SCIENTISTS have confirmed that a 5,000-year-old Egyptian vase that pre-dates the Pyramids is genuine.

Experts used to think that the vase, belonging to Harrogate Museums and Arts, was a fake, as it was too good to be true. But scientists from York University have run scientific tests on the piece. The results revealed that it is from a very early Egyptian burial dating back more than 5,000 years to the pre-dynastic era.

Ceryl Evans, head of museums and arts for the Harrogate District, said: "This is an exciting new discovery and highlights just how much modern science can teach us about the past."

The decoration on the vase shows a figure on a boat, lying on its back and curled in the foetal position.

The vase will be on show at the Royal Pump Room Museum, in Harrogate, from tomorrow, as part of a display of the town's archaeological collections.

Published: 05/08/2004