Archaeologists believe they have finally uncovered the location of a “lost” monastery where one of the earliest Scottish Gaelic texts was written.

The Book Of Deer is the first written evidence of Scottish Gaelic in existence and provides a unique snapshot of day to day life in ancient Scotland.

The precise location of the Pictish monastery where it was written has been a mystery for 1000 years, and a decade of searching various locations around the Aberdeenshire village of Old Deer, 30 miles north east of Aberdeen, had proved futile.

Now, a team of archaeologists, students and volunteers working in the area have found evidence that corresponds to the correct monastic period, raising hopes they have finally pinpointed the site of the long-lost monastery. The Book Of Deer was written in Latin by the Aberdeenshire monks around the 10th century.

Material for writing on was so scarce the monks later used the blank spaces and margins of the gospel book to record land transactions and other notes in Gaelic, around the middle of the 12th century.

It means that as well as providing the first written evidence of Scottish Gaelic in existence, the Book Of Deer also provides fascinating detail about the everyday lives of people living in the area at the time, the church, culture and society.

The book has been held at Cambridge University library since 1715.

The story of how it was uncovered will be told in a BBC Alba documentary Air Toir Manachainn Dheir (The Lost Monastery Of Deer)” on Wednesday.

Dr Michelle MacLeod, senior lecturer of Gaelic at Aberdeen University, said: “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.”