Tombs of the Kidron Valley

This watercolor sketch depicts the tombs of the Kidron Valley outside of the walls of Jerusalem. The Jews left their dead in tombs made outside the city walls.  

Tombs of the Kidron Valley
I made the sketch on location while researching a story for National Geographic (never published) about the interaction of Roman and Judaic cultures during the days of Jesus

According to the website Jerusalem 101, these tombs were present during Jesus' time: "He would have walked past them many times and constantly viewed them whenever his eyes scanned the Kidron Valley or the Mount of Olives. He even spoke about them in the Gospels, calling them “beautiful” when he addressed the religious leaders on the Temple Mount:
'Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.' - Matthew 23:27"
Sketching these rock-cut tombs helped inspire Canyon City in Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time.