Man of the Shroud in 3D

Prof. Avinoam Danin



Professor Avinoam Danin, Botanist

 In 2005-2007 during the conversion-work of Bernardo Galmarini it became obvious that, although the image of the Man on the Shroud was anatomically correct, there were image-less areas in the grayscale of the body. When the 3D formed on the Z-axis (on the computer screen in the direction of the viewer), these image-less areas showed up as “holes”, because they did not contain the body-to-cloth distance information (3D) that characterizes the rest of the image.    

Thanks to the investigations of ALAN ADLER we knew that under the blood on the cloth there is no image and the individual fibers are white and not discolored. So it seems that the presence of the blood prevented the image formation of the body in these particular areas of the Shroud. Having this in mind we tried to find a solution of parts of the image-less areas that showed up as “holes”, and I remembered the book of MARY and ALAN WHANGER, “The Shroud of Turin, An Adventure of Discovery” (1998), where in chapter 7, “Flower Images” on page 73, Alan showed two photographs with flowers on the face and around the lower parts of the arms and the hands. When I compared these photographs with our findings, it occurred to me that they covered part of the “holes” that we had encountered during the conversion of 2D to 3D of the image. Alan later told me that these photographs showed the findings of Prof. AVINOAM DANIN (Hebrew University- Jerusalem, Israel) of flowers on and near the face and the area around the arms and hands. During a visit to Israel in October of 2007 I met Avinoam Danin and I invited him to come with me to Raleigh, North Carolina where TOM D’MUHALA lives and he was in the possession of the collection of all the photographs of VERNON MILLER, made during the STURP investigations of 1978 were Vernon was the chief technical photographer. Tom D’Muhala contacted Vernon Miller and he agreed to make a series of the photographs, including Ultra Violet photographs available to Avinoam Danin, so he would be able to do extensive research on the Botany of the Shroud. That resulted not only in a confirmation of the previous findings of Avinoam Danin in the ENRIE photographs, but he even found additional images of flowers. This also solved the problem of the “holes” in the face and the area around the arms and hands.    

Like the blood images we mentioned before it seems also that the presence of flowers and plants on certain areas of the body, prevented the formation of the image of the underlying body areas. Whatever “energy” formed the image, it seemingly could not penetrate solid objects like the blood and the flowers.    

I will quote now from the book of AVINOAM DANIN: “Botany of the SHROUD, The Story of Floral Images on the Shroud of Turin” (Danin Publishing 2009, Jerusalem), to show the Botanical findings that he did in 2007-2008.    

Botany of the Shroud

(Excerpt from Botany of the SHROUD, The Story of Floral Images on the Shroud of Turin)    

The Holographic Era    

A recent and very exciting new phase of research has begun, which I call the holographic era. In February 2007, I visited Alan and Mary Whanger in Durham, North Carolina. I also presented there my lecture on the Flora of the Shroud of Turin and the permanent exhibitions in Jerusalem and Rome. Three holograms of the Shroud were presented in the lecture hall that evening; one of the face and the other two of the front and the back of the body of the Man of the Shroud. I was astonished when I saw these 3D presentations and heard from Alan that new findings had been made with this technology, which had been used for the first time to present the image of the Man on the Shroud.   I started corresponding by e-mail with Dr. Petrus Soons, who was responsible for the creation of these holograms with his collaborators of the Dutch Holographic Laboratory in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. When he visited Jerusalem in October 2007 we set up a meeting and he explained his 3D studies to me.    

