Known as Pluto's Gate -- Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin -- the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition. It was discovered in March by a team led by Francesco D'Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento.
"The statues represent two mythological creatures," D'Andria told Discovery News. "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."
Rolled onto itself, the snake looks threateningly toward anybody trying to approach it, while the 4-foot-tall Kerberos resembles the Kangal, the Anatolian shepherd dog.
"It's a pretty scary statue," D'Andria said.
The sculptures were found as archaeologists further excavated the area where in March they unearthed the remains of the Plutonium, which included an inscription dedicated to the deities of the underworld -- Pluto and Kore.read more
"when life gives you lemons..throw them at someone"...Grumpy Cat