Archeologists In Turkey May Have Discovered The Grave Of Santa Claus

In the Western world, Christmas is a significant holiday. But over time, the way Christmas has been celebrated has changed, and one of those biggest changes is the idea of Santa Claus. Originally, the holiday just worshipped the birth of Jesus Christ. Still, when one saint, St. Nicholas, lived a life of the utmost humility and generosity, he became a centralized figure in how the holiday is celebrated. St. Nicholas gradually became synonymous with Santa Claus, an evolution of St. Nicholas' Dutch name, Sinter Klaas, according to St. Tammany Parish.

Much of St. Nicholas' life is unknown, but many legends have formed about him. Many of these tales focus on his good heart, and his seemingly angelic lifestyle, like those where he resurrects three murdered children, and even saves another three girls from being forced into sex work, according to Live Science. But in October 2022, archaeologists made a very important discovery regarding ole' Santa Claus: The location of his grave.

The story of St. Nick

St. Nicholas died in the year A.D. 340, and his original burial site was at a church built in his honor in the city of Demre, located in Antalya, Turkey, in the southwestern region of the country. The church was built in A.D. 520, atop an even older church where the famous St. Nicholas was a bishop, when Demre was known as Myra. After St. Nicholas died, his reverence in the Christian community made Myra a popular spot for many Christians to visit in their lifetime (via Live Science).

700 years after the death of the beloved Santa Claus, in the year 1087, a couple of grave robbers broke into the holy church and what was believed to be St. Nick's sarcophagus, stealing his remains and bringing them to an unknown location. One medieval transcript wrote about the robbery, saying "some wise and illustrious men of Bari [Italy]... discussed together how they might take away from the city of Myra... the body of the most blessed confessor of Christ, Nicholas" (via the St. Nicholas Center and Live Science).

New discovery begs questions

In October, 2022, a team of archaeologists made a very important discovery: The location of a shrine or tomb underneath the Church of St. Nicholas (per according ATI). As of this writing, the archaeological team is still investigating this newly-discovered site, but it will take time due to some complications. The floor is comprised of delicate mosaics, which means that in order for the archaeologists to perverse the current church, they will have to remove each individual tile carefully before reaching what they believe to be the shrine.

If the tomb does turn out to be the original grave where St. Nicholas was buried, it might contradict the story about the grave robbers who supposedly stole his remains from the new church. However, it will take time, research, and scientists from all sorts of different fields to really confirm what happened to the beloved Santa Claus.