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Archaelogical dig at Methilmill

A 250 year-old Methilmill mill which was covered in a mound of weeds has seen the light of day again.

A week-long archaeological dig, organised by Leven Valley Trust, enlisted the help of almost 50 volunteers to reveal the hidden secrets of the derelict area. Their efforts were rewarded. In addition to the mill, the intrepid local time team also unearthed a miller's cottage, mill stones and another mysterious inscribed stone.

Fife Council archaeologist Douglas Speirs, who took charge of the operation, told the East Fife Mail the dig had been a complete success. He said: ''We know all about the site now – its date, function and history.''

Douglas explained the small mill on the banks of the River Leven made porridge when it was first built and as better mill stones became available, it made more refined products, such as flour.The dig had also revealed surrounding buildings – a milltown – which were used to support the industry, including flour and grain stores, a kiln and miller's cottage.

Sixth year history pupils at Buckhaven High School also uncovered the cobbled yard and the inscribed stone.Douglas said: ''It had been re-used as a paving stone, and it is hard to make out, but it may be part of an ancient gravestone.''

One volunteer who signed up to the project for personal reasons was Diageo worker Gordon Sutherland.His grandparents lived in the miller's cottage, and his only record of the building was a photograph. He said: ''They stayed there in the 1920s. My grandfather was a Black Watch soldier who was killed at El Alamein during World War II.

''It gave me a real sense of satisfaction to uncover my family history.'' Bob Watt, trustee of the Leven Valley Heritage Trust, said the long-term aim for the site would involve creating a wildlife oasis around the former mill-lade and using the remains of the old mill buildings as focal points for the interpretation of local history.

He added: ''You can already see that this was once a tiny village. ''In the longer term, I hope we will try to recreate it.''