A BRONZE Age food vessel discovered during demolition work 42 years ago has gone on display at a nearby museum following conservation work. 

The 5000-year-old pot was among a number of objects unearthed along with human remains during work on Kirkcaldy High Street in June 1980. 

Work to demolish a shop and hotel was forced to stop when a bulldozer driver caught sight of some partially buried bones. 

Three burial cists – or ancient coffins – emerged in the subsequent dig, two of which held human remains while the other contained the food vessel, a flint arrowhead and a flint knife. 

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The vessel was added to the collection at Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery and has recently undergone conservation work after curators noticed the item had become unstable. 

It has now gone on display again at the Kirkcaldy Galleries for the first time since 2011 when it was part of an exhibition called Changing Places. 

Jane Freel, a curator with cultural charity OnFife which manages the Kirkcaldy collections on behalf of Fife Council, said: “We’re thrilled the visitors can now see this magnificent object for themselves as it offers a fascinating glimpse into Kirkcaldy’s distant past.”

When it was first found the patterned clay vessel, which is 165mm in diameter and 160mm high, was in several pieces and had to be reconstructed by University of Glasgow archaeologists at the time. 

The recent work was carried out by specialists at the Scottish Conservation Studio in Edinburgh, who preserved and safeguarded the vessel using a reversible adhesive that allows the pot to be dismantled again if required. 

The pot has been partially filled as only 75% of the original vessel survived. 

The filled material was then painted a different shade from the original pot so visitors can tell where the additions have been made. 

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The work was funded by Friends of Kirkcaldy Galleries.

A grant from the Historic Environment Support Fund means post-excavation analysis of the other objects found at the site, including the human remains, is able to go ahead.

Following an initial appraisal in April, the artefacts have been transferred to a laboratory at the University of Glasgow where analysis will take place.

Marta Innes, who is part of the University of Glasgow archaeology team, said: “It’s a rare privilege to reanalyse an ancient object so many years after its discovery.

“We’re hopeful this will help us better understand the prehistoric life of the local area.”