|On the front:
At the first glance:
- The two lower members are together. One knee is overlapping the other.
The imprint of the lower parts of the legs, and the feet, are not very visible
With a little attention :
- The imprint of the left thigh and knee are more visible than those on the
right. The left knee is slightly higher and more forward than the right knee.
- We can see on the visible parts, the same pinkish marks that we have
already seen on the rest of the body
On close inspection:
- The two kneecaps are abraded. The right, more seriously than the left.
There are two round wounds about 2 cms diameter above and outside the right kneecap.
At first glance:
- The two feet turned inwards are crossed, the left foot in front of the
right. The print of the sole of the foot is particularly visible (which means that it
rested flat on the cloth, in hyper-extension, almost in line with the leg). On it can be
seen two rather pronounced pinkish stains, one at the heel and the other at the junction
between the lower third and the middle third of the sole of the foot. The image in three
dimensions that leaps to your attention is that of a body lying on its back, resting on
its head, trunk, buttocks and right foot. The thighs and the legs being slightly bent.
With a little attention :
- The heel of the left foot is slightly higher than the right and is also
marked with a pinkish stain which has three diverging outward branches.
- All over the backs of the thighs and legs can be found the same pinkish
traces as seen on the rest of the body.
On close examination:
- The right member is stretched more than the left, the popliteal (hollow
at the back of the knee) is more visible.
||The image of the right foot shows,
besides the general form of the sole :
- A round stain at the level of the heel (highlighted yellow)
- A round stain a little lower than the middle of the foot (highlighted
- A streak of blood which links these two stains
- Some blood that flowed along the external edge of the foot (highlighted
The round stain of the heel : It appears
hollowed out, like a wound or sore produced by walking barefoot on rough ground (carrying
a heavy weight?).
The round stain in the middle of the foot : It stands out in
relief and could correspond to a wound situated in the Tarsus, (highlighted by the red
spot), immediately in front of the navicular (or Scaphoid bone), between the cuneiform
bones (2 - highlighted blue) and (3 - highlighted yellow-green). There are
clearly-individualised extensions of the blood flow in the direction of the five toes.
These rivulets of blood happened when the heel was situated higher than the toes.
This opening between the bones (the red spot in the drawing), where
the nail went through, is inaccessible in a foot in its normal position. Pierre Barbet had
never found it, which led him to believe the nail had been driven between the 2nd and 3rd
metatarsian bones. However, if you stretch a foot out in hyper-extension, (which is how it
is nailed to the stake in a crucifixion), this space opens up, and a nail could be driven
through it without breaking the bones of the tarsus. This gap was first noted by Doctor
Pierre MERAT, and since then this anatomical space bears his name.
The thick streak linking up these two stains : It corresponds to
a blood flow which could only come from the wound in the middle of the foot, and run in
the direction of the heel, for there is no structure in the heel that might produce a
large enough venous haemorrhage. This bleeding apparently happened while the foot was
positioned with the toes higher than the heel.
blood flow along the outside edge of the heel :
First there is an obvious symmetry to the stain, (see the vertical green line),
which suggests there was a fold in the shroud, and that the blood running "post
mortem" onto the Shroud impregnated symmetrically the two sides of the fold. For the
blood to continue running after death, the wound had to be originally quite large. This
excludes that in the heel, so the only one left is the wound in the middle of the foot.
Such a haemorrhage can only happen after death from a venous wound. The only venous
structure which could have produced this, is that in the deep arch of the foot. Once the
body had been laid in the tomb, the slight bend of the knees caused the venous blood which
was in the legs (in the parts situated between the knee and the ankle) to drain a little
towards the feet, under the effect of gravity, and seep from the wound in the tarsus in
the direction of the heels. This appears to be the small haemorrhage that seeped into the
All these observations point to the following conclusion : The foot was in a
position close to vertical, heel higher than the toes, with the wound in the middle
bleeding in the direction of the toes. As the wound was plugged with a nail, it was a
moderate flow of blood (with small blood clots). Then, once the nail was removed when the
body was taken down, the wound bled more profusely "post mortem". This time the
heel was lower than the toes so the blood ran towards the heel. Once the body was wrapped
in the Shroud the blood stained the Shroud with this tell-tale pattern.
It is hard to conclude otherwise. The legs were close together,
the knees slightly bent, the left one a little higher than the right one, the feet in
hyperextension overlapping each other, the left one forward and a little higher than the
right one, the wound in the sole of the right foot... All these signs suggest with
quasi-certainty that the death occurred while this man was nailed vertically through his
feet onto a firm surface, one nail immobilising the two feet. Then when he was put in the
Shroud, with the nails taken out, the blood flowed profusely from the gaping wound that
his struggles on the nail had enlarged....