Source: NYDailyNews

They’re on a highway to Hades.

Italian archaeologists claim to have uncovered the gateway to Hades, the  netherworld from classical Greek mythology, in southwestern Turkey.

A cave in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now Pamukkale, was once  the site of pagan rituals where priests would sacrifice bulls to the god of the  underworld, Hades (known as Pluto to the Romans), the experts say.

“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,” excavation leader Francesco D’Andria, professor of classic archaeology  at the University of Salento, told Discovery News.

Among ancient ruins, they found a temple, a pool and steps above the cave  that all corresponded to descriptions of the gateway from ancient texts. They  also found columns with inscriptions to Hades and Persephone (Kore to the  Romans), queen of the underworld.

The portal, known as Plutonium or Pluto’s Gate, has long been noted for its  lethal vapors and noxious odors. Pilgrims used to expose birds to the  once-mysterious emanations to test the cave’s deadliness.

“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,” wrote Strabo, a  Greek geographer and historian (64 B.C. to about A.D. 24).

Modern science reveals this mysterious presence to be merely carbon  dioxide.

We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation,” said  D’Andria. “Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening,  instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes.”

These fumes would also induce spiritual visions for the priests. Simply put,  they got high.

Christians destroyed Plutonium during the sixth century, and earthquakes  finished off most of what was left. Now D’Andria and his team are working on  reconstructing the historic site digitally, reported Discovery News.

“This is an exceptional discovery,” said historian Alister Filippini, “as it  confirms and clarifies the information we have from the ancient literary and  historic sources.”

Found the gates to and lived to tell about it? No these people have not found the gates to hell.  It would be to hot!