Construction workers repairing a leaky water pipe at a corner of the Massachusetts State House have unearthed a time capsule that is dated to have been buried in 1795 by patriots Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. The time capsule was buried over two centuries ago by the patriots at a corner of the MSH when construction started on the building in 1795.
A time capsule is a container for preserving historical records to be discovered as some future time – and now it has been discovered for the second time in 2014 after its first discovery and reburial in 1855. A local expert from the Museum of Fine Arts painstakingly chipped away at the cornerstone where the time capsule was buried in order to unearth it without doing harm to it.
“What we know the box contains, based on the notes that we have, is a Paul Revere plate, papers, and coins from the 1600s,” said William Galvin, Massachusetts Secretary of State and head of the state’s historical commission. “It may contain other stuff too, we don’t know that yet.”
He said his commission will reveal the preserved contents of the time capsule to the public after it has been thoroughly examined and x-rayed by museum staff. “The contents are of concern, but the plaster that held the box in place is in good condition,” Galvin said.
Since the time capsule was accidently discovered and unearthed in 1855 during an emergency repairs to the State House, it was reburied back at the cornerstone after the handlers took extra care to ensure that it was properly secured.
“There were some coins that were tossed in the 1855 ceremony in the mix of the mortar. They are in good condition so we are optimistic that the box itself has withstood the test of time and that it will therefore be holding the contents securely,” Galvin said.
Since the 1795 and 1855 time-capsule concealment events were properly documented, Galvin states that his office is considering whether to add some items of current value and rebury the container – but this will be announced in due course.