Book of deer
The Book of Deer. Cambridge University Library

Scottish archaeologists believe they have found the location of a "lost" monastery where one of the first Scottish Gaelic texts was written.

The monastery's whereabouts has remained hidden for a thousand years, despite years of searching by experts attempting to locate the site.

But now a group of researchers, students and volunteers has found archaeological evidence which could confirm a field 30 miles north of Aberdeen to be the site of the lost monastery.

Archaeologists think it was here that the historic Book of Deer was written by Aberdeenshire monks in the 10<sup>th century.

While the main gospel text is in Latin, by the 12<sup>th century, paper and other writing materials were so scarce that monks used the blank spaces and margins of the manuscript to document land transactions and other notes in Gaelic – the first written evidence of the language.

The notes provide a unique window into the everyday lives of people living in ancient Scotland.

The book itself has been in the care of the Cambridge University Library since 1715.

"The Book Of Deer is a tiny book but it has left a huge legacy for us, not only in the north-east but for the whole of Scotland," Michelle MacLeod, from Aberdeen University told The Herald.