Charles Wilson

Akeldama—a century ago, as it appeared in a survey of Jerusalem by the British soldier, explorer, engineer and archaeologist Charles Wilson. The arch of the Crusader charnel house can be seen at upper left; several openings cut into the rock appear at left and bottom. The trees in the picture recall the legend that records the suicide of Judas as taking place here, perhaps by hanging himself from a tree. Mark Twain complained of the surfeit of historical sights in the area: “The guide began to give name and history to every bank and boulder we came to: ‘This was the Field of Blood … yonder is the Zion Gate; the Tyropean valley; the hill of Ophel. … ’ It is a very relief to steal a walk of a hundred yards without a guide along to talk unceasingly about every stone you step upon and drag you back ages and ages to the day when it achieved celebrity.”