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Back in the early days of Plone 3, when buildout was still in it's infancy, nobody remembered to pin their versions. If you return to one of these buildouts, you get scary looking messages like this:
Error: There is a version conflict. We already have: zope.location 0.0 but zope.site 3.9.2 requires 'zope.location>=3.7.0'.
Here's how to try and rescue an old Plone 3 buildout:
Pin versions to a known good set
If the site is running successfully somewhere, you can grab the working versions from it by following these instructions.