Archaeologists In Turkey Believe They've Discovered The Tomb Of Saint Nicholas

You and the rest of the Christmas-loving population may have thought that Santa Claus was alive and well, hanging out in the North Pole, prepping for the night he dusts off his sleigh and delivers presents to children the world over. Turns out, his icy home is just a myth – archaeologists have discovered Santa Claus's tomb in the decidedly hotter locale of Turkey.  

Where is Santa Claus buried? As creepy as it may seem, the real-life Saint Nicholas's tomb was discovered in Demre in October 2017. Blame the archaeologists who unearthed it for bringing about the is-Santa-real chat much earlier than you may have expected. But the story is actually fascinating, shedding new light on the life of the man who became known as Santa Claus.

  • Scans Revealed A Hidden Tomb

    Scans Revealed A Hidden Tomb
    Photo: flickr / CC0

    In October 2017, archaeologists in Turkey made an exciting announcement: they believed they had discovered Saint Nicholas's remains, hidden beneath the floor of a church in the Demre district of Antalya. Scans revealed what looks like a previously hidden chamber underneath the floor. The church is located in Southern Turkey, close to where the saint is believed to have been born.

  • Unearthing The Tomb Will Take Time

    Unfortunately, exploring this exciting find is a slow process. The tomb is situated underneath a mosaic-covered floor, which means archaeologists will have to carefully remove the tiles before potentially uncovering the saint's remains.

  • The Remains Would Have To Be DNA Tested

    The Remains Would Have To Be DNA Tested
    Photo: flickr / CC0

    Once the tomb is excavated, archaeologists may find a body. If they do, they would have to test the remains to determine whether or not they actually belonged to Saint Nicholas.

    Believe it or not, DNA testing of this source would be possible. In July 2017, a team of researchers were able to identify the skeletal remains of Canaanites via genome sequencing. This same method could very well be applied to the ancient remains of Saint Nicholas.

  • The Catholic Church Wants The Body

    The Catholic Church Wants The Body
    Photo: Bjoertvedt / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Because Saint Nicholas is, well, a saint, the Catholic Church has a vested interest in claiming any remains that exist. These bones, wherever they may be, are considered relics, and the Church would want to add them to their collection. It's a bizarre assortment that includes the finger of Saint Thomas, the tongue of Saint Anthony, and the bodies of Saint Mark and Saint Cecilia.

  • Saint Nicholas Might Not Be Buried There At All

    Saint Nicholas Might Not Be Buried There At All
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    While many are jumping to the conclusion that these archaeologists have definitively found the remains of Saint Nicholas, others are more skeptical. Carol Meyers, founder of the St. Nicholas Center, told the Huffington Post that "the speculation is very premature... If relics are found, they would need to be dated and examined by international experts. The Turks, of course, are very interested in promoting tourism. I’d be very reluctant to jump to any conclusions."

  • Saint Nicholas's Bones Were Believed To Have Been Stolen

    Saint Nicholas's Bones Were Believed To Have Been Stolen
    Photo: Gentile da Fabriano / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    It's something of a surprise that Saint Nicholas's remains may have turned up in a church in Turkey. Many believe that, shortly after the saint's death, Italian merchants stole his body and took it to Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy. Apparently, some fragments of his ribs are kept in this Italian location, and, as recently as May 2017, they've been loaned out to a Russian museum.