Speed Reads

the nightmare before christmas

Archaeologists may have discovered the ancient tomb of Santa Claus

Turkish archaeologists believe they may have discovered the ancient tomb of St. Nicholas — better known as Santa Claus. The Daily Sabah reports the grave was recently found beneath the St. Nicholas Church in Turkey's southern province of Antalya, where Mr. Claus was born. "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," said the head of Antalya's Monument Authority, Cemil Karabayram, of the discovery.

Karabayram added to Turkey's Hurriyet that the excavation is progressing steadily and "we will reach the ground and maybe we will find the untouched body of St. Nicholas."

Prior to taking on the image of a plump, jolly delivery man, Santa Claus was a fourth-century saint who gave aid to the poor. Earlier research led archaeologists to believe the remains of St. Nicholas had been smuggled to the Italian city of Bari, although more recent studies have indicated the body preserved there, in the St. Nicholas Basilica, belongs more likely to a local priest. St. Nick, then, could still be discovered in Antalya.

"We have obtained very good results but the real work starts now," Karabayram said.