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These artifacts were discovered during the 1936 excavations of the old village Khujut Rabu, near Baghdad.
The village is considered to be about 2000 years old, and was built during the Parthian period (250BC to 224 AD).
The artifacts consist of terracotta jars approximately 130 mm (5 in) tall (with a one and a half inch mouth) containing a copper cylinder made of a rolled-up copper sheet, which houses a single iron rod.König thought the objects might date to the Parthian period (between 250 BC and AD 224).However, according to Dr St John Simpson of the Near Eastern department of the British Museum, their original excavation and context were not well recorded (see stratigraphy), so evidence for this date range is very weak.At the top, the iron rod is isolated from the copper by bitumen plugs or stoppers, and both rod and cylinder fit snugly inside the opening of the jar, which bulges outward towards the middle.The copper cylinder is not watertight, so when the jar was filled with a liquid containing citric acid, this would surround the iron rod as well.
An alternative, but still electrical explanation was offered by Paul Keyser.