AN angler in the Galician region of Santiago de Compostela has unwittingly uncovered a 700-year-old granite sculpture while out on a fishing trip.

Fernando Brey was on the hunt for trout when he tripped over a rock in the shallow water of the Rio Sar in North Western Spain.

Turning around, Brey saw that the moss-covered ‘rock’ was actually a carved figure that had sat eroding on the riverbed for years.

He said: “I noticed the stone was square – which is odd in a river – and then I looked at its lines, at the cape and at the shape of the head and I said to myself, ‘There’s something here’.”

Archaeology experts from the Pilgrimage Museum in Santiago de Compostela arrived and began inspecting the rare find.

Initial findings suggest the figure is a carving of the Virgin Mary holding a child and could possibly date back to the 14th century.

A statement from the Galician Government read: “On both sides of the Virgin, by each of her shoulders, are two angels.

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HISTORIC: The 700-year-old relic laying on the bed of the Rio Sar before experts removed it for examination

“They’re fairly worn away, but you can still make out each of their faces and a hand holding up an object or the Virgin’s own cape.”

It is thought that the figure once decorated the side of a building but was removed or dislodged when the building disappeared.

The face of the Virgin Mary is also removed in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to vandalise the piece.

The Minister for Culture and Tourism in Galicia, Roman Rodriguez, told the Voz de Galicia that the artefact was removed on Monday and taken to the Pilgrimage Museum for examination.

“Studies should tell us whether this is a very valuable gothic statue, and also the story surrounding how it came to be in the Rio Sar,” he said.

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