Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gate to Hell

Not too much poppin in the historical world now-a-days. Not anything worthy of my attention span at least. Margaret Thatcher died, Greece now has the earliest evidence of wine-making in Europe, Mussolini's WWII bunker photos were made public, Alfred the Great's grave might have been located, the "gate to hell" emerged...wait whaaaa? Gate to hell? Finally something.

Italian archaeologists were pissed that Greece is now the oldest known manufacturer of wine so they uncovered the "gate to hell" in southwestern Turkey. Known as Pluto's Gate, the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology. Historic sources described the opening as filled with "vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death," wrote Greek geographer Strabo (64 BC-24 AD). "I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell."

Welp, carbon dioxide fumes will do that to you. People drank the water from the springs, slept near the cave and would experience visions and prophecies. The fumes coming from the groundwater produced hallucinations.

Pluto's Gate, located in the ancient city of Hierapolis, was discovered by the archaeological team by reconstructing the route of one of the springs. They were rewarded, as they soon found Ionic semi columns which had an inscription with a dedication to the deities of the underworld - Pluto and Kore. Also found were other ruins: the remains of a temple, a pool and a series of steps placed above the cave.

The discovered ruins matched the descriptions of the site in ancient sources. This discovery confirms  the information we have from the ancient literary and historic sources which is pretty amazing.

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