Guardians of 'Hell's Gate' Unearthed in Turkey

Pluto's Gate once had snake, 3-headed dog standing guard
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2013 3:56 PM CST
Updated Nov 24, 2013 4:20 PM CST
Two statues recovered at the "Gate to Hell' in Turkey.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – What's a "Gate to Hell" without a couple of scary guardians lurking outside? Appropriately, archaeologists in Turkey have unearthed two marble statues that once guarded the fabled portal to the underworld known as Pluto's Gate, LiveScience reports. "The statues represent two mythological creatures," says archaeologist Francesco D'Andria. "One depicts a snake, a clear symbol of the underworld; the other shows Kerberos, or Cerberus, the three-headed watchdog of hell in the Greek mythology."

The rolled-up snake seems to glare menacingly at all who approach, while the watchdog looks like an Anatolian shepherd dog and stands 4 feet tall. "It's a pretty scary statue," says D'Andria. Discovered earlier this year, Pluto's Gate was once celebrated by pagans and thought to have healing properties; it also emitted carbon-dioxide fumes that could bring on hallucinations or kill those who got too close. (This "Gate to Hell" is not to be confused with the "Door to Hell," a big crater that has defied expectations by burning for the past 40 years.)

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