In 2008, it was disclosed by various news channels that a team of archaeologists had made a mystifying discovery at a digging site in a sealed tomb belonging to the Ming Dynasty in Southern China. While one of the coffins was being cleared of earth before opening it, archaeologists came over a peculiar aspect – a stone fell off and struck the ground with a hard, metallic sound. When they picked up the object, they determined it was a ring. But only after the soil removal and further examination did they shockingly see it was a watch.
The peculiar metallic object was presumed to be a small sized golden ring that had a two millimeters thick watch face, but the most astounding of it all was that it was said to have the word “Swiss” on its back.
“Swiss Made” is the phrase used in modern decades to indicate that the watch originates in Switzerland. But still, how can it be that a grave dating to the Ming Dynasty that had been sealed for 400 years came to bear an artifact that could only have been conceived after establishing Switzerland’s present state, after 1848? (it was known before as The Old Swiss Confederacy)
Was it possible for such an artifact to be so out of time and place?
OOPArts are “out-of-place-artifacts,” a description of one-of-a-kind and not so much understood objects from the archaeological world which fall into the ‘anomalous’ category. To some, these objects have been found at the wrong place and time, and even though their existence disputes the traditional understanding of history – that in the previous centuries humanity had been much more sophisticated than described in history handbooks.
There are a great deal of theories regarding how a Swiss ring with a modern appearance and a watch face might have been discovered by Chinese archaeologists within a 400-year-old sealed tomb.
Some researchers point out that there might have been time travelers who came from the future, dropped a modern-looking ring in an ancient area and left it behind by mistake. There is mere evidence for this, but it is a compelling idea. There is still plenty that is unknown about the records of the Swiss watch in China.
Ring-watches are very fashionable jewelry pieces in Europe, even though they became so popular only after 1780. Nevertheless, the ring watches were not a frequent sight regarding accessories during the Ming Dynasty.
Lastly, there is an absence of evidence enclosing the whole matter. Although the story has been broadcasted by the media, there appears to be little information regarding the background of the dig, such as: journalists, archaeologists, which particular tomb was being uncovered and by whom.
May it be that this whole matter is a hoax, deceptiveness from start to bottom?
The astonishing situation of the tiny ring watch has remained unsolved so far and there is no strong evidence for us to prove that it is definitely OOPArt, nor enough facts for us to say that it is a sheer hoax. Nonetheless, what is still certain is that this is a story which sets fire to our imagination and encourages us to reconsider how did it come to be bundled in a Ming Dynasty tomb ahead of its time.