These strange artefacts were originally discovered in 1936 during an archaeological dig at village of Khuyut Rabbou’a which is located approximately 20 miles south east of the city centre of modern Baghdad and close to the Arch of Ctesiphon. Described as 13 – 14cm in height they contained a copper cylinder and within this was suspended an iron rod. In December 1939, shortly after the start of World War II a German archaeologist by the name of Wilhelm Konig came across the item in the basement of the National Museum of Iraq. He immediately recognised their similarity to galvanic batteries and published a paper that suggested that these ancient electrical devices may have been used for electroplating precious gold onto silver.
It is around this time that Adolf Hitler began a serious, if eccentric, programme to study the technology of the ancients. Relatively modern films such as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” are based on this obscure reality. There is no easy explanation for the Baghdad Battery and naturally this has created controversy, debate and disagreement in the scientific community. Reconstructions of this device have proved that it could generate an electrical voltage of between 0.4 and 1.9 volts. Naturally, some scientists dispute these claims and argue that the reconstructions are inaccurate. (Those scientist just love a good dispute – it’s the scientific equivalent of arguing with you history teacher to make sure that everyone else notices that you’re still in the class.)