The Daily Telegraph

Glue could get Bronze Age experts out of sticky situation


A 5,000-YEAR-OLD clay pot has been reassemble­d to go on display to the public – but using reversible glue in case experts want to study the shards again.

The Bronze Age vessel was unearthed, along with human remains and other artefacts, during a demolition project in Fife 42 years ago.

Work to flatten a shop and hotel in Kirkcaldy High Street was halted 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 skeletons while the other contained the pot, a flint arrowhead and a flint knife.

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

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

The recent conservati­on work was carried out at the Scottish Conservati­on Studio in Edinburgh, where specialist­s preserved the vessel using a reversible adhesive that allows the pot to be dismantled again, if need be.

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

When it was found, the patterned clay vessel, which is about six inches in diameter and height, was reconstruc­ted by University of Glasgow archaeolog­ists. The pot has been partially filled as only 75 per cent of the original vessel survives.

The filled material was then painted a different shade to the original so visitors can tell where additions have been made. 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, can now go ahead at the University of Glasgow.

Marta Innes, who is part of the university’s 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.”

 ?? ?? The restored Bronze Age vessel now on display at the Kirkcaldy galleries in Fife
The restored Bronze Age vessel now on display at the Kirkcaldy galleries in Fife

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