An Egyptian vase that for 30 years was dismissed as fake by experts, was yesterday revealed to be genuine - and older than the Pyramids.
Tests carried out at York University have revealed the vase to be from a very early Egyptian burial dating back more than 5,000 years.
Experts believe the vase may be one of the earliest depictions of an Egyptian burial on a ceramic vessel in the world.
Decorated with an unusual burial scene, it had been considered a fake, as it was "too good to be true". The decoration on the vase shows a figure on a boat, lying on its back and curled in the foetal position. This is how some early Egyptians may have been buried before mummification was introduced.
Ceryl Evans, head of museums and arts for Harrogate borough council, said: "We had the vase analysed and York University's archaeologists said it was 5,000 years old.
"After that we had the paint tested and discovered it was also genuine and had not been 'improved' by the Victorians as some experts believed."
The vase will be on show at the Royal Pump Room Museum in Harrogate from tomorrow, as part of a small display of Harrogate's archaeological collections. The vase dates back to the Predynastic era around 3,200BC.
It is one of several hundred Egyptian artefacts from the private collection of Benjamin Kent, who lived at Tatefield Hall, Beckwithshaw, near Harrogate, until his death in 1968. He bequeathed his collection to Harrogate council. Mr Kent, who was a wealthy farmer and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, lived in a house filled with rare artefacts.
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