This Locked Crypt Holds Civilization's Artifacts and Won't Be Opened For 6,097 Years

Locked and sealed airtightly in Georgia's Oglethorpe University is a time capsule crypt containing some of the 1940s iconic treasures. It won’t be opened until 8113, but here’s a glimpse of it.

A Good Idea Gets Stolen

The 1940s Time Capsule of Oglethrorpe University has been controversial. They were said to have gotten the idea from Thornwell Jacobs, president of the Oglethorpe University. Jacobs was known to be the father of modern time capsule as he originally thought of the idea and actually drafted his plans way back 1937  and had  began drafting his plans for the time capsule crypt in 1937, a full two years before Westinghouse Time Capsules copied his idea at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

The Westinghouse Time Capsule

Westinghouse was credited with manufacturing the very first time capsule. With the US National Bureau of Standards inspection, these late 1930s items were determined to last 5000 years in the time capsule: a kewpie doll, a Lilly Dache hat, a few copies of Life magazine, a pack of cigarettes, a dictionary, an almanac and more. These were what researchers thought narrated life in the 20th Century.

A Crypt Modeled After King Tut's Tomb

The tomb of King Tut was Jacob’s inspiration for the time capsule in the 1920s (the time when explorers uncovered the tomb). He believed that he could think of a better way preserving the feeling of an era than how the ancient civilizations did it.

Working The Egyptian Calendar

Jacob wanted the crypt to be sealed for 6000 years and labelled 8113 as its opening date. After all, it was 4241 BC when the Egyptian calendar was created and he was sealing the crypt 6177 years after it. As complicated as this may sound, if the crypt is opened in 8113, the time of sealing of Jacob’s crypt would be the exact midpoint of human history.

Converting The Swimming Pool

The actual size of the crypt was 20 feet (length) by 10 feet (width) by 10 feet (height). It is almost the size of a swimming pool and that's because the room housing the crypt was, in fact, once a swimming pool in the university. But they used enamel plates embedded in pitch for its walls.

Making The Room Air Tight

Several factors were considered for the sealing of the crypt. In order to make the room airtight, they replaced the air in the room with inert gases. The stainless steel door was also welded shut. These measures ensured all the delicate items will be preserved for a long time.

Packing The Contents Of The Crypt

While the 1939 time capsule was in itself amazing, what really makes it special is the entire volume of the Oglethorpe University crypt, as well as is its connection to the rituals of Ancient Egypt. The crypt encloses some of the most important relics in the world. It also bears 640,000 pages of written materials -- from the Koran to Gone with the Wind’s screenplay.

Weird Items In The Crypt

Some useful items and peculiar things were placed inside the crypt, e.g. a device made to teach the openers of the crypt how to read English (in case the language is gone by 8113), some fake eyelashes, a breast form, women’s stockings, a cigarette holder, fake fingernails, manikins and Donald Duck.

Contemplating The Future

Photographs, dentures and models of jewelry were some of the items sealed in the crypt. Jacobs decided not to include real jewelries to avoid thieves from breaking into the crypt. You can visit the university website if you want to read the full list of the crypt’s inventory. You can’t obviously get inside the crypt when you try to visit, which will leave you thinking just what life will become 6,000 years from now.

The Crypt Legacy

The entrance of the crypt has a plaque on top which best state the crypt’s purpose:

“This Crypt contains memorials of the civilization which existed in the United States and the world at large during the first half of the twentieth century… No jewels or precious metals are included. We depend upon the laws of the county of DeKalb, the State of Georgia, and the government of the United States and their heirs, assigns, and successors, and upon the sense of sportsmanship of posterity for the continued preservation of this vault until the year 8113 … Until that time we beg of all persons that this door and the contents of the crypt within may remain inviolate.”


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