City of David Archaeological Expedition

Carved wood fragments, burned when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C., originally were painted and probably adorned wooden furniture. So much carbonized wood and ash were found in the room where these fragments were discovered that the room was dubbed the “Burnt Room.”

Before City of David excavators found these charred fragments, laboratory tests on ocher wooden objects found in the City of David had revealed that in Jerusalem in First Temple times, craftsmen used a whole range of local trees: olive, almond, vines, terebinth, Tabor oak, evergreen oak, cypress, Jerusalem pine, poplar, acacia raddiana, tamarisk and sycamore.

However, laboratory analysis showed that these fragments were carved from the wood of boxwood trees, which don’t grow in Israel One boxwood species does grow in South Turkey and North Syria. The decorated boxwood furniture was probably imported; this glues us strong evidence of trade between Judah and Phoenicia and North Syria in the late Iron Age.