Accessibility links

Breaking News

Time Capsules Discovered in Christchurch Rubble

Smoke rises from the collapsed CTV building, that housed a TV broadcaster and an English language school, following Tuesday's earthquake in the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch (File Photo - February 23, 2011)

Officials in Christchurch, New Zealand, are hailing the discovery of two artifacts in the ruins of last week's earthquake as symbols of hope amid the death and destruction.

A crane operator discovered what appear to be two time capsules Tuesday morning in the base of a toppled statue of the city's founder, Irishman John Robert Godley. One is a bottle containing a rolled up, hand-written parchment and the other is a still-sealed metal container. Both have been taken to a museum where they will be opened under controlled conditions.

Officials say the artifacts likely were placed under the statue when it was first erected in 1867. Mayor Bob Parker told reporters he believes the city's founders may have recorded their hopes and aspirations for the future of Christchurch on the parchment, on which the words "by" and "erected" can be seen through the bottle.

Parker said he has told his staff to make a priority of restoring and replacing the statue of Godley to stand as a symbol of Christchurch's resilience and commitment to rebuild. Large parts of the city's central business district collapsed in the quake, which so far has left 154 people dead and almost 100 missing.