Solar Lit Pryamids





There is no trace of soot inside the pyramids where artisans carved for months. We may be looking at the solution in a solar light collecting sphere, a crystal ball the ancients made that could even harness moonlight.

Jon Presco

The Rawlemon project revolves around a weatherproof sphere that’s designed to rotate and follow the sun across the sky. It’s so sensitive to light that at night, it can even harvest moonlight and convert it into electricity.

PHOTOS: Top 5 Places to Harvest Energy from Action

Andre Broessel, the architect and designer, says his spherical, sun-tracking glass globe is able to concentrate sunlight and moonlight up to 10,000 times and that the system is 35 percent more efficient than photovoltaic designs that track the sun. One of Rawlemon’s idea is to build these globes into the exterior walls of buildings and use them to generate electricity. For other uses and beautiful images of the globes, click here.

In 2012, Inhabitat featured an invention that promised to turn the world of solar power generation upside down. Rawlemon’s spherical solar energy-generating globe looked a

Lunar, Spencer Finch, solar powered art, moonlight, buckyball, art institute of chicago, lunar module

•Glowing Solar-Powered Buckyball Sculpture Illuminates the Art Institute of Chicago With Moonlight

Finch has long been fascinated with the moon, specifically the light cast off of our “night light” in the sky. In July 2011, Finch took

Rawlemon, Betaray, beta.ey, atmospheric lamp, Rawlemon Indiegogo, solar charger, solar concentrating sphere, concentrated solar power, crystal ball, power from light,

•Rawlemon’s New Spherical Beta.ey Solar Generator Can Charge Your Cell Phone

For the past year or so, Rawlemon has been blowing our minds with their innovative concepts for concentrated solar power generation. Back in 2012 Inhabitat

Robert Flottemesch, Jen DeNike, Johanna Ballhaus, and Adrian P. De Luca, Land Art Generator Initiative, Lunar Cubit, solar power, green architecture, pyramids, renewable energy, sustainable energy

•Lunar Cubit: Gigantic Solar Pyramids to Power Abu Dhabi

The motto of these sleek black pyramids is “Renewable Energy Can Be Beautiful.” No, the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas did not suddenly develop a

Read more: Rawlemon’s Spherical Solar Energy-Generating Globes Can Even Harvest Energy from Moonlight | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Electric Lights in Egypt?

by Frank Dörnenburg

It is a widespread belief in alternative science that our forefathers possessed a much greater technological knowledge than our schoolbook science is willing to accept. Many of those theories are lacking serious foundation and are often based on overdrawn speculations [ like the Manna machine ].

The Lamp

In the temple of Hathor at Dendera, several dozens of kilometers
north of Luxor, there are reliefs interpreted by some “experts” as lamps.

But the theory that electricity was known and used in antiquity seems to rest on a much more stable foundation. The key to the whole theory lies a few hundred kilometers east of Egypt, in today’s Iraq. There some strange pots were found. Some contained watertight copper cylinders, glued into the opening with asphalt. In the middle of the cylinder was an iron rod, held in place also with asphalt. The excavator who found the first of these pots in 1936 was sure: this is a galvanic element, a primitive battery. Reconstructions did indeed show that it was possible to create electricity with it.

Another key element for the electro-thesis is actually something that is missing.
It’s a riddle where schoolbook science is capitulating. Soot. In none of the many thousands of subterranean tombs and pyramid shafts was found a single trace of soot, as we are told by the authors of the electro-thesis, although many of these tombs are full of often colourful paintings. But the primitive light sources the Egyptians knew (candles, oil lamps etc.) are always leaving soot and are using oxygen. So how DID the Egyptians get their light? Some rationalists are arguing with mirrors, but the quality of the copper plates the Egyptians used as mirrors were not good enough for that.


Temple of Hathor in Dendera

In this temple in Dendera, several dozens of kilometers north of Luxor, some experts found the light. A Norwegian electrical engineer noticed that the object shown on the relief on top of this page could work as a lamp. An Austrian colleague was able to construct a working model, and two well known authors in the AAS, Peter Krassa and Rainer Habeck, could even work out a real theory based on it. What we see is without question a form of bulb, with two arms reaching into it near its thick end, and a sort of cable at the other end, from where a snake is leaping out to touch the arms on the other side. The whole ensemble really looks like a lamp.

Lamp 1

Another picture from the crypts of Dendera:
Eastern relief on south wall

Is this the proof? Did the Egyptians know and use electric lights? If so, where did they get the principle from? Was it from their own invention, or did they have help?

