Glass jar of documents, cannonball among “time capsule” findings one year after John C. Calhoun statue was removed from Marion Square

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Among the items revealed by archeologists and City of Charleston officials contained in the “time capsule” or cornerstone included a cannonball, canvas banner believed to have been a part of Calhoun’s funeral procession, and a hand-blown glass jar containing historical documents, money and other paperwork from Calhoun’s era.

Archeologists from Brockington and Associates, Inc. have spent months working to carefully open, clean and preserve the artifacts found inside the “time capsule.”

Crews have been unable to remove the canvas banner from it’s tin container due to concerns of damaging it. The glass jar is sealed shut with a plaster material. The cannonball was cleaned and painted by the archeologists.

The archeologists say the glass jar likely contains Calhoun’s last speech on the Senate floor, continental money, news paper clippings and other historical documents. The documents were preserved and are likely to be in mint condition from the jar. Officials say they will work to remove the documents but say it could be a lengthy process to ensure the documents can be preserved.

A large question many are focused on is where the remaining portion of the statue and artifacts will be relocated to. South Carolina State Museum officials say they are in talks with the City of Charleston about potentially acquiring the contents. Officials say the talks are early though and have no time frame for any action.

It has been one year since a controversial monument was removed from Marion Square in downtown Charleston.

The process to remove the John C. Calhoun monument – which once towered over the park – began in late June 2020 only hours after Charleston City Council unanimously voted in favor of its deconstruction.

It was a decision that came shortly after protests and a riot erupted in downtown Charleston over racial inequality following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg promised the city would be “very careful about respecting history” and that an advisory task force would assist in deciding an appropriate home for the statue.

One year later, a permanent location for that statue has still not been announced. Members of the Charleston Museum’s executive committee voted in July 2020 not to accept the statue.

But as work continued in removing all traces of the monument from Marion Square, crews tasked with its removal discovered a long-rumored “time capsule,” or cornerstone that has a number of items inside like a cannonball, a case containing a banner, and other objects.

Archeologists who have been working to recover and restore the items since February are now expected to present and answer questions about their findings on Thursday – marking one year since the statue’s removal.

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