The time capsules take advantage of our fundamental desire not to be forgotten. The first example of a time capsule in the United States is one that was buried in Boston by Paul Revere and Sam Adams in 1795. The capsule the size of a cigar box was rediscovered and opened in January 2015, revealing coins, newspapers , and a plaque that is believed to have been engraved by Revere himself. Other examples include the famous Westinghouse time capsules buried in 1939 and 1964 at world fairs in New York. Each bullet-shaped tube is approximately 2.28 m. long, 16 cm. in diameter, and are full of small objects such as money, cigarettes, toys and seeds.

 

And then there is the time capsule of the University of Oglethorpe in Atlanta, Georgia. Not content to simply bury a box or tube, Oglethorpe and his then president, Dr. Jacobs Thornwell , buried an entire room. Known as the crypt of civilization , the “capsule” was once a swimming pool and measures 6 m. long, 3 m. high and 3 m. Wide. Although its foundation was already waterproof, Jacobs had to add additional protection measures, including a thick stainless steel door that was welded in place when the room was sealed on May 28, 1940.

 

Behind that door there is a whole collection of articles destined to “fulfill our archaeological duty”, in the words of Dr. Jacobs. Among the objects: more than 640,000 pages of microfilm material, several pieces of the popular toy Lincoln Logs , Budweiser beer, dentures, male and female mannequins, aluminum foil, board games, plates, petroleum jelly, sewing materials, and a calculator.

Judging by the list and images above, the collection of the crypt is reminiscent of the typical content of a garage. But what we think is a little mundane now will undoubtedly be fascinating to anyone digging up the room in 6177 years. Yes, Dr. Jacobs decreed that the room should remain closed for more than six thousand years. But, why 6177 years exactly? Well, because the first known date recorded in history is the year 4241 BC, 6177 years before the time capsule of Oglethorpe was conceived. Dr. Jacobs suggested that his crypt should be opened after another 6177 years, which means that it will open on May 28, 8113 – assuming there is near to find and open it.

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