The mysteries of the Shroud of Turin are proving to be very stubborn in the face of modern technology. An Italian team analyzed DNA from the relic some believe is the burial cloth of Jesus but failed to find conclusive proof of its origins, the Independent reports. The testing revealed traces of people and pollen from many parts of the world, meaning it that could be a medieval forgery—or that its journey to Europe could indeed have begun in Jerusalem around 30 or 33AD. The results show that over the centuries, the shroud came in contact with many "different types of natural and anthropological environments," according to the researchers, whose study is published in the journal Nature.
One find that will surprise skeptics: One of the most common snippets of mitochondrial DNA was from the Middle East. The type is "rare in western Europe, and it is typical of the Druze community, an ethnic group that has some origin in Egypt and that lives mainly in restricted areas between Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine," lead researcher Gianni Barcaccia tells LiveScience, which notes that other experts consider some of the methods used unreliable. Another find: Barcaccia says some of the oldest DNA on the cloth was from India, meaning the shroud may have been made there. (An earlier study suggested the shroud is real—and was created by a huge earthquake.)