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‘Gate of hell’ found: Italian scholars

An ancient site that was depicted in Greek and Roman mythology as the “Gates of Hell” has been found, an Italian archeologist claimed.

Francesco D’Andria, a professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento, said recently that his team successfully identified a site in the city of Pamukkale, West Turkey, as the Plutonium, or sanctuary of Pluto. Pluto is the Roman god of death.

D’Andria claimed the site matched many characteristics of the ancient Greek and Roman description of the legendary “portal to the underworld.”

In portraying the site, Greek geographer Strabo -- who presumably lived from 64 B.C. to A.D. 24, said it was “full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground.” He also said that any animal that approaches this area is killed instantly.

D’Andria’s team found a cave which is in keeping with Strabo’s description. The cave had columns with inscriptions dedicated to Pluto and his wife Kore. The archeologist also found that several birds that approached the opening were killed immediately by carbon dioxide fumes.

D’Andria said in the ancient times, pilgrims visiting the sacred place would be given a small bird to test the lethal effects of the cave. Priests would be subjected to strange visions after inhaling the toxic fumes from the cave.

D’Andria’s team is now working on the digital reconstruction of the site.

From news reports