apparent blood flows at the wrists, right side (in the positive), head, and feet. Enrie, 1933; © 1935, 1963 by the Holy Shroud Guild.
Rigor mortis is seen in the stiffness of the extremities, the retraction of the thumbs (discussed below), and the distention of the feet.
Direct study and testing of the relic since 1900 have yielded a wealth of data, and in this paper I attempt to review and summarize the major empirical data and other relevant research.
Further, and unlike the authors of the most recent broad reviews on Shroud studies (e.g.
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The fact that it is a religious relic associated with supernatural claims is of no consequence here; certainly there is no justification for employing different or stricter criteria than for any other important artifact, except perhaps in according greater consideration to the possibility of forgery.