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Archaeologists discover Pluto’s “Gate to Hell” in southwestern Turkey

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Artistic recreation of Pluto's Gate to Hell

Known as Pluto’s Gate, the famous “Gate to Hell” cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.  It was said to be located in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now called Pamukkale, and described as filled with lethal mephitic vapors.  Greek geographer Strabo (64-63 BC) wrote:

“This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death.  I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell.”

Last week, Italian archaeologists announced that they have found the mystical ruins in southwestern Turkey.  Announced this month at a conference on Italian archaeology in Istanbul, Turkey, the finding was made by a team led by Francesco D’Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento.

“We found the Plutonium by reconstructing the route of a thermal spring. Indeed, Pamukkale’ springs, which produce the famous white travertine terraces originate from this cave.”

According to the archaeologist, in ancient times there was a sort of touristic theme at the site. Small birds were given to pilgrims to test the deadly effects of the cave, while hallucinated priests sacrificed bulls to Pluto. The ceremony often included leading the animals into the cave, and dragging them out dead.  Archaeologists noted their witnessing of the deadly effect.

“We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation. Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes.”

Check out the pictures of Pluto’s Gate below.

Sources: Discovery Magazine