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Experts open time capsule found embedded in statue of Robert E. Lee

Lee Statue Time Capsule historians
Posted at 2:54 PM, Dec 28, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. — Conservation experts in Virginia's capital have pulled books, money, ammunition, documents and other artifacts from a time capsule found in the remnants of a pedestal that once held a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The lead conservator for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources said the measurements and material of the copper box, match historical accounts.

A newspaper from 1887 suggested that the capsule contained dozens of objects, civil war memorabilia, and a picture of Lincoln lying in a coffin.

Tuesday's reveal marks the end of a weeks-long search for the capsule, which was embedded in the pedestal of the statue of Lee. Earlier this year, the statue was removed following a prolonged legal battle and amid the nation's ongoing reckoning with its racist past.

Last week, state conservators spent five hours delicately prying open a separate box found in the tower portion of the pedestal days that they initially hoped was the 1887 time capsule. What they found instead was an edition of "The Huguenot Lovers: A Tale of the Old Dominion," a cloth envelope, a silver coin and a rust-colored 1875 almanac, the Associated Press reported.

Historian Dale Brumfield believed the box found on Dec. 17 was less of a time capsule and more of a personal commemorative collection for the men behind the statue's construction.