Energy sources

Energy Sources

There are more critical points about the lamp theory aside from the false argument of the missing soot. Another one: Where could have the Egyptians taken electricity from? For more than 200 years now systematic diggings took place in Egypt, and no electrical generators could be found. The only objects at all found from antique times which could produce some electricity are the famous

Baghdad-Batteries

Bagdad-Battery Crossection Bagdad-Battery

After a flooding in 1936 the material of a small hill near Baghdad should be used to fill some new water holes. When the earthmovers had begun their work the hill turned out to be an old parthic settlement. And during the following excavations a sensational find was made. An adobe vase with a very complicated inside:

Bagdad-Battery explained

Inside the vase was a copper cylinder which was closed at the bottom with a soldered sheet of copper. On the top it was closed with a plug made from Asphalt, and through the middle of the plug an iron rod run through into the cylinder. The rod was degraded so it was thought that the cylinder was filled with a corrosive fluid.
Right from the beginning the chief excavator Wilhelm Koenig had the opinion that these pots had been batteries used for galvanizing items. Some finds and writings led to the belief that the Parthians knew a method of coating copper or silver with gold by using gold cyanide - without the use of electricity. With a reconstruction of the supposed battery the galvanizing rate could be quadrupled.
Later more pots of the same kind were found in that region. And since we know that the Egyptians had trade contacts to the Mesopotamian region from the pre dynastic time on, long before the pyramids, those batteries could have found their way into Egypt. That would support a part of the thesis.

It would, if there was not the problem with the time horizon. This is often devastating for alternative ideas, and this one is not different. The Parths did exist in the small period between 250 BC to 225 AD, more than 2000 years after the pyramids were built. The founding of the parthic empire even took place 120 years after the end of pharaonic Egypt (Egyptologists set this end to the invasion of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332 BC).
So even IF the Parthians used those devices for the production of electricity, it would have no impact on the Egyptian civilization. In fact, the other similar devices found in the region date to even later times, to the Seleudic empire (from 300 AD on) to the late Middle Ages (around 1200 AD). And the Baghdad battery itself is most probably from the time around the birth of Christ.

Battery = Energy?

There are surely differences between an accelerated galvanizing technique and lighting a light bulb. In the first case small amperages and voltages are enough to do the job, but not in the second case. Even a small torch bulb needs about one Watt to shed a dim light.
The performance of a battery is the product of voltage and amperage (volt times ampere). The voltage is a material constant between different metals. If we place two different metals in acid we can measure an electric difference measured in Volts. This difference is independent from the size of the plates, it only depends on the materials used. The difference between two plates of the same material is null. Therefore you can sort the various metals into an electro-chemical row with the most negative elements (giving up electrons) to the left and the most positive ones (collecting electrons) to the right. This principle is known to us for approximately 200 years, and the best combinations for metals are known almost as long.
Volta columnThe discoverer of that principle was Allesandro Volta, who demonstrated 1n 1800 his first battery, the Volta column (see picture). It delivered 25 volts and a high current. The "batteries" found in Baghdad however are quite poor in comparison. Some contained only same metals (copper rods in copper cylinders) and can produce therefore with this primitive type of construction no voltage at all. And those few who could contains the metal pairing copper/iron which are only 0.74 volts apart on the electro-chemical scale (E0 Iron = -0,404 V, E0 Copper (Cu2++2e- = +0,337 V).
Volta used even for his first experiments the metal pair silver and tin with a difference on the electrochemical scale of 1.6 volts. By combining many of these elements in a serial circuit he reached the 25 volts mentioned.
When we compare Voltas results with the for many 100 years unchanged Baghdad-"batteries" we can only come to the conclusion, that the phenomenon "electricity" was no subject of systematic research in antiquity. But a continuous research would have been essential for the development of any form of electric lighting.

The second factor for a battery was solved nearly as inefficient than the first. The amperage depends on the surface of the used electrodes. An ideal battery possesses two electrodes with surfaces as large as possible, with materials lying apart as far as possible on the electro-chemical scale. For example disk batteries like the famous Volta pile, which consisted of copper and tin plates. Or our zinc coal batteries, whose central electrode is an activated charcoal staff with an active surface as large as several football fields.
The relics of Baghdad are there poor, too, they came with single rods of iron with a minimal surface as counter electrode. This is another sign against a systematic research of electricity.

Battery = Light?

In 1995 I made a reconstruction of a Baghdad-type battery myself. My first try was a disaster: The reaction stopped after a few minutes. After some research I found the reason: Such natural acids which could have been used (I used vinegar) need air to react. Therefore the closed original constructions never could have worked as batteries!

After I drilled several holes into the cylinder it produced about 0.4-0.5 volts with open contacts, and had a short circuit amperage of 50 mA. The electrical "performance" adds up to 25 milli Watts without connected devices (which breaks down to 1/10th with a single bulb attached).