Soot and Lamps

Before I go into the details of Dendera, I will examine some of the circumstantial evidence. That’s because some points several authors use to prepare the “light mystery” are in contrast to what I have seen personally. Here are two of many quotes:

“Krassa and Habeck are telling us, that torches, oil lamps or candles are emitting soot on a large scale, which must be detecteable on walls and ceilings. But that is not the case.”[ 1 ]


“In the Roman and Greek world torches and oil lamps were used to light the buildings. Wherever places are left where such devices were positioned, we can find traces of soot on the walls and ceilings. But in ancient Egypt … we can find these combustion traces nowhere.”[ 2 ]

Well, I have been in Egypt several times now, and I never had a problem to detect soot in pyramids and tombs. As an example here the soot covered burial chamber walls of the Red Pyramid of Dahschur:

Soot in Red Pyramid

Soot in burial chamber

This chamber is completely above ground, built by Snofru, father of the builder of the Great Pyramid, Khufu. The soot seems to be millimeters thick, and if one goes through the pyramid passages in Egypt a look at the ceiling is enough to find soot in abundance.

The oldest comment known to me about soot in the Great Pyramid is from John Greaves, in a book from 1638!![ 3 ]

The passages and chambers in Egyptian pyramids were built with a few exceptions in open ditches like the example of Abu Roasch below. A large dugout was furnished with several layers of floor- and wall blocks, the sarcophagus was lowered into the open chamber, ornamented wall parts, finished outside, were lifted down and put in place, the roof was positioned, and then the ditch was refilled. The whole construction process took place in broad daylight.

Ausschachtung Abu Roasch Ausschachtung Abu Roasch

Abu Roasch – Trench for burial chamber

The great chambers of the red pyramid, and the passages in the great Pyramid, also were built in full daylight. The whole time, until the last ceiling block was positioned years after the chamber was begun, all tasks like polishing and furnishing the walls and roof beams could be done in daylight. Why should there be soot in such constructions? In the pyramid age only very few construction projects needed artificial light, like the Djoser-labyrinth and the underground passage and chamber in Khufu’s pyramid.

It’s the same with the decorated chambers of the pyramids of the 5th and 6th dynasty. All decorations could be put to the wall blocks in broad daylight which were then covered afterwards. Even most of the private mastaba tombs could be finished with no artificial light. So missing soot in all these constructions would be no mystery at all.

Well, but what IS funny: In all these buildings which did not need any artificial lighting, soot can be found. Even the walls of the crypts where those supposed light bulb reliefs were found are covered with soot, as this picture shows::

Soot on Dendera-Relief

Dendera – Soot on lamp relief

The original white color of the lime stone can be seen on the edges of the re-set block…

The book quotes from above have now been falsified twice. For one, many of the passages needed no artificial lighting, and second they also contain lots of soot.

The source of the soot is pretty clear: almost all buildings have been opened in antiquity and were tourist attractions through the centuries, even millenia. For example: Greek writings were found in the subterran chamber of the Great Pyramid.

There were thousands of visitors in them, and every single one of them, until the beginning of the 20th century, had to use oil lamps, candles or open flame torches to get light. And all those people spent a much larger amount of time in those buildings than the original builders.

Preliminary evaluation

One of the major foundational arguments for the lamp idea has disappeared. We now see that that the “no soot” argument is definitively untrue, as even buildings which did not need light during construction time have soot in them. A bad situation which can even get worse… Let’s take a look at

Smoking lamps

This was my first lesson in how slow riddles are dying in alternative science. Because the first time I discussed this topic was even before I had connection to Usenet: in 1989!

I hadn’t written anything critical about Dendera or even Daeniken yet – that was still five years in the future. But Daenikens new book “In den Augen der Sphinx” had just been published, and the passage I quoted on top of the page was discussed in one group of the so called “Maus-Netz”.

Well, if Daeniken was right, then all churches, houses and palaces before the invention of electric light must have been soot holes, because they all had candles or oil lamps as primary light sources. I hadn’t noticed that, so there was a chance, that Daeniken was wrong. So I concluded that an experiment was necessary here.

I took an ash tray, filled it with olive oil, formed a wick out of cotton wool, and soaked it with oil. Then I put the wick onto the side of the bowl so that it stuck out about 5 mm over the rim. I lit it – and it produced a steady, smokeless flame. Only an extremely long wick lead to an emission of soot.

