Archaeologists have unearthed something which could break the hearts of millions of children – the tomb of Santa Claus.
It’s not in Lapland, but in Turkey, where researchers now hope to unearth the remains of Saint Nicholas, the historical figure who inspired Santa Claus.
Archaeologists in Turkey found what they claim is likely to be the tomb of the original Saint Nick in the Saint Nicholas church in Demre in southern Turkey.
Saint Nicholas was a fourth-century bishop renowned for his generosity, and for secret gift-giving such as putting coins in people’s shoes.
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The burial ground is thought to lie beneath the church, and was detected by geo-radar scans.
Previously, it had been thought that the saint’s remains had been removed from the church, but researchers are now hopeful they could find the saint’s remains.
Cemil Karabayram, the head of Antalya’s Monument Authority, said, ‘We have obtained very good results but the real work starts now.
‘We will reach the ground and maybe we will find the untouched body of Saint Nicholas.’
Saint Nicholas became popularised in Europe as part of the figure of Father Christmas (or sometimes Captain Christmas).
Dutch immigrants to the United States called their version of Saint Nicholas ‘Sinterklaas’ – from which came ‘Santa Claus’.