15 things you should know about the Baghdad battery

Baghdad Battery Drawing from different pictures of the museum artifact. Image Credit: Wikipedia
Baghdad Battery Drawing from different pictures of the museum artifact. Image Credit: Wikipedia

The Baghdad battery is also referred to as the Parthian Battery and was “invented” during the Parthian or Sassanid periods. The items were discovered in the village of Khuyut Rabbou’a in modern-day Iraq.

Pseudoarchaeologists and ancient astronaut theorists consider it one of the best examples of ancient technology that may have originated on another planet.

The Baghdad battery belongs to a number of ancient artifacts that have caused much debate in the field of archaeology and while the feelings are mixed among scholars there are several theories backed up by different individuals ranging in beliefs.

Here we have 15 things you should know about the Baghdad battery:

  1. The Baghdad Batteries are actually terracotta pots which are approximately 115 mm to 140 mm tall.
  2. Wilhelm König, the director of the National Museum of Iraq found the Baghdad batteries in the museum’s collections in 1938.
  3. Wilhelm König was among the first to speculate that these items were in fact batteries in a paper published in 1940.
  4. It was believed that the batteries were used in ancient times for electroplating gold onto silver objects. Until today this claim has not been proven and there is no evidence to support it.
  5. Ancient peoples in Mesopotamia used a process called “fire-gilding” for decorative purposes.
  6. Ancient Astronaut theorists suggest that ancient Egyptians were very familiar with the Baghdad Batteries; they might have been used to provide light in the chambers of the pyramids and other places according to their theories.  Another theory that has no evidence backing it up. No written texts have been found anywhere that would suggest the use of electricity in ancient times, at least not with the “Baghdad batteries”.
  7. If these artifacts were indeed used as batteries they would predate Alessandro Volta’s electrochemical cell by a millennium.
  8. Researchers that support the theory about the terracotta pots being ancient batteries suggest that lemon juice, grape juice, or vinegar was used as an acidic electrolyte to generate an electric current.
  9. Even though there are very few documented experiments with the Baghdad batteries, Dr. Arne Eggerbrech from the Pelizaeus Museum in Hildesheim experimented with Baghdad batteries (replica) using grape juice as an acid and thin layers of silver which supposedly resulted in the production of electricity.
  10. Research suggests that it is possible that rotted papyrus scrolls placed inside these vessels might have caused acidic organic residue.
  11. Elizabeth Stone, a professor of archaeology states that these artifacts were not Batteries and she disagrees completely with anyone trying to suggest otherwise.
  12. Given the descriptions of the Baghdad batteries, these were sealed at the top with metal pieces so it would have been nearly impossible to connect them to anything even if they did produce electricity unless the design is altered.
  13. No wires or any conductors have been found or associated with the Baghdad Batteries.
  14. It is possible to construct a Baghdad battery today with minor modifications.
  15. There are several other artifacts that resemble the Baghdad batteries found throughout ancient Mesopotamia, mostly used to store papyrus.

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  1. #13….NO WIRES? …SOLUTION according to MY theorem: To conduct small amounts of electricity to electroplate from a Baghdad Battery (1 volt) would be to use a moist vine (root) from a plant OR tendons or strands of muscle from a diseased body as humans we are 80% water and BOTH could easily conduct small amounts of voltage to electroplate with. …Now my fourth theorem. They simply used strands of gold for the wiring between the Baghdad Battery and the object to be electroplated and when finished, gold being such a precious metal, they did not just throw it away when finished, they used it again and again recycling just as we do with copper wire now days.

  2. #14. They could have easily had small holes for the conducting line/wires in the clay pot, THEN seal the holes with clay as to seal that jug aka Baghdad Battery from losing any liquid.

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