A ROMAN pot, thought to be up to 2,000 years old, will go on to display to the public for the first time in September.

The artefact, which new analysis shows was used to store dairy products, was found in a pit with other objects during excavations for a garage in Highworth.

Lead “staples” on one side of the storage jar, which is 2ft tall and 11/2 feet wide, show where a break was fixed by its owners 1,700 years ago.

Conservator Kelly Abott, of Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, said: “We don’t normally see such massive jars come through and this one is a whopper. The other thing which is unusual is the repair work.

“We know the pot was damaged in antiquity, but instead of throwing it away the owners repaired it, which is almost a Roman variation of recycling.

“It could have been passed through a family and was obviously a valued item.”

The Highworth Pot was found in June 2008, on the Romano-British site during the excavation work at a private property.

The discovery was made in Cricklade Road, not far from Ermin Street, which at one time connected the Roman towns of Glevum, now Gloucester, Silchester in Hampshire and Corinium, now known as Cirencester.

The jar is thought to date from between the late 3rd and early 4th centuries AD, but conservator Beth Werrett and other archaeological specialists now believe it may be up to 200 years older than had been originally thought.

With the help of donations, it was purchased at auction a year later by Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

Kelly said: “We are very fortunate that the Friends of the Museum paid for analysis, which was undertaken at the University of Bradford.

“It showed the pot was used to store dairy products, possibly milk, and other dried goods “ Analysis has also been carried out by Cardiff University, using an x-ray fluoroscope, which examines the internal workings of objects, to determine the type of metal in the clay stitching.

The Highworth Historical Society originally thought the pot was probably used as a funeral urn and was Savernake Ware, a Roman pottery industry that was based in Savernake Forest.

Once the analysis and restoration work is complete, the pot will go on display at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery following a revamp of the ground floor galleries.

Beth Werrett will give a talk about the conservation effort at the museum in Bath Road, Old Town, tonight at 7.30pm.