The Crypt of Civilization was filled and sealed between 1937 and 1940 in metro Atlanta, at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, Georgia. Various items from the past have been placed in the 2,000-cubic-foot vault, and will remain there for thousands of years before light peeks into the crypt again.


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In the 1920’s, many Egyptian pyramids were being excavated, and gave us a look into ancient times. This inspired the crypt to be created within the Phoebe Hearst Memorial Hall at the Oglethorpe campus. Formerly a swimming pool, the Crypt of Civilization is surrounded by solid granite and is 20 feet long, 10 feet high and 10 feet wide.

Only the welded shut steel door can be viewed, as the time capsule itself will remain sealed until year 8113 AD. Artifacts are protected within stainless steel, glass lined containers, filled with a gas to stop degradation. Pictures along the walls explain items inside, which include all kinds of things from a bible, an original Gone with the Wind script, seeds, dental floss, a toaster, toys, Atlanta Journal newspaper steel plates from World War II issues, and voice recordings from negative and positive public figures from Hitler to Franklin Roosevelt.

Fifty years after being closed, the Guinness Book of World Records dubbed the crypt as the “first successful attempt to bury a record of this culture for any future inhabitants or visitors to the planet Earth.” With the extensive list of items inside, future inhabitants are in for a historical treat.

The crypt is visited often, sometimes being featured in news outlets. The university is the perfect location for the basement vault, and it’s definitely worth a visit.

Oglethorpe University/ The Crypt of Civilization

Official Website

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