Second Box Found Under Gen. Lee Statue Appears to Be Real 1887 Time Capsule, Virginia Gov. Says
© AP Photo / Steve HelberA pile of rubble is all that is left after the removal of the pedestal that once held the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Ave., Thursday Dec. 23, 2021, in Richmond, Va.
© AP Photo / Steve Helber
The workers conducting the search are part of the removal team of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's statue in Richmond. The statue itself was taken down in September at the governor's order, following countrywide protests against racism and monuments associated with the Confederacy.
The conservators' crew completing the demolition of a pedestal in central Richmond, Virginia, where a statue of Robert E. Lee previously stood have discovered what seems to be a time capsule buried there more than 130 years ago.
"They found it! This is likely the time capsule everyone was looking for," Virginia Governor Ralph Northam tweeted on Monday, also providing several photos of a box being removed from the site.
The search for the original time capsule continued on Monday, with great success, because the discovery was made after a months-long search.
According to news reports from the time, the capsule was placed during a cornerstone-laying ceremony attended by a huge crowd of people in 1887. Hundreds of donated objects, including Confederate memorabilia, were described in news reports.
Later in the day, the governor shared the X-rays of the contents of the box, presumably showing the outlines of coins, buttons, books, and ammunition from the American Civil War.
Northam said that the official opening of the time capsule will take place at 1 pm local time on Tuesday, December 28.
The finding comes after the first box, appearing to be a time capsule as well, was dug up earlier this month and carefully opened earlier this week. The conservators removed artifacts such as books and an envelope with some papers, along with a silver coin, from the container. Some of the items appeared to have water damage.
According to Fox News, the time capsule was discovered inside a granite enclosure at ground level, surrounded by fill and other building debris. The copper box was discovered sitting in water after workers removed the top of the granite wall, according to the contractor workers.
Then, the time capsule was wrapped in bubble wrap and driven away from the spot for further investigation.
8 September 2021, 12:03 GMT
The statue was erected In 1890, showing the general astride a horse, and constructed on a soaring pedestal overlooking Richmond, the Confederacy's old capital. Northam ordered the monument to be demolished after the summer 2020 protest, spurred by the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis. Floyd's killing reignited debate in the US about racial injustice and prompted calls to demolish Confederate monuments across the nation.
According to reports, the statue of Lee was the only one of five massive Confederate tributes along Monument Avenue that belonged to the state. The four city-owned statues were removed in 2020, but the Lee statue was delayed by two lawsuits until a Supreme Court of Virginia order in September paved the path for its removal.
The removal of the statue is reportedly expected to be done in a few weeks.