AN Italian archaeological mission has found the historical Gate to the Underworld of the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis in modern-day Turkey. The Turkish announcement comes only weeks after Greek experts claimed to have found evidence for the existence of a GATEWAY TO HADES IN GREECE.
In ancient times there were several Gateways to Hades ... in Asia Minor ... in Greece ... and in Rome ... but the one at Hierapolis was perhaps most famous of all.
The Turkish discovery was made by a mission headed by Francesco D'Andria from the University of Salento which is in charge of the excavations in the Greco-Roman city. The ruins of the city are near the modern-day Pamukkale in Turkey.
According to Greco-Roman mythology and tradition, the Gate to the Underworld, also known as Pluto's Gate ... Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin ... was the entrance point to hell.
Both Cicero and Greek geographer Strabus referred to the Hierapolis Plutonium in their writings, and both had visited it. It was a well-known place of pilgrimage in Antiquity.
Since the excavations commenced in Hierapolis in 1957 ... by an Italian mission under Paolo Verzone from the Turin Polytechnic ... finding the exact location of Plutonium had been the focus of the archaeological digs.
D'Andria told ANSAmed news agency that he had found it by studying the vast literature from the period and reconstructing the route of a thermal spring to a cave, ascertaining that in that area bird corpses were collected.
According to the tales of the travelers in those times, bulls were sacrificed to Pluto before pilgrimages into the Plutonium. The animals were led by priests to the entrance to a cave from which fetid fumes arose, suffocating them to death.
The announcement of the discovery came only weeks after archaeo-spelunkers announced that a rival Gateway to Hades in southern Greece apparently was a cave dwelling which once housed an entire underground city.
Ironically, the giant cave could have resembled something vaguely similar to the scene depicted by Jan the Elder Bruegel of Aeneas and the Sybil entering Hades (above).
The complex settlement seen in this cave suggests, along with other sites from about the same time, that early prehistoric Europe may have been more complex than previously thought.
The cave, located in southern Greece and discovered in 1958, is called Alepotrypa, which means "foxhole."
The cave in Greece apparently went through a series of occupations and abandonments before it finally collapsed.