The Cornwall AONB Time Capsule Project

Time Capsule contents

Time Capsule contents

As the deadline of the recent opening of the Temple to Higher Carblake A30 highway improvements loomed, we were busy working behind the scenes with the pupils of Cardinham Primary School and Kier Construction to complete a time capsule project. The capsule has been buried alongside the A30 dual carriageway and is not due to be opened until 2117 – a hundred years from now!

With all the major civil construction taking place in such close proximity to the Bodmin Moor section of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty it made sense to take advantage of the support Kier Construction had offered and work with the pupils of Cardinham Primary School to bury a time capsule underground alongside the A30. The children were all very excited at the thought of burying their chosen items in a lead capsule to be dug up in 100 years’ time.

A time capsule is anything that encapsulates time – think Tutankhamen’s Tomb or the Great Pyramid but on a miniscule scale. It is a way of capturing time in a container filled with items of interest from the present day for others to find far into the future and gain an understanding of what life was like in another time.

The International Time Capsule Society (ITCS) estimates that there are currently between 10,000 to 15,000 time capsules sealed and buried worldwide. Our time capsule was made of lead much the same as the Romans would have used and it was sealed airtight by the kind assistance of Peter Scholey from ‘Just Lead’ in Wadebridge who have been involved in a wide variety of heritage restoration projects.


Bodmin Moor forms one of the twelve local sections of the Cornwall AONB and in itself has amazing historical significance. Ten thousand years ago during the Mesolithic period, Bodmin Moor was heavily wooded and hunter gatherers would have roamed the area. From about 4,500 to 2,300 BC people began clearing trees, farming the land and building various megalithic monuments such as long cairns and stone circles. During the Bronze Age the creation of monuments dramatically increased with a further 300 cairns, more stone circles and stone rows and more than 200 Bronze Age settlements have been recorded.

Our time capsule has captured a very different period and lifestyle in 2017 and we can only guess what life will be like in 2117?

Our thanks go to the pupils of Cardinham Primary School, Kier Construction and ‘Just Lead’ for their help and support on this project.