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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

'Gate to Hell' guardian statues recovered



The three-headed dog Cerberus. Image Credit: Felton Bequest, 1920

Two marble statues associated with the recently discovered 'Gate to Hell' cave have been unearthed.

The so-called "Gate to Hell", otherwise known as Pluto's Gate, is a cave that was once considered to be a portal to the underworld. Located in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, the cave was recently found by a team of archaeologists led by Professor Francesco D'Andria.

Since then, two marble statues have been discovered that are believed to represent the guardians of the cave. One depicts the image of a snake rolled onto itself while the second depicts Cerberus, the infamous three-headed dog and guardian of the underworld in Greek mythology.

The cave earned its reputation because it is filled with deadly vapors that would have spelled doom for anyone unfortunate enough to be thrown inside. "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 ancient Greek geographer Strabo.

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