Italian archeologists have found the "gate to hell"
Naturally, you're likely wondering what, exactly, this means. Located in Pamukkale, Turkey, the newly-discovered cave was known in ancient times as Pluto's Gate. And, as Fox News reports, it is a so-called doorway to hell -- one that was discussed and revered in Greco-Roman mythology (at that time Pumakkale was known as Hierapolis).
The historic sources who discussed Pluto's Gate noted that its opening had lethal vapors. For those living in ancient times, this was very naturally a heralded location. Consider Greek geographer Strabo, who lived between 64 or 63 B.C. and 24 A.D, and the descriptives he used to frame the purported "gate to hell."
"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," he once wrote. "I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell."
Archeologists made the recent discovery while excavating in the area and announced their findings earlier this month in Istanbul, Turkey. The team, as Fox News notes, was led by Professor Francesco D'Andria of the University of Salento.
A digital re-creation of the area where the cave was found (Photo Credit: Francesco D'Andria)
The ancient city of Hierapolis, which is where the cave was found along with a plethora of other elements, including columns and other relics, was founded in 190 B.C. and it ended up in Roman jurisdiction by 133 B.C. At that point, it grew into a flourishing city, complete with a theater, hot springs and other related elements.
As far as the descriptions of the cave that seemed to be rooted superstition, it turns out that the "gate to hell" did, indeed, have lethal capabilities. D'Andria has said that the site was a tourist attraction of sorts, with small birds given to visitors so that Pluto's Gate's deadly qualities could be tested out.
It was at this site that priests also sacrificed bulls to Pluto (animals were also ceremonially led to the cave and then dragged out dead).
"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 explained.
Read more about the fascinating finding -- one that sheds light on pagan principles and practices -- over on Fox News.