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Boy in Iron Coffin Identified

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Boy in Iron Coffin Identified

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Boy in Iron Coffin Identified

Boy in Iron Coffin Identified

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Smithsonian scientists conclude that the body in a cast-iron coffin discovered by utility workers in Washington, D.C. two years ago is that of 15-year-old William Taylor White, who died in 1852, most likely from heart disease. He was buried in the Columbia College cemetery. Researchers believe the coffin was inadvertently left behind when the cemetery was later moved. White, from Accomack, Va., was a descendant of Anthony West, one of the Jamestown settlers, researchers say. He was a student in the preparatory school of the college, which later became George Washington University. A DNA test matched the boy with a living relative: a convenience store night clerk living in Lancaster, Penn.

Iron Coffin Is Unexpected Time Capsule

Iron Coffin Is Unexpected Time Capsule

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An iron casket that remained sealed for over 100 years has been opened by researchers at the Smithsonian Institution.

The well-preserved body offers clues to life in an era that has long passed. Scientists will try to read those clues before returning the body to the ground with a proper burial.

Examining the body. Credit: Ken Rahaim.

Scientists at the Smithsonian Institution examine the remains of a 19th century individual. Ken Rahaim/Smithsonian Institution hide caption

toggle caption Ken Rahaim/Smithsonian Institution

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