Western civilization generally credits Count Allessandro Volta with the invention of a simple battery, in 1800. However, a small jar about the size of a fist, found in the ruins of an ancient settlement near Baghdad, appears to predate Volta's battery by about 2000 years!
The small earthenware jar has an asphalt seal on the lid, and has an iron rod with a copper cylinder around it. Reproductions of the jar, when filled with any acid such as vinegar, produce about 2 volts of electricity. The jar is thought to have been used to electroplate small items. By electroplating, silver or other jewelry could be plated with gold, or copper plated with silver. One source states that local craftsmen in Iraq still use a primitive method of electroplating to plate jewelry.