BERLIN (Reuters) - German archaeologists on Thursday unveiled a bronze and gold horse's head they said was believed to be a remnant of a 2000-year-old Roman statue.
A team digging at a former Roman town near Waldgirmes in central Germany found the life-sized head along with the foot of a rider on August 12.
"This bronze sculpture counts among the best pieces to have ever been found from the area of the former Roman empire," said Eva Kuehne-Hoermann, Hesse's state minister for science, at the unveiling in Frankfurt.
Experts say the statue dates from around 3 or 4 BC when the Roman outpost near Waldgirmes was set up, and probably depicts the Emperor Augustus.
After defeating the Romans at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9, German tribes broke up the statue and ritually disposed of the head in the well, the archaeologists said.
"Nowhere else is there a finding of this form or quality," said Kuehne-Hoermann.
The horse's bridle is embellished with images of Mars, god of War and Victoria, who personifies Victory.
Reporting by Caroline Copley; editing by Andrew Roche