However, I doubt that anyone with significant experience in the dating of excavated samples would dismiss for one moment the potential danger of contamination and other sources of error.
In the Shroud literature, a similar absolute belief in the method is found among most writers.
Wilson, for example, states (194) that a dating accurate to a plus-minus of 100 years is possible thus "enabling the settling, once and for all, of the question of whether or not the Shroud is a 14th century forgery." Sox (192) follows Wilson in thinking that C-14 dating the Shroud could "remove it once and for all from the Middle Ages, or place it squarely there for all time." Some STURP scientists unfortunately display similar beliefs.
The first proposal to date the Shroud was submitted in 1979 by Gove and Harbottle (published in Sox 191-167).
It was, in my opinion, seriously flawed by the lack of consultation with archaeologists and experts from other fields.
Even among social and physical scientists, there are numerous misconceptions about the radiocarbon method of dating; among journalists and the general public there are of course many more.
But among specialists who frequently make use of the test, it is not considered as a method which produces an "absolute date" for every sample that can be measured.
Although the more recent STURP proposal has not yet been published, there is reason (discussed below) to suspect that it likewise has not been researched to the degree warranted by the object to be dated, and that significant input from a range of scholars is lacking.
Because the next round of scientific testing of the Shroud may well be the last of this century, it is imperative that such details as the amount and number of samples and especially the sampling sites be very carefully considered.
There is consensus now that, had the testing been allowed, it would have been the cause of great controversy regardless of the results.