Archaeologists recently announced that they have found a “gate to hell” amongst ruins in southwestern Turkey.
The site, now called Pamukkale, was found in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis. It is known as ‘Pluto’s Gate.’
It is believed that the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition. The opening is described as being filled with lethal mephitic vapors.
“This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground,” Greek geographer Strabo (64/63 BC—about 24 AD) wrote in ancient texts. “Any animal that passes inside meets instant death. I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell.”
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The finding was announced this month at a conference on Italian archaeology in Istanbul, Turkey. Francesco D’Andria, a professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento, led the team that found the cave.
“We found the Plutonium by reconstructing the route of a thermal spring,” D’Andria told Discovery News. “Indeed, Pamukkale’ springs, which produce the famous white travertine terraces originate from this cave.”
Upon excavation of the site, archeologists also found Ionic semi-columns that had inscriptions of dedication to the deities of the underworld, Pluto and Kore.
“We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation,” D’Andria continued. “Several birds died as they tried to get close to the arm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes.”
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D’Andria and his team are currently working on the digital reconstruction of the “gate to hell” site.