98 PICTURESQUE PALESTINE.
there is an inscription in Hebrew, connecting the tomb with the familv of R^; o .
y l Dtni-Hezir, and the
whole is supposed to date from the second or first century b.c The Tomb of 7 -
excavated in the same manner as the Tomb of Absalom. It is about eio-htppn r< • .
^utten teet six inches
square, and has on each face two whole and two half engaged Ionic columns T1
are surmounted by a cornice of purely Assyrian type, but the form of the volut
uies, and the
egg and dart moulding beneath, show that it was ornamented after the influence of R
art had been felt in Palestine. Above the cornice rises a pyramid also cut out of 1
There is no visible entrance to the Tomb of Zechariah, but the base is hidden bv rul 1' 1
the door may possibly be concealed.
Above these tombs, some distance up the slope of the Mount of Olives is
sepulchral excavation in the soft chalk called the " Tombs of the Prophets." The entr
by a hole in the ground, which gives access to a circular chamber having a round hole in th *
roof, probably intended to admit light. Three passages connected by two semicircular
galleries run off from the chamber, and there are a few smaller passages which lead tochaml
containing two or three kokim each. Mons. Ganneau, whilst examining this curious crvot
was fortunate enough to discover, under the stucco which covers the walls, a dozen or so
Greek Christian inscriptions. The greater part are proper names. With the patronymic
twice occurs the formula, " here lies," and " courage, no one is immortal." This crypt probably
served as a cemetery to some one of the numerous monasteries founded quite early on the
Mount of Olives. In the Kedron Valley, about half a mile below Bir Eyub, there is a
remarkable tomb consisting of a vestibule, an antechamber, three tomb chambers with kokim,
and a fourth apparently unfinished.
The next extensive group of tombs is that in the lower part of the Valley of Hinnom.
Many of these are highly interesting from the fact that they have been made or modified at a
later elate than those on the north side of the city. Some of the roofs are dome-shaped and
ornamented, and near the lower end of the series there are two recessed half domes cut in
the rock, with stone benches running round them. Most of the entrances seem to have been
closed by a stone door which turned on a socket hinge, and was fastened by bolts on the
inside. Leaving the bed of the valley a little above Bir Eyub, and ascending by some rock-
hewn steps, the first tomb worthy of notice is that called the " Apostles' Cave," from the
tradition that eight of the twelve Apostles concealed themselves in it after the betrayal in
the Garden of Gethsemane (see page 114). Over the entrance is a frieze, ornamented with
bunches of grapes, &c, in the same style as the fa$ade of the Tombs of the Kings. A little
further on is the building known as " Aceldama" (see page no). It consists of a
pointed arch, covering a deep chamber, one side of which is composed of rock with maso
buttresses, the other of masonry. At the bottom are two caves or sepulchral chambers, *
kokim and traces of steps which at one time must have led to the bottom. This is suppo.
to be the " potter's field," or " field of blood," which the chief priests bought with the M thirl
pieces of silver," the price of our Lord's betrayal. It may not be without interest to