Site in ancient city of Hierapolis, now Pamukkale in southwestern Turkey matches historical descriptions of what was thought be entrance to hell birds flying past are killed by noxious gasses emanating from the doorway inscriptions on temple columns are dedications to gods of the underworld.
It sounds like the plot for a new Indiana Jones film.
Archaeologists say they have discovered the ‘Gates of Hell’, the mythical portal to the underworld in Greek and Roman legend.
The site, in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now Pamukkale in southwestern Turkey, is said to closely match historical descriptions of what was known as Ploutonion in Greek and Plutonium in Latin.
Describing the site, the Greek geographer Strabo (64/63 BC — about 24 A.D.) said: ‘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.’
But now a team led by Italian Archaeologist Francesco D’Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento, has discovered what they believe to be the ruins of the site.
Announcing the discovery at a conference on Italian archaeology in Istanbul, Mr D’Andria said he and his team had managed to pinpoint the location by reconstructing the route of a thermal springs.
Archaeologists now believe that a large statue found at the site, previously believed to depict Apollo, is actually of Hades, Greek god of the underworld
Among the ruins the archaeologists found a cave with Ionic semi columns upon which were inscriptions with dedications to the gods of the underworld — Pluto and Kore.