Efforts begin to open 1887 time capsule found under Robert E. Lee statue

Crews working to remove the pedestal where a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee stood over Richmond for more than 100 years believe they’ve found a time capsule which was buried there in 1887.

The bronze statue of Lee, which was erected in 1890, was taken down in September, more than a year after Gov. Ralph Northam ordered its removal after protests over racism and police brutality erupted across the country following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Historical preservation experts in Virginia have begun efforts to open the time capsule. Chelsea Blake, a conservator with Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources, began slowly chipping away at the capsule at around 10 a.m., news station WSLS reported.

But efforts were hampered as they encountered corrosion around the rectangular capsule, which is about the size of a large shoebox.

“It appears that the lid was placed on and then there was lead rolled over it to hold it in place and then water got in there and there was corrosion so it’s becoming a little more difficult than it would have been to get on,” said Blake, as she pressed a vibrating tool with a hard metal tip against the capsule.

The time capsule is believed to have been under Robert Lee’s statue for over 130 years.




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