Posted by Ahem on October 05, 2001 at 21:50:35:
Mystery 200-Year-Old Box Found Under Street
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Workmen excavating a site in Dublin have dug up a mysterious stone and metal box archaeologists believe is a "time capsule" buried 200 years ago.
The sealed container, which experts hope may be opened next week, was discovered at a central Dublin site where a monument to English naval hero Horatio Nelson once stood.
Pat Wallace, director of Ireland's national museum, said the box -- measuring around two-and-a-half feet (75 cm) by one-and-a-half feet (45cm) -- probably contained artifacts of the era such as coins and newspapers.
"It's very exciting to find something that was historically tucked away," he told Reuters. "The question is, though, will the contents have survived?"
Museum archaeologists were currently cleaning the outside of the box in order to read an inscription on the casing, and would take X-rays before attempting to open it, he said.
The container was found as work began on the belated erection of a 120-meter (394 feet) stainless steel spike -- intended to mark the new millennium but delayed after concerns about its environmental impact.
The original monument on the site, Nelson's Pillar, was erected in 1808 but blown up by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 1966.
Wallace said the box was probably intended to remain buried for 1,000 years.
"The idea has always been there, with historical buildings, to put something away for the future, but how could these people have known the statue would be blown up?"