While some mysteries are occasionally solved, the majority tend to live on forever without the truth being revealed. One in the latter category concerns the recent discovery of a century-old Swiss watch discovered in an ancient Chinese tomb that has been sealed for more than 400 years.
How did it get there? This is the question haunting the archaeologists who discovered the Swiss watch in an ancient tomb in Shangsi, southern China, they believed had not been opened since its occupant’s funeral, which occurred during the Ming Dynasty (15-16th centuries).They believed they were the first to visit the Ming dynasty grave in Shangsi, southern China, since its occupant's funeral. The Ming Dynasty - or the Empire of the Great Ming - was the was ruling dynasty in China from 1368 to 1644.
The miniature watch, which is in the shape of a ring, is thought to be barely a century old. The mysterious timepiece was encrusted in mud and rock and had stopped at 10:06 am. On the back of the watch, the word, ‘Swiss’ is engraved.
Its presence raises more questions than answers… like: Where did the watch come from? Could the watch/ring have been planted at the tomb, but if so, why and by whom?
The known facts do not really help in this case.
The Ming Dynasty did have its own unique age of watch making, but that does not explain why the word, 'Swiss’ on the back of the watch is engraved in English. In Geneva, Switzerland, other languages were more common, namely French and German.
In 1541 in Geneva, there was a ban on flashy jewelry, so the idea of a watch/ ring might make some sense, as a watch was considered practical and essential. Still, there is no record anywhere of ring/watches being popular in Europe until after 1780, which only deepens the mystery.
The dig has been suspended and researchers are currently awaiting the arrival of some experts from Beijing to help them unravel this most unsettling mystery.
Anyone know what time it is?
Watches were not around at the time of the Ming Dynasty and Switzerland did not even exist as a country, an expert pointed out.
The archaeologists were filming a documentary with two journalists when they made the puzzling discovery.
'When we tried to remove the soil wrapped around the coffin, suddenly a piece of rock dropped off and hit the ground with metallic sound,' said Jiang Yanyu, former curator of the Guangxi Museum.
'We picked up the object, and found it was a ring.
'After removing the covering soil and examining it further, we were shocked to see it was a watch,' he added.
By MDeeDubroff on 05-03-2009
By Cher Thornhill on 18th December 2008