One of the important steps in producing the holograms is the conversion of the 2D grayscale information in the body image of the Enrie photographs to 3D. This is possible because we know that the grayscale in the image contains distance information, which is normally not found in photographs. This conversion was also done using a large computer by an Argentinian 3D expert, Bernardo Galmarini. This conversion to 3D information was then used by the Dutch Holographic Laboratory, Eindhoven, to create the “Master Holographic” plate, from which the holographic copies are being made.   During the conversion process, Galmarini noticed in the grayscale of the image that in the face and also on certain parts of the body there are areas where no image is visible at all. In the 3D conversion these areas show up as “holes”. This confused him and he contacted Dr. Soons about the matter. Dr. Soons remembered some photographs he had seen in the book by the Whangers (1998; Fig. 34). These photographs showed my findings of flowers on and near the face and the area around the arms and hands. When he studied these images and compared them with the “holes” they had found on the face, he concluded that these two coincided.  Dr. Soons then invited me to join him in November 2007 to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was going to carry out investigations on the ultraviolet photographs that had been made in 1978 by Vernon Miller, the Chief Technical Photographer of the STURP team.   Until then, my studies had been done on copies of the photographs made by Giuseppe Enrie in 1931, which gave rise to some criticism.  After studying Vernon Miller’s UV photographs, which are of excellent quality, I came to the conclusion that they not only confirmed all my previous findings in the Enrie photographs, but I even found additional images of flowers. This finding proves that these plant and flower images really exist and are not artifacts in the linen caused by the special orthochromatic glass plates used by Enrie in 1931.   On the first of March 2008, I received digitizations of the UV photographs of the face and studied them carefully.  I came to the conclusion that on the right side of the face between the hair and the face proper, and also on the forehead of the Man on the Shroud, there is an almost continuous carpet of flowers (Fig. 65). The “flowers” are most similar in shape and size to flowering heads of Matricaria recutita or Anthemis bornmuelleri (Fig. 66). I put the living flowering heads on an earlier stage of preparing Fig. 66. At the center of each “flower” there are yellow tubular florets whereas at the periphery there is one circle of white ligulate florets (Fig. 67). While laying the “flowers” of Anthemis bornmuelleri on the left side of Fig. 66, I had to cut their peduncles. This action indicates that when these “flowers” were placed, it was not a random throwing of flowers but an orderly arrangement. More than 300 flowering heads were used. The species of the plant used here cannot be determined. There are dozens of Anthemis species in the East Mediterranean area that differ in the morphology of their minute fruits. However, the closest representatives were used to make the model displayed in Fig. 66. Since I am dealing only with botanical findings, I cannot evaluate the reasons for putting these flowers on the head area.    

Image-less areas on The Face

Drawn-in flowers on top of image-less areas

Real Flowers (Anthemis Bornmuelleri) On Top of Image-less Areas

Field of Anthemis Israel April 2009

 Peter Soons and I participated in the Ohio Conference on Shroud research in 2008 and presented our lectures there. Then we went to St. Louis, Missouri, where we presented our lectures in the large hall at the Visitor Center of the Botanical Garden. Our lectures were transmitted synchronically via an educational television channel. While listening to Dr. Soons’ lecture, I suddenly heard him saying something about “a helmet of thorns” and not a “crown of thorns”. After the lecture, as we watched lightning bugs marking their way in the night air of the fantastic Botanical Garden, I asked Peter to repeat and explain his statement. He told me that when he created life-size holograms and displayed them in the Regina Apostolorum in Rome, they had to take a ladder to see the top of the head. This part of the body of the Man of the Shroud had not been seen by anybody before (in 3D). Peter then saw that there were many small wounds that had been bleeding. When looking at the forehead and the hair, nobody could see the small wounds. The conclusion was that the Man of the Shroud was tortured with a “helmet of thorns”, as postulated by Fleury (1870; Fig. 62). You can understand now how happy I was that I convinced Fr. Guerra and Dr. Ferre to add the “Helmet of Thorns”, made by Michal Raz following Fleury’s model, to the permanent exhibitions of the Shroud in Jerusalem and Rome (Fig. 63).    


1)      Observing the images of plants in the same locations on photographs produced by different photographic techniques and on the linen of the Shroud itself proves that they are real and not artifacts created by one photographic method or another.    

2)      The area where the assemblage of the three indicator plants could be freshly collected and placed on the Shroud near the man’s body is the area of Jerusalem to Hebron.    

3)      March-April is the time of the year when the whole assemblage of some ten of the plants identified on the Shroud is in bloom.    

4)      Ferocious thorns of two trees were found near the man’s head and a reed was laid alongside his body.    

5)      The synchronization of the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo demonstrates that the Shroud of Turin already existed in the 7th century C.E. High similarity of the face of the Man of the Shroud to an icon of “The Pantocrator” in the St. Catherine Monastery, Sinai, takes the Shroud back to 550 C.E.    

6)      Special attention was given to covering parts of the head of the Man of the Shroud with daisy-like “flowers” after their carrying stalks were removed.    


Throughout my years of investigation of the Shroud, I had the pleasure of knowing interesting people and expanding my fields of interest. I lost many hours of sleep as thoughts about the meaning of my findings kept me awake at the oddest hours. I am often asked about my personal feelings concerning the Shroud and what surrounds it. I appreciate the beliefs of Christians around the world and I admire the expression “live and let live”. I have gathered much botanical information in my years of research and am happy to share my expertise and its application in Sindonology with those who are interested. 

Click to go back to the top of the page