Battery of Babylon

The Battery of Babylon was unearthed in Khujut Rabu, in the ruins of a Parthian village outside Baghdad in 1938 by German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig.It is a five-inch-long (13 cm) clay jar containing a copper cylinder that its edge was soldered with a 60-40 lead-tin alloy, and bottom was capped with a crimped-in copper disk and held in place with asphalt or bitumen.

Another insulating layer of asphalt sealed the top and also protected an iron bar suspended into the center of the cylinder. This one is known as the Baghdad Battery and is about 2,000 years old. A dozen of other similar batteries were unearthed in Iraq. Most sources date the batteries to around 200 BC – in the Parthian era, circa 250 BC to AD 225. However the Parthians were skilled warriors rather and their scientific achievements were not known. It would appear then that they inherited these batteries from one of the earliest known civilizations. According to the experts, the device after being filled with an acid or alkaline liquid could create an electric charge. It is believed that this old battery might have been used to electroplate silver, but it is only one of the theories. Important is to emphasize that electric batteries were used about 2000 years ago…long before they were invented by Alessandro Volta in 1799.