Cannonball, tin containers removed from Calhoun Monument time capsule

Cannonball, tin containers removed from Calhoun Monument time capsule
Archeologists pulled items from the cornerstone's niche, including a cannonball and tin containers believed to contain papers and a lock of John C. Calhoun's hair. (Source: Pool Video)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Archeologists have pulled four items from a time capsule that lay buried at the base of the former monument to John C. Calhoun.

The items include what remains of a cannonball believed to have come from the Battle of Sullivan’s Island and three tin containers.

The smallest of the containers may contain a lock of hair from Calhoun himself.

Archeologists pulled four items, including a deteriorated cannonball believed to have come from the Battle of Sullivan's Island and three tin containers, one of which might contain a lock of John C. Calhoun's hair.
Archeologists pulled four items, including a deteriorated cannonball believed to have come from the Battle of Sullivan's Island and three tin containers, one of which might contain a lock of John C. Calhoun's hair. (Source: Pool Video)

But archeologists said the largest of the tin containers appeared to be soldered shut. Rust stains and corrosion, believed to have come from the cannonball, may also make opening the tin containers a challenge.

The next step would be to carefully determine the safest way to cut through the soldering and corrosion to open the containers without causing damage the contents inside. Until that happens, there is no way to know the condition of the contents.

An engraved limestone slab was placed face down to seal the cornerstone.
An engraved limestone slab was placed face down to seal the cornerstone. (Source: Pool Video)

Crews made the long-awaited discovery on Jan. 23 as they continued the cleanup of the area where the monument to the former statesman stood for 124 years.

Historians say the capsule was originally buried in 1858, eight years after Calhoun died. But it was moved twice, ending up in its final resting place at the base of the statue.

Experts expected the time capsule to contain a variety items that could include an iron cannonball, various tin boxes that contain paper and a lock of Calhoun’s hair. There may also be textiles and a banner carried in Calhoun’s funeral procession.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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