Courtesy Gideon Avni and Zvi Greenhut

The master’s touch. A high arch carved in low relief decorates the entranceway to room C of Cave 3, the most luxurious of the three newly discovered Akeldama burial chambers. The heavy stone door (visible in the entranceway), carved with four panels, imitates a wooden door. Leading to a lavish chamber, this elegant doorway clearly was not built for mere “strangers,” as legend describes the Akeldama burial field. Instead, the doorway and chamber must have belonged to a family wealthy enough to afford the most accomplished—and expensive—stone carvers.