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RICHMOND, Va. – Conservators on Tuesday unveiled the contents of a 36-pound copper time capsule found in an alcove at the pedestal of a statue of Robert E. Lee as crews deconstructed the monument in Richmond.

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Officials said the box appeared to have been placed on Oct. 27, 1887. About 40 people, businesses and organizations contributed items for the time capsule, most of which were believed to have been related to the Confederacy.

Newspaper accounts from the time indicated that the box might also have contained a rare photograph of President Abraham Lincoln in his coffin, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. If found, the image would have been only the second known photo to exist of the president after his death, according to the newspaper. However, conservators instead found a spread published in 1865 by Harper’s Weekly showing a woman mourning at Lincoln’s casket, according to The Washington Post.

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Kate Ridgway, archaeological conservator for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, cut open the box Tuesday afternoon in front of television cameras. She said it had been found in a pool of water, raising concerns that liquid might have gotten inside, though overall she said it looked like it was “in good condition.”

“We thought everything would be soup, and it’s not soup, so that’s great,” she said, according to the Post.

Other items found in the box include coins, buttons, letters, books, a fragment of a shell from the Battle of Fredericksburg and a Confederate battle flag carved into wood from a tree that previously grew over Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s grave, WTTG, the Times-Dispatch and the Post reported.

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Conservators used Teflon spatulas to pry apart papers which had gotten soggy since being put in the box, according to the Post. Items recovered from the box appeared to match those listed in a story published by the Richmond Dispatch in October 1887, the Times-Dispatch reported.

“We’re honestly not sure what we have here yet,” Ridgway said Tuesday, according to the newspaper.

Plans for the items were not immediately clear Tuesday. The Times-Dispatch reported that in the short term, the items will be kept to dry in the Department of Historic Resources’ lab.

Officials in Richmond removed the Lee statue from Monument Avenue in September. At the time, it was the largest Confederate monument in the United States.

On Tuesday, Ridgeway said the items recovered from the box were likely not intended to ever be seen again, meaning that it wasn’t technically a time capsule.

“Calling it a ‘cornerstone box’ is more accurate,” she said, according to the Post.