April 8th, 2013 11:38 EST
Ancient Cave known as Pluto`s Gate Leads Archaeologists on Path to the Unknown
"A Path that leads to the unknown is the same concept as putting on a blind fold and driving a car to wherever. You never know what you are going to eventually run into." (Anselm, R.)
This is how Italian archaeologists feel since they announced they have discovered what is known as a gate to hell or Pluto`s Gate from ruins in Southwestern Turkey. The cave discovered is said to have celebrated as the portal to the underworld in past Greco-Roman Mythology and tradition.
The hole or cave found by the archaeologists is located in the site of the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis which is now known as Pamukkale. The opening to the cave is described as uninhabitable and is filled with very lethal vapors.
We all know there are many past Greek mythologies and traditions and as one past geographer by the name of Strabo somewhere between 64/63 B.C. or 24 A.D. wrote:
"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," (Strabo, 24 A.D.)
This is more than likely why it is known as the Gate to Hell because of its fiery atmosphere and lethal surroundings. This site was known by Italy for some time now but an Archaeology quest led by Francesco D` Andria who is a professor of classic Archaeology at the University of Salento decided to take a team and investigate the site.
This is not the first major discovery by D` Andria, two years ago he claimed to have discovered the Tomb of Saint Philip who if anyone is spiritual like myself was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ.
The city where the Gate to Hell was discovered once grew into a flourishing Roman city with temples, a theater and the popular sacred hot springs which was believed to have some sort of healing powers within it. The city is now in ruins and probably is in the ball park as one of the many lost cities in the region of the world.
D` Andria commented on this by saying, "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)
The lost city featured a vast array of many abandoned building and broken ruins. The cause of this was the possibility of a once major earthquake that hit that region. During the archaeologists search they found ionic semi columns and on top of them was an inscription that was dedicated to the deities of the underworld by Pluto and Kore.
The team also found the remains of the temple and a pool with a series of steps that were above the cave and all of this was matching the descriptions given of the site of ancient sources. D` Andria commented on this, "People could watch the sacred rites from these steps, but they could not get to the area near the opening. Only the priests could stand in front of the portal." (D` Andria)
It seems maybe in ancient times according to the Italian Archaeologists there was a touristic spin on this sit. Small birds were given to pilgrims to throw in the cave and test the deadly effects of the toxic fumes emanating from the cave. At the same time hallucinated priests sacrificed bulls to Pluto.
D` Andria went on to say about the discovery, "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)
A little history about this lethal cave as described by D` Andria himself included this site was famous for rites of incubation. The pilgrims would take the waters in the pool that at the time was near the ruined temple and would sleep not too far from the cave and at the same time would receive visions of prophecies in a Delphi effect sort of way. Kind of the same way a stoner or hippie takes the famous Purple Haze or acid as it is known by Jimmy Hendrix and sits back and hallucinates, seeing trails and anything that is basically not really there. The fumes coming from the cave probably created this same sort of scenario for the pilgrims that slept too close to the opening of it.
Alister Filippini who is a researcher of Roman history told Discovery News, "This is an exceptional discovery as it confirms and clarifies the information we have from the ancient literary and historic sources." (Filippini, A.)
Filippini also said about this ancient site, "fully functional until the 4th century AD, and occasionally visited during the following two centuries, the site represented an important pilgrimage destination for the last pagan intellectuals of the Late Antiquity."
The site is believed to have been obliterated by Christians around six century A.D. In later years earthquakes may also have been responsible for a lot of the ruins as-well. D` Anria and his team are currently working on reconstructing this ancient site.
Lorenzi, R., (2013) Pluto`s Gate Uncovered in Turkey
Scientists reportedly discover gate to hell