A 1500's-era Catholic cathedral under restoration in Mexico City has been home to several small time capsules secretly placed within its walls over the last 200 years. Mexico City’s Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral announced last week that they found 23 small lead boxes that perfectly preserved religious inscriptions, tiny paintings and hand-made crosses made from wood or palm leaves. From the locations where the mint box-sized capsules were found, the National Institute of Anthropology and History said they may have been an offering asking for divine protection for the cathedral or the city. One inscription read, "all are for the protection from the storms."
The time capsules were found in niches carved into walls of the cathedral's lantern and covered with panels of clay and plaster. One box found in a hollow stone ball on top of the 200-foot tall bell tower celebrated that structure's completion on May 14, 1791. Another handwritten note from 1810 detailed how a group of painters and masons found the boxes, then asked future finders to "pray for their souls" before returning the capsules to their hiding spot.
The cathedral was built between 1573 and 1813. Historians said the massive building took so long to complete because it was continually sinking into the city's soft subsoil. The cathedral, the largest in the Americas, was built atop Aztec ruins which was common practice at the time. Historians say they will catalog the time capsules' original contents, add a few modern relics and reseal the capsules into the cathedral walls.