Revere dating

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They filled a box with objects that were then culturally important — mostly coins, newspapers, and business cards.

Not exactly riveting stuff, but a source of pride for citizens of the newly created republic nonetheless: the lead capsule was drawn to a grand internment ceremony by a team of 15 white horses and given a 15-gun salute.

On Tuesday, conservators at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, opened the time capsule and revealed its contents to a room of excited onlookers that included Governor Deval Patrick, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, and MFA Boston Director Malcolm Rogers.

It had been 160 years since the items inside were last seen — in 1855, some well-meaning Bostonians had unearthed and cleaned the items before returning them to a sturdier brass box (and adding a few of their own).

The 10-pound capsule was then mostly forgotten until last summer, when an engineering firm trying to fix a water leak found it using radar technology.

The firm called the MFA, which enlisted the help of a local construction company to excavate the site.

When it came time to actually remove box, MFA conservator Pam Hatchfield spent seven hours delicately chiseling away around it to pry it free.

She also removed five silver coins that had been ritually sealed in the plaster in the 19th century.

Back at the MFA’s lab, X-rays showed that the capsule’s contents had survived beautifully through the years.


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