Virginia workers unearthed a second time capsule at the Robert E. Lee statue site

Virginia officials believe they’ve found a 19th century time capsule long rumored to be at the former site of a Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond.

This time, they think it’s the one they were looking for.

Last week, preservation experts meticulously opened a box they believed to be a chest left in the plot in 1887, but the contents weren’t what they were expecting.

It now appears they may have had the wrong one, and a new find at the site could be what authorities had been seeking all along.

“They found it! This is likely the time capsule everyone was looking for,” Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted Monday. He included three photos of what appeared to be a square, reddish box caked in dirt.

Northam said conservators were studying the chest but that it wouldn’t be opened Monday.

Historians had been looking for a copper box with as many as 60 objects placed there by a group of residents, organizations and businesses, according to an 1887 article in the Richmond Dispatch. Many of the artifacts placed inside were pieces of Confederate memorabilia, according to the article.

The container they opened last week was made of lead and contained just a fraction of the contents they thought they’d find. Among the contents were several books, a cloth envelope and a coin.

The Lee statue was removed in September and the governor ordered the pedestal removed earlier this month.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit