Archaeologists Uncover Mythical Gate to Hell

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Archaeologists working in Turkey have discovered what is being described as a "gate to hell". Found in the ruins in the southwestern portion of the country, the location, Pluto's Gate, is said to emit dangerous vapors.

The team of Italian archaeologists, led by Francesco D’Andria, have been working in southwestern Turkey. During their excavations, they have found what is being described as the "gate to hell", according to WPIX News 11.  D'Andria is a professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento.

Described in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition as a "portal to the underworld", the ancient site was said to have emitted lethal vapors so deadly that birds would immediately die upon entering the cave.

“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,” the Greek geographer Strabo (64/63 BC - about 24 AD) had wrtten, according to Discovery News. “I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell."

According to media reports, 'gate to hell' was once located in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, in the region now called Pamukkale. The city was detailed in historical accounts as having contained a hot spring. It was also described as what would have equated to as a "tourist attraction" in ancient times.

It is also destination described as a pilgrimage people took.  Special ceremonies and customs were said to have taken place at the cave, which was reportedly fully functional until the 4th century AD.  Visitors to the 'gate to hell' were allegedly given birds to toss into the cave so they could witness the deadly effects of the cave.

Previously, only known as legend, this find by D'Andria's team backs up ancient accounts that the "gate to hell" is more than a mythical place, it was real.

“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,” D'Andria told Discovery News in an interview.

The team also uncovered the remains of a temple, pool and steps above the 'gate to hell' cave. It is reported these items all match the ancient sources that detailed the location.

"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," D'Andria said.

The details of this archeological discovery was shared at a conference taking place in Istanbul.

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