Crypt of Civilization – Atlanta, Georgia - Atlas Obscura

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Crypt of Civilization

Oglethorpe University

The world's first time capsule lies behind a welded steel door in Atlanta. 


The Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia, is widely considered to be the first conventional time capsule intended to be opened on a specific date in the future: May 28, 8113.

If you accept the premise that the Egyptian Calendar, created in the year 4241 B.C., marked the first fixed date in the history of man, then the year 1936, when the crypt was conceived, would represent the exact midpoint of recorded human history.

The crypt measures 20 feet by 10 feet by 10 feet, and is sealed with a stainless steel door that has been welded shut. Its contents, inventoried at the crypt’s official website, include microfilms of 800 “authoritative books on every subject of importance known to mankind” and 200 works of fiction, and many other items. 

Know Before You Go

The Crypt of Civilization is located in the basement of Phoebe Hearst Hall, behind a welded steel door. While Hearst Hall is generally unlocked for visitors the basement doors may be locked. The welded steel doors can still be seen through some of the windows in the basement doors.

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