Crews say they believe they found 1887 time capsule in Lee statue pedestal

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  • Robert E. Lee
    General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States


Crews working to remove the pedestal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Va., say they found a time capsule from 1887 buried inside it.

As they worked with heavy construction equipment to remove the pedestal on Monument Avenue this week, site workers on Friday morning found the top of what they believe is the time capsule buried roughly 20 feet inside the tower portion of the pedestal, local news affiliate CBS 6 reported.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said the state's historic preservation team was examining the site and confirming the authenticity of the time capsule, a copper box appearing to contain items from 134 years ago.

Previously, researchers believed the box - which some reports say contains now-antique coins and a rare photo of Abraham Lincoln in his coffin, according to CBS 6 - was buried directly underneath the base of the statue, based on an old newspaper article.

But in September, when the Lee statue was removed, they failed to find it there, CBS 6 reported.

Library of Virginia records indicate 37 residents, organizations and businesses in the state donated 60 objects to the time capsule before burying it there, according to CBS 6.

Northam's administration said in a statement that once the site is cleared they will replace the old time capsule with a new one. The new capsule contains 39 items, including a COVID-19 vaccination card and a Black Lives Matter sticker, according to CBS 6.

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