In contrast, there are so many unknowns when it comes to describing how dust settled onto the shroud.
The team also sequenced the human mitochondrial DNA (DNA passed from mother to child) found in dust from the shroud.
The genetic lineage, or haplotype, of the DNA snippets suggested that people ranging from North African Berbers to East Africans to inhabitants of China touched the garment.
Given that the cloth was publicly displayed for centuries, it's not surprising that so many people touched it, Farey added.
"Apart from ruling out the United States of America as the source for the shroud, it leaves just about everything else open," Farey said.
Still, the strongest genetic signals seemed to come from areas in and around the Middle East and the Caucasus — not far from where Jesus was buried, and consistent with the early folklore surrounding the object.