Monday, August 6, 2018

Tunnels to the Underworld?

There is a legend of a woman named Amalthaea, who served as a sibyl (oracle or prophetess) in the sixth century B.C.  Archaeologists and scholars have periodically looked for the cave or tunnel such an individual would have called home, without luck – until the 1950s, when archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri discovered the entrance to an unknown antrum.  The site remained unexplored until Robert Paget heard about it in the 1960s.  Paget and a colleague, Keith Jones, excavated the site.  They eventually discovered a highly ambitious tunnel system with huge numbers of niches for oil lamps, an underground stream of boiling water, and an antechamber.  Paget and Jones proposed the tunnels were used by priests to convince travelers they had traveled to the underworld, before reaching the sibyl.  Whether the theories are accurate, has never been proved.