Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkish archaeologists believe they may have discovered the remains of St. Nicholas – from whom the legend of Santa Claus emerged – beneath a church at his birthplace in southern Turkey.

READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Snowfall Could Make For Challenging Evening Commute

St. Nicholas was born and served as a bishop of what is now the Turkish Mediterranean town of Demre, near Antalya, in the 4th century. He was buried there, but his bones were long believed to have been taken to the southern Italian town of Bari.

READ MORE: Second Suspect In Clearview Mall Parking Lot Shooting Surrenders

Cemil Karabayram, the head of Antalya’s monuments authority, told the AP Thursday that archaeologists now think that his remains may be lying in a temple below the church.

Karabayram said archaeologists were looking for a way of reaching the remains without harming the church.

MORE NEWS: Footprints In Snow Outside Of Westinghouse Academy Lead Police To Gun

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)