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Did Ancient Iraq Have Electricity?

34 Comments



In Iraq, southeast of Baghdad, lies Khujut
Rabu. Over 2,000 years ago, it was the site of the capital city of the Parthian Civilization.
In 1938, Austrian archaeologist Wilhelm Konig unearthed something there. He found a 13 centimetres
tall clay pot containing a sheet of copper wrapped into a cylinder shape, encasing an
iron rod. The pot was capped with a crimped copper disk, which was sealed with bitumen. The metal objects inside were corroded. Scientific
tests showed the corrosion was caused by an acidic agent, like vinegar or wine. To Wilhelm Konig, this all seemed very familiar.
It closely resembles a very modern piece of technology: a battery. Konig dated his pot to around 200 B.C., firmly
in the era of the Parthian empire. But the Parthians were warriors, known for their prowess
in battle, not for their scientific achievements. After Konig announced his discovery, about
a dozen more were identified. Metallurgy expert Dr Paul Craddock says, “They
are a one-off. As far as we know, nobody else has found anything like these. They are odd
things; they are one of life’s enigmas.” Konig’s theory that the pot is an ancient
battery is supported by several experiments. Dr Marjorie Senechal led a team that built
several replicas of the so-called Baghdad battery, using lemon juice and vinegar as
the acidic agent. Their jar produced 0.8 to 2 volts. If enough jars were connected in
a series, they could generate a much higher voltage. She summarised her experiment by
saying, “I don’t think anyone can say for sure what they were used for, but they
may have been batteries because they do work.” However, archaeologists have found no wires
with the pots that would enable the construction of a battery. The power they might have created
was insufficient for any practical use – except one. Wilhelm Konig believed they were used for
electroplating. This is commonly used today to transfer a thin layer of metal onto another
metal surface. Just like we do in the 21st century, Konig argued the Parthians used these
pots to gild silver or gold onto jewellery. The process of electroplating was developed
by several people independently after the invention of the galvanic cell at the end
of the 18th century. The galvanic cell is an electrochemical device that derives electrical
energy from reactions occurring inside it. It works by having a solid metal, or electrode,
submerged in an acidic solution, or electrolyte. Several cells combine to make up a battery. Two millennia ago, there were two main techniques
to plate jewellery. Jewellers would either hammer precious metal into thin strips; or
mix it with mercury and paste it onto an object. In 1978, Dr Arne Eggebrecht tested Konig’s
hypothesis. Eggebrecht connected many replica jars together using grape juice as an electrolyte.
Eggebrecht claimed his batteries successfully deposited a thin layer of silver onto another
surface. Though the layer was only one ten thousandth of a millimetre thick, it vindicated
Konig’s hypothesis. However, Eggebrecht and his team took no photographic evidence
of his experiments, and his results have never been reproduced in subsequent attempts by
other scientists. Unfortunately for Konig, many historians,
archaeologists and scientists doubt his findings. Even the nature of his discovery is questionable.
There are conflicting stories about how he found the jar: either he excavated it at Khujut
Rabu, or he found it in the basement of the Baghdad Museum, where it went on display. But according to Dr St John Simpson, Kong
was wrong about its provenance. “The pot itself is Sassanian. This discrepancy presumably
lies either in a misidentification of the age of the ceramic vessel, or the site at
which [it was] found.” The pot may therefore be 900 years younger than Konig claimed – was
he also wrong about the electroplating? Dr Paul Craddock says all examples of gilded
jewellery from the ancient era were plated conventionally or with mercury. “There’s
never been any untouchable evidence to support the electroplating theory.” he says. But Craddock still thinks the pot is a battery,
just used for a different purpose. He suggests a cluster of batteries placed inside a metal
statue or idol would have given worshippers a tiny but noticeable shock, like a warm tingle.
He says the ancients might have used such tricks in the temple to demonstrate the power
of a priest and religion. This is similar to Hero’s Engine from ancient Egypt, a steam-driven
machine that historians are convinced worked, but don’t know what it was used for. The components of the Baghdad battery are
impossible to date. If it is Parthian, then it is contemporaneous with the rise of the
Roman Empire. But this is a problem. The Romans recorded their encounters with and knowledge
of other civilisations. We would especially expect detailed accounts of Parthia, which
was Rome’s major enemy in the east. Yet there is no historical record anywhere of
Parthians having advanced technology like this. There is another, more mundane but perhaps
more plausible theory. The ancient city of Seleucia, in the same area southeast of Baghdad,
used similar objects for storing sacred papyri. Scrolls were put inside the metal sheath for
protection, never to be read by human eyes. This might explain the bitumen seal on the
pot – it was complete, and therefore there was no way of extracting electricity generated
by a battery. Containment was important to whomever created it. The dozen or so similar batteries supposedly
found in the wake of Konig’s discovery, have been lost. Tragically, his battery artefacts
were looted from the Museum of Baghdad during the Second Gulf War in 2003. Even if we find the Baghdad battery again,
advanced dating techniques won’t work on the corroded metal. The different stories of its
discovery obfuscate the pot’s purpose, and experimental archaeology has proven nothing.
It has merely suggested the theory that ancient Parthians could generate electricity might
be true. The sands of time hide their secrets well.