I put a white dish over the flame, about 50 cm high, but I was unable to detect any trace of soot even after a long time. And it was nice to find out after some years that even experts like the famous material experts Clarke/Engelbach shared my opinion:

“Many visitors to the monuments express surprise that the painting could have been carried out in the darkness of the tombs and in the dim light of the temples. The Egyptian lamp was of the simplest type, merely a wick floating in oil. It is not infrequently represented in the scenes in the tombs, where it usually takes the form of an open receptacle mounted on a tall foot which, in the smaller examples, can be grasped in the hand. In the pictures, there arise from the receptacle what we may assume to be wicks or flames, always curved over the top as if blown by a current of air. Stand lamps in limestone have been found in the pyramid of El-Lahun, and representations of them in stone in the ‘Labrinth’ at Hawara. In Egyptian houses, small dishes were also used as lamps. They usually have their rims pinched into a spout …

The absence of smoke-blackening in the tombs of the kings is also no difficult explanation. If olive-oil is used, there is very little smoke, and a suitable covering over the lamp, for which various methods readily suggest themselves, would very easily prevent carbon being deposited on the ceiling.”[ 4 ]

And even from the region where artificial light was most necessary we have notes from the Egyptians themselves: The many 100 m long tombs in the Valley of the Kings were definitively lighted with oil lamps and wicks, since we have protocols about wicks and lamps handed out to the workers each day from the Valley of the Kings – where it was carefully documented how many wicks of what length, and how much oil was given to each worker – there is no mystery at all how these tombs were illuminated. There is no place for pharaonic flash lights.[ 5 ]

After I posted my results to the “Maus” I made first contact with the wide spread unwillingness in alternative science to accept unpleasant results. “Bullsh*t”, “nonsense”, “I don’t believe you”, were the comments to my sootless lamps. I wrote back “People, you mustn’t believe me, just try it out for yourselves.”. Again I drew a blank: “I don’t need to try it out, I know what happens and it’s not what you are posting here” was the only reaction.

Yes, and THAT is precisely the reason why the “mystery of the soot” is still part of every new publication and of at least one “mystery park”….


Well, as Mr. Spock would say. “Fascinating”. None of the premises of the soot fans are correct. There is soot, although the Egyptian lamps were almost sootless and even buildings in no need of artificial illumination contain soot. This whole argument is as wrong as an argument can be. But just because we are sure that the soot comes from non-Egyptian sources it is still no evidence that can be used to propose alternative lighting methods.

BTW: It is possible to reduce soot from oil lamps by putting salt into the oil. I didn’t try it out because I couldn’t get soot even without salt in the oil…


[1] Däniken, Erich von; Die Augen der Sphinx, Ullstein 1989, P. 215
[2] Ercivan, Erdogan; Das Sternentor der Pyramiden, Bettendorf 1997, P. 83
[3] explained in in: Lauer, Jean-Phillipe; Das Geheimnis der Pyramiden, Herbig 1980, P. 37 f
[4] Clarke, Somers & Engelbach, Reginald; Ancient Egyptian Masonry, London 1930, P. 201
[5] Brunner-Traut, Emma; Alltag unter Pharaonen, Herder 1998, P. 245

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


These small pots which were found in the proximity of today’s Baghdad are the best candidates for electro-chemical devices found so far [ Baghdad Battery ].
The oldest were found in a Parthi settlement, which was inhabited around the time of Christ’s birth. The discovery site – a presumed hill which coincidentally was found to be an ancient village in 1936 – suggests even a later settling. The other pots even might have to be settled into the period to 1200 CE. From this, any usage of such devices in ancient Egypt seems to be very improbable.

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.

Such devices were unly useable once. If they were used in large numbers in daily life, remnants of them must have been found somewhere. This is known to the propagists of this idea, too, so they strip down the usage of electric light to “sacral purposes only”. The situation gets scizophrenic here: On one hand the author show a problem (soot) which only could be solvend (in their opinion) by massive use of electric lighting, on the other hand they reduce their theory to a small scale sacral use themselves. Their own theory therefore can not solve the problem created to initiate the idea!

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 i 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.

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 no voltage at all. And those few who could contains the metal pairing copper/iron which are only 0.5 volts apart on the electro-chemical scale. This excludes any systematic research of the phenomenon which would be the basis for the development of a lamp.

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 zinc 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:

•One 1 Watt bulb needs 40 batteries per working day.
•A worker needs a lamp
•10 workers were digging out each site
•Each excavation took two years (veeeery carefully estimated)
•=> each system needed 292000 (!) batteries!
•Total weight: 584 tons!
•there are 400 large underground sites in Egypt
•=> 116 million batteries were necessary
•==> With a total weight of 233600 tons!
•All these batteries would have to lie around somewhere as scrap iron or waste. The find situation for batteries in Egypt is however ZERO!

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
17,400 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!

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”…

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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