Ancient Parabolic Concentrators


The issue of how the ancients made powerful solar concentrators has plagued theories from Archimedes to the Alchemist, from Asia to the Americas. Here there are no excuses, it is shown explicitly that if a smaller section of a sphere is used, it’s approximation to a perfect parabola increases exponentially. This means that if twenty degrees of a spherical surface is used, it has an accuracy of around one percent, whereas if five degrees are used it is near perfect. The concentration factors can be over two hundred thousand times depending on dish size and focal length chosen. A perfect parabola, in theory will concentrate sunlight infinitely, however perfection is an impossible goal. By using spherical surfaces, the task becomes a little easier once the build methods are understood.

The math that underpins the idea of spherical reflectors is indisputable, but it is only the functional physical objects that most people fully believe. It is also a matter of showing that the ancients had the requisite technology to build the devices in order to convince of their old world roles. Simply put, to make a spherical surface of seven degrees requires only a pendulum and a cutter or grinder. This can be combined with a potter’s wheel to speed up the process and guarantee the surface. See diagram.

How to construct a near perfect parabolic Concentrator

Ancient Concentrator Construction Method

With this set up an ancient artisan could make devices so powerful they would vaporize virtually anything at their maximum power. Beneath the maximum, there are points where materials can be melted or just warmed. In the Ancient Solar Premise many of the techniques are demonstrated and then placed in their historical context. This includes the roles played in ancient stonework, fine art, jewelry, weaponry, science and chemistry.

It becomes clear after a few examples that many of the anomalous artifacts from antiquity can only be explained by these devices. This proves to most that these devices were indeed used in many ancient cultures. Probably the most compelling relics are the vitrified stones that are found in locations as diverse as Asia to the Americas. These finishes cannot be created by any other available methods. This evidence raises many other questions about the development and decline of several disciplines and cultures for that matter.

The study of alchemy has been given short shrift by most scientists, the more prosaic recognize the origins of chemistry within the alchemical sects. However, the focus on lead to gold transforms has left most with little doubt that these guys had a poor understanding of chemistry and lacked the tools for the procedures. With these incredibly powerful solar devices on hand, the ancient technologist had the ability not only to create certain materials, but experiment with many more.

A short example in the field of ceramics illustrates the point. It is a widely held view that ceramics evolved with the evolution of the wood kiln and complex firing techniques. Most stones when placed in a fire will not alter their composition in anyway at all, yet this leap in technology was made throughout the ancient world. Jordan contends that it was through the use of these mirrors and sunlight that the first experimental work was carried out. Quite simply it is easy to expose a wide range of natural and man-made materials to temperatures in excess of a thousand degrees using parabolic concentrators.

Jordan’s research followed a similar path, various metals, rocks, gems, bricks and ceramics were simply left in the beam for a few minutes to see what happened. Even kids today appear to be treading the same path with homemade reflective dishes. Surely this is not beyond the scope of an ancient craftsman, who’s conventional methods would involve elaborate kiln set ups and mostly result in failure. The inference is that the development of these fields owed a great deal to the use this exquisite solar technology.

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  1. #1 by Phil Newman on March 22, 2011 - 2:38 pm

    afkjakjf lkalkfal;jfurav.,x ;w

  2. #3 by William Hearne on April 5, 2011 - 6:13 pm

    Hi Chris

    I wondered why do you tend to focus on the technology and not the historical side of your work?



    • #4 by secretsofthesunsects on April 6, 2011 - 9:34 am

      Hi Will

      I tend toward the solar devices because they are not as subjective as the historical aspects. The tools either work or they do not, whilst history is always a debate, even yesterday, I am guilty of dropping a pop history of the devices into the Secrets of the Sun Sects as merely a starting point. There is much more work to be done in this area, but I leave that up to the experts in the various locales. My knowledge is quite extensive in S.E. Asia, but I have only scratched the surface in Europe, Americas and the Middle East. If you wish, you are welcome to find the relics in any culture that used these devices.

      I can help with some of the areas, but I have yet to travel to the ancient sites of the Americas. It is usually a matter of identifying the anomalies, which include accurate stonework, unusual finishes, pure metals and the sun temple components. The book is really just a guide for applying the ancient solar model.

      These days I try to focus on the uses of this quite exquisite but simple technology. It will form part of the solution to the modern energy problem.


  3. #5 by Monika Zephier on June 9, 2011 - 6:50 pm

    besides parabolic devices, there were all the rock crystal lenses found in Viking tombs in Visby, Norway (probably plunder) and fluorite lenses/cones found in various Mounds in Ohio etc. There were some rock crystal balls incorporated in jewelry found in Merovingian graves in Europe, size ranging from marble to about walnut.

    • #6 by secretsofthesunsects on June 9, 2011 - 8:40 pm

      Hi Monika, yes I have read about these crystal lenses before. The Islamic scholars apparently tried to use lenses to turn the cone of light from the dishes into a pencil. I have tried putting glass in the intense beam and found it shattered after a very short period. I doubt any could take the power, but a couple of things arose from the research.
      Firstly to make glass and particularly clear glass requires high temps, which can be created with the dishes. I have had some fun annealing gems with these devices, currently trying to put small images into the core of the stones. Dishes may help explain the numbers of crystals and unusual gems in antiquity.
      The crystal lenses also could have had many other apps, which are currently only speculated about. Which exactly were you considering?

  4. #7 by 英会話上達 on January 23, 2012 - 1:58 am

    http://e英語.com/ Thanks for that awesome posting. It saved MUCH time 🙂

  5. #8 by snarftsoor on March 26, 2012 - 9:59 pm

    What I like to know is, which museums do have examples of these dishes so I can go there and see them for myself

  6. #9 by secretsofthesunsects on March 27, 2012 - 5:39 am

    Snarf, great question. British museum has plenty of them usually labelled as something less interesting. Your local museum of antiquities will no doubt have a couple. The most common examples are vanity mirrors (see Egyptian) others include siva/brahma disks. Some shields are also of the same quality, these are often damaged of course.
    A guide to finding museum examples is simple, look for very slight curves on ‘flat’ metal plates. IF you are lucky and they have a polished surface, the focal point can be found using a museum light. Trays that do not sit well on tables are another classic example. The sun motif is often a great indicator as to the utility. There are many more cases.

    See this page for real examples
    I hope that helps



  7. #10 by martin nix on March 27, 2013 - 1:00 am

    Hey, Chris, Solar Cookers international in Sacramento asked about you. They would like to include information about this in their June Newsletter. You may want to contact them at Excellent work. Martin

    • #11 by secretsofthesunsects on March 27, 2013 - 5:51 pm

      Hi Martin

      Yes I’d be delighted for the guys to add some info, will contact them soon.
      Have you tried to weld metals with your device? I managed to ‘weld’ two coins together by accident a few years ago, no flux and could not separate them no matter how hard I tried. Alas in cambodia they have no coins so can’t test here, but its a cute technqiue. It can be done with relatively small mirrors too.
      Keep up the great work

  1. Sun Disks of Antiquity Links « Secrets of the Sun Sects

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