Ancient Egypt Illuminated by Electricity?

In Beyond Science, Epoch Times explores research and accounts related to phenomena and theories that challenge our current knowledge. We delve into ideas that stimulate the imagination and open up new possibilities. Share your thoughts with us on these sometimes controversial topics in the comments section below.

Today, we take for granted nightly city skylines, streetlights, and the overall power that drives our modern convenience. But, could the wise-men of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia have had knowledge of electricity, even electric illumination, or even electric-based technology? Within the framework of some archaeological evidence, the answer seems affirmative.

The most widely cited evidence that the ancient Egyptians used electricity is a relief beneath the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, Egypt that depicts figures standing around a large light-bulb-like object.

An Ancient Light Bulb?

The light-bulb-like object engraved in a crypt under the Temple of Hathor in Egypt. (Lasse Jensen/Wikimedia Commons)
The light-bulb-like object engraved in a crypt under the Temple of Hathor in Egypt. (Lasse Jensen/Wikimedia Commons) 

The socket is represented by what appears to be a lotus flower with a stem that runs like a cable along the bottom of the “device.” Inside the “bulb” is a snake-like line winding its way out of the lotus flower “socket.” According to supporters of the hypothesis that this depicts an electrical light, such as Erich Von Däniken who wrote “Chariot of the Gods,” the snake represents the filament of the bulb.

MORE: 4,000-Year-Old Elite Tomb Unearthed in Luxor, Egypt

Von Däniken created a working model of the bulb in the laboratory which works, emitting an eerie, purplish light.

He used the same measurements, including two metal beams that look like arms stretched into the big end of the bulb, and a wire connecting those beams with the “socket” at the other end.

But where did the power come from to light the bulb in ancient Egypt?

An Ancient Battery?

Right: An illustration of a Baghdad battery from museum artifact pictures. (Ironie/Wikimedia Commons) Background: Map of area surrounding present-day Baghdad, Iraq. (Cmcderm1/iStock/Thinkstock)
Right: An illustration of a Baghdad battery from museum artifact pictures. (Ironie/Wikimedia Commons) Background: Map of area surrounding present-day Baghdad, Iraq. (Cmcderm1/iStock/Thinkstock) 

An artifact found a ways away from Egypt, outside of modern-day Baghdad, shows some electricity production was possible in the Middle East thousands of years ago. This artifact is known as the Baghdad Battery.

MORE: 2,000-Year-Old Battery Has Puzzled Archaeologists for Decades

The Baghdad Battery is simple in comparison with today’s batteries. It consists of a clay jar with a stopper made of asphalt. Through the stopper is an iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder. It is believed that the jar would have been filled with a common acidic substance such as vinegar that would allow it to produce about 1.1 volts of electricity. Replicas of the battery have shown it works.

1.1 volts may not seem like much, but if you string several of these batteries together, the voltage increases. The battery was dated from 250 B.C. to 250 A.D. The current belief is that these batteries were used in early electroplating (bonding a layer of one type of metal onto the surface of another).

These batteries aren’t the only theoretical power source.

Some claim that one of the most iconic structures in Egypt is in fact the most misunderstood device on the planet. Specifically, supporters of the ancient Egyptian electricity hypothesis say the Great Pyramid of Giza was actually used as a power plant.

An Ancient Power Plant?

(Shutterstock*; effects added by Epoch Times)
(Shutterstock*; effects added by Epoch Times) 

This idea was first championed by author and researcher Christopher Dunn in his books “The Giza Power Plant” and “Lost Technologies of Ancient Egypt.”

Dunn said the “Kings Chamber” located in the heart of the Great Pyramid was once the central power generating apparatus of the super structure. It is constructed primarily of pink granite, a material rich in micro-quartz-crystals.

In fact, the Great Pyramid is mostly granite, and granite is made up of many tiny quartz crystals that, when exposed to pressure and/or energy vibrations, generate electricity. This is known in the scientific community as the piezoelectric effect. This effect is used in many modern technologies, such as loud speakers, signal transducers, and it has some applications in the automotive industry.

MORE: 150,000-Year-Old Pipes Baffle Scientists in China: Out of Place in Time?

According to Dunn and other supporters of this theory, the granite sarcophagus in the King’s Chamber (also intricately carved in solid pink granite) could have been instrumental in transmuting the low-frequency vibrations emitted by the earth into electrical energy. Additionally, Dunn said, the supporting beams in the ceiling of the king’s chamber all seem to have been precisely tuned, or cut to size, to perfectly resonate with this frequency.

Visit the Epoch Times Beyond Science page on Facebook, and subscribe to the Beyond Science newsletter to continue exploring the new frontiers of science!

*Images of pyramids and electricity via Shutterstock 

× close