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Originally found in 1936 at Khuyut Rabu, 30 km to the SE of Baghdad, Iraq, the person who made the discovery is not documented.The jar showed signs of corrosion, and early tests revealed that an acidic agent, such as vinegar or wine had been present.

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It was suggested that a priest or healer, using an iron spatula to compound a vinegar based potion in a copper vessel, may have felt an electrical tingle, and used the phenomenon either for electro-acupuncture, or to amaze supplicants by electrifying a metal statue.Copper and iron form an electrochemical couple, so that in the presence of any electrolyte, an electric potential (voltage) will be produced.König had observed a number of very fine silver objects from ancient Iraq which were plated with very thin layers of gold, and speculated that they were electroplated using batteries with these being the cells. The Baghdad Battery, sometimes referred to as the Parthian Battery, is the common name for a number of artifacts created in Mesopotamia, possibly during the Parthian or Sassanid period (the early centuries AD).These artifacts came to wider attention in 1938 when Wilhelm König, the German director of the National Museum of Iraq, found the objects in the museum's collections.

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