YOUR "From the archives" snippet from 25 years ago (October 14) states that on that day the Shroud of Turin, pictured, was "proved a fake".

Truly, as the old saying goes, "a lie can go three times round the world before the truth has got its boots on". In 1988 one sample was taken from the edge of the Shroud, cut into three, and sent to three labs (Arizona, Oxford and Zurich), which dated this as 1260-1390.

In 2000 Sue Benford and Joseph Marino claimed that the patch had been taken from an area that had been repaired by a process of French "invisible mending". Initially this was dismissed because it is not obvious to the naked eye. But in 2005 the prestigious American scientist Ray Rogers presented a paper to the scientific journal Thermochemica Acta, proving Benford and Merino correct. His paper has never been faulted.

Cotton is found in the selected section, absent from the otherwise 100% linen Shroud. There are also traces of madder dye. There is clear and unmistakable evidence of spliced fibres, where the sections were joined together. Thus, the Carbon 14 date is of a repaired area of the Shroud, and therefore anomalous.

When you have an abundance of evidence indicating one thing, and a contradictory fact is suddenly presented, the answer is not to abandon all previous evidence and grab the newest, like small boys playing football, who rush to where the ball is last seen. The scientific response is to ask: why is this so? Professor Edward Hill's breezy "someone just got a bit of lines, faked it up, and flogged it" was a grotesquely unscientific response to the Shroud in 1988, and it still is.

The irony is that since 1988, a huge amount of additional evidence has accumulated indicating the Shroud's authenticity. Its identification with the Image of Edessa is proved by an illustration in the Hungarian Pray Manuscript (1192), and by the portrait of the solidi coins of Justinian II (692). Pollen from gundelia tournefortii (a thorn-bush with fearsome spikes not found in Europe) has been discovered; the VP-8 Image Analyzer showed that image has 3D properties unlike any photograph in the world. And much more.

The absurd claim that Leonardo Da Vinci made it by a secret photographic process is disproven by the fact that the shroud is known to have been on public display 100 years before he was born.

These are complicated and complex matters, but not everything is reducible to a 30-minute TV show. The trouble is that the media establish a "truth", which is uncritically accepted by people who lack the interest or the patience to thoroughly investigate the matter personally. Thus a myth is created and rehashed - even in such a respected journal as The Herald.

Brian Quail,

2 Hyndland Avenue,