HIS ornate marble tomb was officially declared lost centuries ago, but now the “lost tomb” of Robert the Bruce has found its final resting place in a church he knew well.

Sadly it is only a 3D reconstruction of the tomb of the victor of Bannockburn that is to go on display at Dunfermline Abbey Church, 690 years after his body was first interred in the Abbey that he had endowed during his life.

The body of Bruce, King of Scots from 1306 to his death at Cardross in 1329, was buried at Dunfermline Abbey and his grave marked by an elaborate white marble tomb which was specially imported from Paris.

Centuries after the tomb was lost during the excesses of the Reformation, a grave and fragments of gilded stone, believed to have been part of the tomb, were found in 1818, and six years ago a project began to re-create it in digital latterly led by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

The Lost Tomb of Robert the Bruce, a collaborative project between HES’s predecessor bodies and the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation (CDDV) to recreate the tomb from fragments, started in 2013.

The reconstruction was then exhibited at a number of venues across the country, and will now be permanently housed at Dunfermline Abbey.

Alex Paterson, chief executive of HES, presented the half-scale model of the lost tomb to the current kirk minister at an event in the church yesterday.

In the project, 3D laser scanning was used to record all 19 known surviving fragments of the tomb. This enabled them to be 3D printed and used by an advisory board of experts as the basis for academic study and reconstruction.

Their work, largely based on the forms of contemporary French royal tombs that have survived, then informed the creation of a half-scale 3D digital model used as the exhibition piece.

Dr Iain Fraser, archives manager at HES, said: “I am delighted to see the model of the lost tomb of Robert the Bruce installed here in Dunfermline Abbey Parish Church. This fulfils a project that started six years ago – among the first of its kind in Scotland to use cutting edge 3D scanning.

“The project would have been impossible without the active and willing contribution of a wide range of partners and as a result, the public can now see what Robert the Bruce’s tomb would have looked like, alongside his final resting place.”

On his death Bruce’s heart was removed so that it might posthumously be taken to the holy land, and it is buried at Melrose Abbey, another HES property in care.

The skeletal remains were reinterred beneath Dunfermline Abbey and the grave sealed with a thick layer of molten bitumen to protect it from interference.

The existing fragments of the tomb are held with National Museums Scotland, Abbotsford House, Hunterian Museum and Dunfermline Museum.

Reverend MaryAnn Rennie, minister at Dunfermline Abbey Church said: “It is exciting for the congregation here to receive the model of the lost tomb of Robert the Bruce. It allows those visiting to connect the 19th-century brass plaque to the more ancient burial cask of Robert the Bruce.

“We hope those visiting also experience why this site was important to Robert the Bruce and to the many pilgrims who have travelled here looking for a sense of peace and rest.”