Archaeologists say they've found the 'Gates to Hell'

Archaeologists claiming to have found the "Gates to Hell" in southwest Turkey announced their discovery during a conference on Italian archaeology in Instanbul. They claim that they found the portal to the underworld—as described in numerous ancient texts—in the ancient city, Hierapolis, now called Pammukale.

Among the ruins the archaeologists found a cave with lonicsemi columns upon which were inscriptions with dedications to the gods of the underworld -- Pluto and Kore.

Mr. D'Andria told Discovery News: '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.'

The site—known as Ploutonion in Greek and Pluutonium in Latin—is said to have consisted of a small temple held, up by pillars, next to a wall of steps that led to a cave doorway where only priests could stand.

The site remained fully functional until the 4th century A.D. and became an important pilgrimage destination for the last pagan intellectuals.

Historians believe the site was sacked by Christians in the 6th century A.D., with several earthquakes adding to the damage. [Daily Mail]