A statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee, which was once located in Charlottesville, Virginia, was first removed in July, before receiving approval earlier this month to be melted down. The leftover material will be reused to create a public arts project.
Last week, workers at the site dismantling the work had chanced upon an initial time capsule below the pedestal, but were disappointed to find only soggy documents and envelopes.
However, this week, workers have uncovered yet another time capsule, which they believe could be the one to contain interesting artifacts from the past, as per the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
According to , historians thought it contained about 60 artifacts from the Confederacy era, including one of the strangest relics—a 1865 edition of Harper’s Weekly magazine with a photo of someone weeping over President Abraham Lincoln’s grave.
It’s believed that the Confederates would’ve placed such an item in the capsule as they were supportive of slavery, which Lincoln was vehemently against. Dale Brumfield, an author and historian who has studied the capsule’s history, said that such an image “was one more way for the South to spite the Union and carry on the idea of the Lost Cause.”
Conservationists from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) struggled to open the box, which was water-logged and its items expanded over time. It was made of copper, weighed 36 pounds, and measured 13.5 inches by 13.5 inches by 7.5 inches.
During the opening event, which was livestreamed (video below), other items found included a Richmond directory, a Bible, newspapers, books, coins, and a minié ball, a type of bullet used during the time period.
Kate Ridgeway, Virginia’s Archaeological Conservator said the capsule was a “little more wet than we had hoped for,” and the team would spend the next few weeks working on preserving the relics found. The team thinks that this capsule had been the correct one buried in 1887, whereas the previous box found was probably left by workers back then.
“It is a second time capsule and likely the one that was known to have been placed in the pedestal. The one recovered last week was unexpected and likely left by men involved in the construction,” said DHR director, Julie Langan.