Ancient Egyptian Electric Light or Something Else?

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The Dendera light is one of the most difficult objects to explain from the ancient world.  In what appears to be an obvious depiction of advanced technology, we are left to wonder what on earth this could have been and how it could have been built in a civilization with no known instances of electricity.  Is the Dendera light a relic of some lost ancient technology or are we misinterpreting the image?  Is it evidence of an ancient Egyptian electric device?

The Dendera light is a reference to a relief found in the Temple of Hathor.  The image, shown above, seems to show a transparent enclosure with a snake inside it.  The snake appears in a similar curl pattern to that of modern light bulb filaments.  At the end, it is resting on a pillar which looks very similar to an electric coil with arms stretched out where there would normally be positive and negative electrical connections.

Is this another Out of Place Artifact?

Some researches have noted that the temple ceilings show no evidence of soot or smoke residue, which would normally indicate torches were used.  At the same time, there is no hard evidence of that an ancient Egyptian electric light bulb existed other than this image.  However, as with the Baghdad Battery, there is more than meets the eye.

The Conventional Explanation

According to most archaeologists, the figure represents a lotus flower which spawns a snake from within.  This fits well with the growing consensus that ancient Egyptians used the blue lotus flower to create a powerful psychedelic effect.  In fact, the blue lotus flower is featured on nearly every single ancient Egyptian panel.  However, this particular depiction is very different from any other depiction from the region at the time.

Although this would fit well with conventional Egyptology, there does not seem to be any similar imagery associated with these very established Egyptian ideas outside of the Dendera complex.  Inside the complex, there are numerous other images similar to the one shown above, such as this one:

Testing an Ancient Egyptian Electric Device

Some scientists were so convinced that the Dendera Light is an example of ancient Egyptian electrical knowledge, that they built one themselves and tested it.  In the video below, you can see it working:

Although this does appear to be a fully functional lightbulb, it does raise the question as to what the source would have been for an ancient Egyptian electrical system?  Perhaps the Baghdad battery is part of this lost technology?

But Wait

Maybe there are clues within the text itself that is written all around the depictions.  And here is where it gets interesting.  According to, the text contains these cryptic lines:

Resomtus is alive with gloss in the sky (and) lives at the day of the New Year celebration.
He lights up in its house in the night of the child in his nest, by donating the light to the country from the birth bricks.

That certainly seems to hint more directly at something other than a lotus flower.  We may never know exactly what the Dendera Light is but it certainly does seem out of place doesn’t it?

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Penny Royal

A podcast about the weirdest place you have never heard about, Penny Royal begins with questions about a place and ends with questions about reality itself. Go down the rabbit hole with us.