City to research best way to open Gore Park time capsule

Hamilton heritage staff will research an artifact found this week to determine the best ways to examine its contents.

Hamilton artifact could bear names of soldiers killed in WWI; conservators move cautiously

City of Hamilton conservators will research an artifact found during construction this week in Gore Park to determine how to better examine or possibly open it.

The artifact, first thought to be a time capsule, could possibly be a scroll bearing the names of 1,800 soldiers who died in World War I, according to Hamilton Public Library archivist Margaret Houghton. 

Time capsules from bygone eras, including the 1920s like this one, are not uncommon, said Ian Kerr-Wilson, the city’s Heritage Resources manager.

“I’ve opened 19, 20 time capsules,” Kerr-Wilson said. “This one’s different.”

It’s unclear if the artifact would have contained paper inside of it, or if the scroll mentioned in the 1923 Hamilton Herald article could have been wrapped around the outside. 

“You’re looking at this, saying, ‘What were they trying to do?’” Kerr-Wilson said.

City conservators will next conduct historical research to look for more clues like the article Houghton found yesterday. Then the artifact will likely undergo non-destructive examination, the artifact version of an x-ray or MRI. And then there will be even more technical research should the team decide to go ahead and try to open the tube.

With all of these steps, the city’s conservators will move deliberately. It’s in their name.

“Conservators are cautious folk,” Kerr-Wilson said.

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