Yes, this is really shocking! When was electricity used thousands of years before we switched it on? Because, when we think of electricity, most of us recall back to a time in school where we learned about Benjamin Franklin, a metal key, and a kite. The year of Franklin’s fateful discovery was 1752.

Thus, the existence of the Baghdad batteries recommends the possibility of far more shocking scientific advances in the field a mind-blowing 2,000 years earlier. Therefore, this was discovered in 1936, and believed to have been made in the Mesopotamian region, these clay pots contain galvanized iron nails wrapped with copper sheeting, and some archaeologists theories that an acidic liquid was used to generate an electric current inside the jar.

Furthermore if correct, these artefacts would predate the currently accepted timeline for the invention of the electrochemical cell, attributed to Alessandro Volta, by more than two millennia. Whether or not the artefacts were in fact used as batteries is highly contested by archaeologists, and what the resulting electrical current was used for is also a comprehensive mystery, as we have no historical records from that time. Moreover some people theories that they might have been used for electroplating objects, but such proof of their use for that purpose is yet to be found. What we do identify, though, is that the batteries would in fact work, at least in theory.

Hence, at least twice, experiments were conducted to test replica constructions of the batteries, including once on the show Myth busters, and both experiments showed that the batteries were indeed capable of producing electricity when filled with an acidic solution. But for now, the true purpose of these artefacts remains unidentified.

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