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Archaeology & History

Historians stumped by contents of historic 1820s time capsule

By T.K. Randall
August 29, 2023 · Comment icon 14 comments



Image Credit: YouTube / West Point - The U.S. Military Academy
There had been much intrigue and excitement about what would be found inside the lead box buried 200 years ago.
Discovered at the base of the Thaddeus Kosciuszko monument during excavation works on the grounds of the West Point US military academy, the mysterious lead box was set to be opened at a prestigious live ceremony during which its contents were to be revealed to the public.

The event, which took place at the Robinson Auditorium at Thayer Hall and which was attended by several high-ranking military officials and academics, was live-streamed online with thousands tuning in to find out for themselves what was inside.

Once the lid was opened, however, there was a surprise in store.
The box was empty.

"The box didn't quite meet expectations," said West Point archaeologist Paul Hudson.

"We don't want to think that they went to all that trouble to put this box in the monument and not put anything in it. What we're going to do is collect all the silt, and at a later point we will screen it to see if we can find any remains."

You can watch the entire event (and its riveting conclusion) in the video below.



Source: Forces.net | Comments (14)




Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Abramelin 28 days ago
Thanks. Your reply saves me from having to watch the video.
Comment icon #6 Posted by fred_mc 28 days ago
So, people had humour 200 years ago as well :-) .
Comment icon #7 Posted by Stiff 27 days ago
I was expecting a cat.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Skulduggery 27 days ago
I'm guessing it was to prank a future generation. Someone was probably chuckling as they farted in it and sealed it up.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Hammerclaw 27 days ago
Someone helped themselves to the items, then sealed or resealed the capsule before it was buried.
Comment icon #10 Posted by jmccr8 27 days ago
Who knows maybe it was a canned hot air speach by some general that has now been lost because it escaped when improperly opened.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Chaldon 26 days ago
If it's not a joke and not a clever philosophical feat, then the message may be too small to be seen. Did they look well enough? It may be some microscopic engraving, the methods of the time already allowed such things to be done by some watchmakers. Or it contained spores of a deadly bacteria?
Comment icon #12 Posted by qxcontinuum 25 days ago
Probably whatever was insight was stolen in the past and box was sealed and re burried.
Comment icon #13 Posted by susieice 25 days ago
Something was in the box after all. West Point time capsule: Coins and medal found in mysterious box - BBC News Yet further examination and a careful sift through the silt revealed a medal and six very old coins. † The coins were minted in years ranging from 1795 to 1828. with values ranging from one cent up to one dollar. The box also contained a medal that celebrates the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825. The canal was built in eight years and connected the Hudson River in New York to the Great Lakes. † After the anti-climax of the event, West Point archeologist Paul Hudson used a wooden ... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by NCC1701 24 days ago
A great find after all. This will keep archaeologists busy for a long time to come.


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