Archaeologists Say ‘Gate to Hell’ in Turkey Could be Pluto’s Gate

Posted by Staff Reporter on Apr 02, 2013 12:41 PM EDT
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A digital re-creation of the area where the cave was found
(Photo : Francesco D’Andria)

Italian scientists believe they may have found the famous "gate to hell" known as Pluto's Gate which the Greeks and Romans believe is the mythical entry into the underworld, the Discovery News reports.

The newly proposed site of Pluto's Gate-Ploutonion in Greek, in the ancient city of Hierapolis, now Pamukkale, in southwestern Turkey, is reported to closely resemble the historical descriptions of the Greek and Roman "gates." The Greek geographer Strabo said 2000 years ago about this famous spot: '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."

The site was believed to have been built on top of a cave that emits toxic gas, which was believed by the Greeks and Romans to be the entrance to the underworld, where Pluto, god of the underworld, resided. The temple at the site is thought to have been destroyed by Christians in the 6th century.

Italian archaeologist Francesco D'Andria has been examining Hierapolis for years where he discovered one of the 12 apostles' tombs. He goes on to explain how his team discovered the portal "by reconstructing the route of a thermal spring" to the cave; he was also able to identify the ruins of a temple, pool, and steps -- from which pagan pilgrims would watch sacred rites performed at the portal's opening -- referenced in descriptions of the cave," according to the report. 

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