Leen Ritmeyer

Reconstruction drawing of the entrance to the Refuge of the Apostles, before it was enclosed and altered during the monastery’s construction. Its most striking feature is an intricately carved Roman Doric frieze. A series of diglyphs, protruding pairs of vertical lines, separate eight metopes (the areas between the diglyphs). Grape bunches decorate two of the metopes; the others contain rosettes. In similar friezes from other sites, metopes may be decorated or empty; the frieze from the Refuge of Apostles is unique among all the Herodian tombs in Jerusalem, however, because each metope is decorated differently. The archaeological remains found near the Temple Mount include metopes decorated with varying designs. Authors Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer believe that the Akeldama frieze shown here consciously imitated the contemporaneous decorative motifs of the nearby Temple Mount.