Experimental Archaeology: Wise Jar - An Ancient Iranian Invention for Liquid Separation From 5thCentury A.H.(9th A.D.)

Document Type: Research Paper


Iranian Research Organization for Science & Technology (IROST)Tehran,Iran


After advent of Islam especially through and after the reign of Abbasid caliphs; interest of scientists and engineers was
drawn towards the” mechanical or ingenious devices”. The wise jar was originally designed by Ahmad ibnMüsä, the
famous Iranian scientist who lived in the 5th century A.H.(9th A.D). It consists of a jar with a mechanically intelligent
mechanism inside, which is capable of separating two liquids on the bases of their densities. This jar was constructed
and tested as a part of an experimental archaeology research project at the Iranian Research Organization for Science &
Technology (IROST). The jar was designed in detail, and was manufactured and tested according to a book entitled Al-
Hiyal; written by Ahmad ibn Müsä. However, to establish the correct operation of the jar, minor modifications were made
to its original design set up and it was tested, and as a result the jar operated as expected by the book.