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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A Civil War-era time capsule, hidden under Lee since 1887. Maybe.

For nearly four years, there has been talk in Richmond, VA that a time capsule from 1887—rumored to contain a rare picture of Abraham Lincoln in his coffin—was hidden beneath a colossal statue of Robert E. Lee.

After a failed attempt to find the time capsule in September, when the statue was taken down, historians are almost certain they discovered it on a Friday. They are less certain about how to recover the artifacts from the 1,500-pound block of granite.

Julie Langen, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, said the agency’s conservation laboratory was used to handling pottery or small pieces of bone or glass, but it had never had to handle this type of rock.

“Bringing it into the building and bringing it to the conservation lab and setting it up wasn’t difficult, but it just sits there,” Ms Langen said. “And it’s not like you can pick it up and move it easily, so that’s the dilemma.”

Patrons may not move the jackhammer or sledgehammer to the slab at all. If they do, they could, according to historical records, damage a 134-year-old time capsule that may or may not have been embedded inside or in its contents, an estimated 60 objects, mostly from the Americas. belong to the federal states.

Ann Morton, owner and principal of Morton Archaeological Research Services in Macedon, NY, said that even a massive granite rock like Richmond must have some kind of access mechanism, because the people building it must have a way to keep it in place. in the rock.

He noted that the time capsules of the Civil War were relatively normal, as it was a period of major social and political upheaval. “The time capsules were part of creating a memory and making that memory permanent by putting something important in the ground and hoping that future generations would see that material,” Dr Morton said.

Time capsules have reportedly been found in Confederate statues in Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas. In July 2020, the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources opened a time capsule that had been buried in a Confederate monument from 1894.

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Journalist and author Dale M. Broomfield, writing in Richmond Magazine in December 2017, described finding references to the Richmond Time Capsule in historical records, including suggestions that it may contain a picture of Lincoln in his coffin.

Believing that the capsule was embedded in the northeast corner of the pedestal, state officials gathered journalists and conservationists one day in September. After about 12 hours the search was called off, the mystery of the time capsule persisted.

That changed on Friday, when a team was taking apart the 40-foot-high plinth on which the statue rests. They were chiseled down to the granite slab, which has a lead rectangle on one side. According to the office of Governor Ralph S. Northam, it was discovered at a height of about 20 feet and was not substantially damaged.

In a small procession down Monument Avenue, a forklift carried the granite slab to the conservation laboratory.

Ms Langen said all indications suggest the lead rectangle was a part of the lead box containing the time capsule, although it is too early to say with 100 percent certainty. She said the lead box may have contained a time capsule, which is described in historical records as a copper box.

“You can tap on the lead face plate, so to speak, and you can tell there’s a hollow void under it,” Ms Langen said.

Ms Langen said that once the granite slab has been halved at least, it will be put through an X-ray machine to determine the orientation of the box and where its lid is. “It’s going to be a delicate process to access that and then open it without any damage,” she said.

But first, they have to wrestle with granite.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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