Batteries and Electricity Used in 250 BC

We like to think that electricity was discovered along with various uses in the late 18th century, then came to prominence with Edison (DC Power) and Tesla (AC Power) in the late nineteenth century.  However, scholars have recently discerned the function of pot like structures dating back to 250 BC in ancient Mesopotamia.  They are batteries.  Functioning essentially like car batteries.  This is just one of many reasons I believe in lost civilizations in pre-history with advanced technology.

The following is reposted from Smith College Museum of Ancient Inventions


Battery, Baghdad, 250 BCE

by Dennielle Downs,’00 and Ava Meyerhoff, ’99

The Baghdad Battery is believed to be about 2000 years old (from the Parthian period, roughly 250 BCE to CE 250). The jar was found in Khujut Rabu just outside Baghdad and is composed of a clay jar with a stopper made of asphalt. Sticking through the asphalt is an iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder. When filled with vinegar – orany other electrolytic solution – the jar produces about 1.1 volts.

There is no written record as to the exact function of the jar, but the best guess is that it was a type of battery. Scientists believe the batteries (if that is their correct function) were used to electroplate items such as putting a layer of one metal (gold) onto the surface of another (silver), a method still practiced in Iraq today.

1 Comment

Filed under Humor and Observations, Uncategorized

One response to “Batteries and Electricity Used in 250 BC

  1. writerwilke

    This is actually pretty cool. Just goes to show how much technology has been discovered and lost over time.


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