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Mystery swirls around damaged 1881 time capsule

The mysterious 1881 time capsule (Pilgrim Hall Museum)

The contents of a 19th-century time capsule discovered in Plymouth, Mass. continue to be shrouded in mystery.

About the size of a lunchbox, the time capsule was placed under the granite stairs of the Coles Hill was built in 1881. A national historic landmark, Coles Hill contains the first cemetery used by the Mayflower pilgrims after their arrival in Plymouth in 1620.

“The box was discovered in 1930 during the repairs to the lower flight of solid granite steps,” said Donna Curtin, Executive Director of Plymouth’s Pilgrim Hall Museum, in an e-mail to Fox News. “They opened the box, looked at the contents, supplemented with some items from their own time, then closed, then up again and put it back under the corner of the heavy granite plate where it was found.”

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Curtin explained that, unfortunately, when the capsule was buried again, the box was placed on a porous cement base rather than just be placed back into the ground. “As the cement slowly eroded on a corner, the weight of the trap finally hit the top of the box and ripped open holes to the sides,” she said. “Now, the box can not be opened due to the condition of the cover.”

The Milford Daily News reports that a construction crew discovered the box when they were renovating the stairs last week.

“It is clear that water to get inside and certainly has a number of items to be mush,” said Curtin. “We remain hopeful that the other items remain in the box that can be restored – it is surprisingly heavy.”

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The next step for the researchers is to carefully examine the box to work out how best to open it and then as a conservator of the investigation of the content, according to Curtin. “Even if the items are badly damaged, a skilled restorer can often stabilize and the treatment of an object to recognize it,” she told Fox News. “What did the people of Plymouth in 1881, and in 1930 to share with the Americans of the future with us? Pilgrim Hall Museum hopes to discover some answers.”

However, it may take a few weeks for additional information about the mysterious time capsule is available.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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