Larry J. Kreitzer, «The Plutonium of Hierapolis and the Descent of Christ into the 'Lowermost Parts of the Earth' (Ephesians 4,9)», Vol. 79 (1998) 381-393
After a general discussion of the myth regarding Demeter, Persephone and Hades/Pluto, the author discusses, in the light of coins of the early Neronian period (54-59 AD), the likelihood that the Plutonium of Hierapolis is the geographical spot the author wants his readers to imagine when they read in the Letter to the Colossians that Christ entered the lowermost parts of the earth.
the entrance to the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore. This small passage is located in the Plutonium, a grotto built into the base of the rocky hill overlooking the temple complex in Eleusis. The subterranean opening is still visible today, as are the foundations of a small temple to Hades (Pluto) which stands nearby. There remains some debate about the precise role that the so-called Plutonium played within the Eleusinian rites, but the fact that there was an underground passageway is beyond doubt 16. Perhaps it served some purpose during the re-enactment of the annual return of Persephone from the realm of the dead 17. The precise relationship between the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and the Eleusinian mystery-cult is also a matter of great debate 18. Despite the fact that the setting of the