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85-year-old message in a bottle found inside New Zealand monument

A message in a bottle was found inside the concrete poured in 1937 for the Citizens' War Memorial in Christchurch, New Zealand. The message listed the names of the stonemasons who originally constructed the monument. Photo courtesy of the Christchurch City Council
A message in a bottle was found inside the concrete poured in 1937 for the Citizens' War Memorial in Christchurch, New Zealand. The message listed the names of the stonemasons who originally constructed the monument. Photo courtesy of the Christchurch City Council

Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Officials in Christchurch, New Zealand, said a crew demolishing an old monument made an unusual discovery: a message in a bottle from the original stonemason team.

The Christchurch City Council said the crew working to dismantle the Citizens' War Memorial found the glass bottle when they cracked the concrete in exactly the right spot to reveal the hidden object.

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"It was a fluke discovery," Brent Smith, the council's head of vertical capital delivery, said in a news release. "The contractor was working on dismantling the concrete core of the memorial when a big chunk of concrete broke off, revealing the glass bottle. If the concrete had not broken in that exact spot, we would never have found it."

The damaged note inside the bottle was dated February 1937 and contained a list of names of the stonemasons who originally constructed the monument.

"The note is a bit worse for wear but it is an amazing link to the past that could easily have laid undiscovered," Smith said.

The mason team that deconstructed the memorial to transport it to its new home in Cathedral Square said the discovery was meaningful to them.

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"This discovery is a reminder of the rich history and tradition we're helping to preserve. It is humbling to be working on such an important memorial," said Goldfield Stone stonemason Regan Shanks.

Smith said officials are planning to include a photo of the original note in a time capsule to be buried at the memorial's new site.

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