Researchers May Have Found Santa Claus' Tomb, And it's Nowhere Near the North Pole

St Nicholas Center
Photo Credit: stnicholascenter.org

A team of researchers in Turkey have unearthed what they believe is the grave of St. Nicholas, a generous 4th-century bishop who inspired the Christmas tale many children hold dear today. 

The grave was found in an ancient church located in the Demre district of Turkey's southern Antalya province. 

The head of Antalya's Monument Authority, Cemil Karabayram, told the Turkish press the grave was discovered when researchers ran a series of tests that revealed a pocket of empty space beneath the mosaic church floor. 

"We believe this shrine has not been damaged at all, but it is quite difficult to get to it as there are mosaics on the floor," Karabayram told Hurriyet Daily News. In the excavation process, archaeologists will have to loosen each tile from the mosaics and remove them together in a mold."

The new findings compete with previous theories about where the real bones of St. Nicholas are actually located. 

One popular theory is that Italian sailors stole the bones from Demre in the 11th century and took to them to the crypt of Basilica di San Nicola in Italy. 

Thousands of years later in 1993, another team of archeologists believe they found the saint's burial site on the Mediterranean island of Gemile. 

To finally put all the theories surrounding St. Nicholas to rest, archeologists are going to have to find out what truly lies beneath the mosaic floor of the Demre church. They'll start by taking apart the mosaic piece by piece. 

But we know one thing for sure, they can definitely cross the North Pole off the list. 

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