'Tomb of Santa Claus' Found Under Church
Archaeologists may have found St. Nick's final resting place
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2017 3:31 AM CDT
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A ceiling fresco in the church of St. Nicholas.   (Wikipedia/Jiuguang Wang)
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(Newser) – Archaeologists believe they have found the final resting place of jolly old St. Nick—and it's nowhere near the North Pole. According to accounts in the Turkish media, researchers think "Santa Claus" is buried under an ancient church near the saint's birthplace in Antalya, southern Turkey, Newsweek reports. Cemil Karabayram, chief of Antalya's Monument Authority, says digital surveys beneath the St. Nicholas church revealed an untouched grave believed to be that of the saint himself, reports the Daily Sabah. "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," he says.

The 1,500-year-old church was built on the ruins of an even older church where Nicholas, whose reputation for generosity grew into the legend of Santa Claus, served as a bishop before his death in AD 343. His remains were supposedly smuggled to the Italian city of Bari by merchants in 1087, but researchers say those remains actually belonged to an unknown priest. Karabayram says experts from several different fields are now involved in the project, which will involve carefully removing mosaic tiles to access the ancient shrine. (In Boston, archaeologists are searching for an outhouse that may have been used by Paul Revere.)

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