The Baghdad Battery

Adam Hennessy
4 min readMay 28, 2023
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

Today we will delve into the Baghdad Battery — I am sure many of you are familiar with this anomalous artifact, that potentially powered a civilisation — let’s get into it!

The what and the where

The Baghdad Battery is an ancient artifact discovered in Iraq, it has been a much argued about item among archaeologists and conspiracy theorists alike. Believed to date back to the Parthian or Sassanian period, this enigmatic object challenges our understanding of ancient technology and raises intriguing questions about lost knowledge and hidden histories. While mainstream explanations suggest it was a simple galvanic cell — that is an item that uses an electrochemical cell which converts the free energy of a chemical process into electrical energy could it be more? We will delve into that later…for now a little more on providence.

The Baghdad Battery is really a collection of objects located together. It comprises of, a ceramic pot, a tube of copper, a rod of iron and an often forgotten about asphalt stopper. It was discovered in 1936 by German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig near Baghdad in Iraq. It was the fact that these objects were arranged in a very specific order one within the other that bears a striking resemblance to a primitive electric cell, this led researchers to speculate on the artifact’s potential power generation capabilities.


Bear in mind this object is thought to date from between 150BCE (Parthian) and 650CE (Sassanian).

Mainstream Explanation: A Galvanic Cell:

The prevailing scientific interpretation suggests that the Baghdad Battery was a rudimentary form of galvanic cell used for electroplating or early electrotherapy. According to this theory, an acidic substance like vinegar or lemon juice would have served as the electrolyte, while the copper cylinder and iron rod acted as electrodes. Although simple in design, this setup could generate a small amount of electricity through the chemical reaction between the metals and the electrolyte.

This is still pretty mind-blowing for the time we are dealing with.