A time capsule from 1887 was opened Wednesday in Virginia, revealing relics of a bygone era.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) was present for the opening of the capsule in Richmond after preservation experts spent several hours carefully chiseling open the shoebox sized capsule. Determining exactly what was inside, however, will still take time.
Three books, an envelope and a coin were all found in the capsule, but preservation experts said it will take time to clean and catalog the material. Hidden underground for more than 130 years, the books are wet and have pages stuck together. One of the books is a farmer’s almanac from 1875.
“It will take some time, a few hours, a couple days, maybe longer, to catalog what’s here,” Northam said after the capsule was opened.
The capsule was buried under a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The 12-ton statue of the losing side’s most famous general was erected in 1890 and removed for good in September following racial justice protests throughout the country.
Workers who removed the statue initially called off the search for the time capsule, which was buried just under the base of the statue.
“After a couple of long hard days, it’s clear the time capsule won’t be found ― and Virginia is done with lost causes,” Grant Neely, Northam’s chief communications officer, said in a statement at the time.
But last Friday, crews removing the pedestal the statue once stood on discovered the square box embedded in a 2,000 pound granite block, The Associated Press reported. The box was removed from the granite on Tuesday.
Though the content of the newly discovered books is unknown, a newspaper article from 1887 suggested the capsule may contain Civil War memorabilia and a “picture of Lincoln lying in his coffin,” according to ABC News.