A priceless statue of the Roman goddess Venushas has been found bricked up in the walls of a Cologne sewer.

Building workers found the statue in a 16-foot shaft under the city's streets while carrying out repair work on the sewer that dates back to Roman times.

They believe the statue was damaged when the city was destroyed in 355 AD and used as building material for the sewer wall when the city was recaptured and rebuilt a year later.

All that remains of the Venus, made of valuable Italian Carrara marble, is her naked torso. There is no head or arms.