West Point time capsule that appeared to contain nothing more than silt yields centuries-old coins

A man of almost 200 years west point The time capsule that seemed to spew little more than dust when it was opened during a disappointing live broadcast contained hidden treasure after all, the Military Academy said Wednesday.
It was just more hidden than expected.
The lead box believed to have been placed by cadets at the base of a monument actually contained six US silver coins dating from 1795 to 1828 and a commemorative medal, West Point said in a news release. It was all discovered in the sediment of the box, which at Monday’s inauguration ceremony at the New York academy appeared to be its only content.
“When I first found them, I was like, man, you know, it would have been great to have found them in the setting,” the West Point archaeologist said. Paul Hudsonwho after the event, took the box to his lab and began to carefully sift the slime with a small wooden pick and brush.
“Before, lo and behold, the edge of a coin was sticking out,” he recounted by phone, “and I thought, well, okay. That’s something, that’s a start.”
He said he was as disappointed as anyone by the disappointing results of the live unveiling, which drew comparisons to Geraldo Rivera’s 1986 televised opening of a Chicago hotel vault supposedly belonging to gangster Al Capone, which infamously revealed nothing. more than dirt. A crowd that had gathered at the Military Academy expected to see military relics or historical documents when experts opened the top and pointed a camera inside.
Still, it was probably best to mine the coins and medals in a controlled environment, he said. hudsonwho still plans to analyze the sediment for more clues as to what else might have been inside.
It appeared that moisture and perhaps sediment seeped into the case from a damaged seam. The conditions could also have broken down any organic matter inside, such as paper or wood.
What did survive were a 1795 nickel, an 1800 Liberty dollar, an 1818 quarter, 1827 dimes and 1s, and an 1828 50. There was also a commemorative medal of the Erie Canal dating from 1826.
The findings seem to confirm the theory of academy officials that the box was abandoned by cadets in 1828 or 1829, when the original monument, which honors the Revolutionary War hero, was built. Tadeo Kosciuszko, It was completed. A committee of five cadets that included 1829 graduate Robert E. Lee, the future Confederate general, participated in the dedication of the monument.
Kosciuszko had designed wartime fortifications for the Continental Army at West Point. He died in 1817. In 1913 a statue of Kosciuszko was added to the monument.
Historic preservation and time capsule analysis will continue.
“I think we can learn more from this,” Hudson said, “to learn about the history of the academy and the history of the country.”

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