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ACELDAMA (R. V., Akeldama, = "Field of Blood"):

An ancient ossuary on the southern extremity of Jerusalem, near the ravine of Hinnom. The field once contained rich clay deposits which were worked by potters. A red clay is still dug in its neighborhood. The "potter's house" mentioned in Jer. xviii. 1-6 is thought to have stood there; not far from it was the gate Ḥarsit and "the valley of the son of Hinnom" (see Jer. xix. 2). Later it was used as a cemetery for non-Jews. Christian tradition connects it with the death of Judas Iscariot, who is supposed to have bought it, or agreed to buy it, with the money he received for betraying Jesus (Matt. xxvii. 6-8; Acts, i. 19). The Aceldama (Hakl-ed-damm) of to-day presents a large, square sepulcher, of which the southern half is excavated in the rock, the remainder being built of massive masonry. In the center stands a huge pillar, constructed partly of rough blocks and partly of polished stones. The floor is covered with moldering bones, this repository having been in use as late as the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Much of its clay was taken away by Empress Helena and other prominentChristians, for sarcophagi. There may be some connection in name between Aceldama and (I Sam. xvii. 1), which is translated in Yer. Sanh. ii. 20b, Ruth R. iv. (on ii. 3) ii. 9, Midr. Sam. xx. by .

Bibliography:
  • Sepp, Jerusalem und das Heilige Land, i. 297;
  • Ency. Bibl. s.v.;
  • C. Schick, in Pal. Explor. Fund Quart. Statement, 1892, pp. 283-289;
  • H. Melander, in Zeit. Deutsch. Paläst. Ver. xvii. 25-35.
M. B.
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