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34 thoughts on “Did Ancient Iraq Have Electricity?”

  1. Dean Mav says:

    The Greek engineer who invented the steam engine 2,000 years ago and not in egypt learn before make a video

  2. luciferangelica says:

    i'm so tired of telling you people; it doesn't beg the question. it raises the question. learn english, please

  3. luciferangelica says:

    rome fought the parthians and consistently lost before ever getting very deep into their territory

  4. luciferangelica says:

    rome fought the parthians and consistently lost before ever getting very deep into their territory

  5. XIR XIR says:

    No they Rent Thor Hammer so that they can have electricity

  6. Shawn S says:

    Naw hindus have done this thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years ago.

  7. Ali Lobatino says:

    My Great Iraq

  8. Officer Tenpenny says:

    if they had electricity…….. Iraq would have conquered the world by now

  9. 「Austin Smith」 says:

    obviously the ancient copper wires were stolen for scrap by ancient meth heads

  10. Eddieisherenow says:

    The first jar was for making moon shine and getting her done Redkneck Accent

  11. معارج حسن says:

    BUZZ BUZZ…!!!

  12. Kent Brockman says:

    They were electroplating back then you morons

  13. zoro green says:

    Maybe they just think the metal objects can enhance the taste of the vinegars or wine.

  14. I am Iraqi says:

    Iraq is the oldest nation of five thousand years old and is now devastated by corruption in government and institutions

  15. SKELTER1SKELTER says:

    So annoying the way cell and battery are used interchangeably in this video.

    The pots are single cells and more than one cell makes a battery. MORE. THAN. ONE. Goddammitall!

  16. MetallicBlue1000 says:

    These batteries are invented in India. You can check the Vedas describe them. Indian civilisation extended all the way to modern day Egypt. Im talking Pre-Islamic times. A lot of the names and words from these areas are distorted forms of Indian Sanskrit words.

  17. Aaron Cahill Music says:

    Are these Saddam’s WMD’s?

    Possibly

  18. if you subscribe i will give you this face says:

    No

  19. Walkertongdee says:

    Unfortunately, there are none available they have disappeared.

  20. Laszlo Official says:

    The fear of it being a lie is invalid since batterys like that have been found all over mesopotamia and asia in hundreds. Modern science basicly doesn't talk about that and even the federal archeologists Party bought all of the remaining artefacts. HMMM VERY STRANGE.

  21. The Iranian Liberal says:

    Yes. The Parthians can't have been technologically advanced because their arch enemies (Romans) who had no way of knowing everything about them didn't report them as technologically advanced.
    /s

  22. Trace 23 says:

    Electro plating/etching, worshipper zapper, secret scroll safe, or testicle taser torture device? Who knows?
    I'm just glad that I don't have to live where THAT could be considered High Technology🤔

  23. FreeTube says:

    i wonder how many artifacts American soilders looted and stole during the invasion of iraq.

  24. كريم العراقي says:

    Your sun will rise again and rise again against your enemies and the bats of darkness who came from the west and plundered and destroyed your history will return and teach them a lesson in life ..

  25. edward vargas says:

    All of HISTORY is a LIE

  26. edward vargas says:

    Bat's Bat's I'm surrounded by Bat's

  27. Xd_Nico Xd says:

    Niggas goofy

  28. Thrashes says:

    Could this not have simply been for some parlor trick? like hey i can create a very small lightning or a very easy way to create fire as i assume it is pretty hard in the desert (aka this being a lighter?).

  29. عابر سبيل says:

    what these shit was in iraq-😂😂😂😂

  30. Mh M says:

    Baghdad battery is for real

  31. oluchi Anozie says:

    All belong to me for ever and ever

  32. Awesome Sause says:

    Does it really matter? What would it change/prove that is actually significant?

  33. Daisyrie Penaflorida says:

    Out of Place Artifacts

  34. chief lucifer63 says:

    they don't want this to be a batter used as a power source because it will undermine modern so called advancements in technology.

  35. chief lucifer63 says:

    the anglo western powers suppress how advanced ancient non european civilizations were, because they want to maintain the illusion that they are superior.

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