That means however, that for the operation of only one 1 watt-bulb the ridiculous quantity of forty batteries is needed! Since each battery weighs approximately 2 kilograms, the Egyptian flashlight without rack and wiring would weigh around 80 kilograms!
Oh, after approximately 8 hours power output the inside of the battery decomposes into a green, poisonous mud which must be disposed of.
And the soldering on the bottom gave way, too, so that the whole mess fell into the cylinder I had placed below the metal cylinder.

For the lighting of the building sites with batteries this means:

There is just another minor item always "forgotten" by the proponents of ancient batteries: The iron. Iron was a rare and precious metal in Egypt, because no ore is found there. The next iron ore deposits are in today's Turkey, and were in firm possession of the Hethites, which had a monopoly in manufacturing iron goods from around 1600 B.C. But each "battery" needed a central iron rod as main electrode. So it's simply impossible that a metal first used in 1600 b.C. played a major role in lighting pyramids built more than 1000 years before! Each battery contained about 150 grams of iron, so for the whole 400 big graves about 17400 tons of this metal more precious than gold was needed.

From these numbers it can easily be derived that the operation of electrical lamps with the so-called Baghdad batteries was simply impossible. But no other antique energy sources are known, so that any lamp faces the problem of a missing power source.

In the television broadcast "Aliens - do they return?" by Erich von Daeniken, already addressed by me in the pyramid section, he tried to make a connection between Baghdad batteries and light in his typical way. He tried to suggest that a gas-discharge lamp could be powered with such a battery. So he connects a digital multi meter to the battery - a loud buzzing noise suggests a high voltage. Then we can read a not defined voltage of "0293" on the meter; afterwards he presents a "reconstruction" of a Dendera-type gas discharge lamp also connected with a meter, and gives the impression that both voltages are of the same amount!

What else are they?

When these pots are so lousy batteries, what else could they have been? To solve that I have to remind you, that the Baghdad pot is an exception. Some of the pots had a number of iron rods with no connection at all to the plug, others hat the rods only on the inside of the plug without reaching through to it, so no electrical connection could have made. And even more pots had only copper on copper. All these pots could never have been batteries.
A hint about their function could be the exact location where they have been found. As far as it could be fond out, all these pots were located in "founding pits" under the corners of the buildings. This was a place, where not only in the Mesopotamian region blessing spells for the new found building were hidden. These were often written on papyrus rolls, hidden in vases, or in Egypt o on limestone or adobe plates.
From Israel we know the custom to roll the scroll around a rod and seal it in a copper cylinder - and in fact in many of the objects remnants of plant material which could have been writing material was found.
In connection with the finding place in pits under the foundation of the houses, which are a bit hindering to the use as energy source, the explanation as lucky charm for the house and its inhabitants seems most likely in my eyes.

Other energy sources?

"If the Egyptians already knew batteries, then different generators will probably have been known" is a merry, but absurd or missing way of proving a theory.
When Volta experimented with its (by the way 10000 times more efficient) batteries, he lived in the age of the research and progress. Each detail, each improvement was published and hundreds of scientists around the whole globe were busy with the study of nature and exchanged their results in innumerable publications. Nevertheless it lasted nearly 200 years until the induction was discovered, and out of this in the end the generator was developed. This needed an unbelievable number of small steps, and each of these can be reconstructed from uncounted publications.

From the Parthic, Babylonic or Egyptian region however no evidence for a systematic study of physics or chemistry, which is a mandatory prerequisite for the development of such technique is known. But without this knowledge no genius amateur handicraftsman can "by coincidence" invent something like a generator. This conclusion is therefore just as soundly as the reason chain "They had wheels, therefore they knew a combustion engine".
As long as no find for the development of such a technology is made, we must exclude it. Even when Krassa/Habeck declare the Djed pillar surprisingly, after defining it in the first half of their book as "electrical insulator", as a generator, which produces electricity with "hot air and dust"...

Well, that was the next basis for the lamp theory which has been gone down the drain. With the only known possible energy source no lamp could have been used in every-day use as the authors have proposed, and so they could not have been used as light source for tombs and pyramids. So we are back to oil lamps here, and another part of evidence for the necessity of this advanced technique has gone down the drain, too.
What's left is another "cult" explanation some alternative authors have in reserve: The pharaoh, demonstrating that he is a true son of the sun by illuminating a light bulb during certain ceremonies.
Hm, funny, when I remember correctly all those disciples of ancient astronauts and lost civilizations are constantly raging about archaeologists declaring this and that as cult - but now we are down to a lamp cult proposed by the alternatives themselves :-D

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All pictures and texts © Frank Dörnenburg