The number of visitors to Lichfield Cathedral has trebled after an Anglo-Saxon carving of the Angel Gabriel, unearthed during excavation work, went on display.
The stone sculpture, found during work at Lichfield Cathedral in Staffordshire, has been dubbed the Lichfield Angel and is hailed as "the very foundation of English art".
The 63 centimetre-high (25ins) figure was discovered in the remains of an Anglo-Saxon church built to house the grave of St Chad, the first Bishop of Lichfield in AD 700, and discovered by archaeologists beneath the nave.
The limestone carving is part of a panel believed to show the angel visiting Mary with news that she was to become the mother of Jesus.
In the eight century, pilgrims travelled to view the shrine with the St Chad Gospels - an illuminated manuscript commissioned to adorn the shrine.
The cathedral is now enjoying a new generation of pilgrims, as visitors flock to see the carving while it is on temporary display there.
In the winter of 873-874 the shrine was destroyed by a Viking raiding party, before the carving was carefully buried by clergy in the Anglo Saxon St Peter's Cathedral.
It has gone on temporary display in the cathedral alongside the St Chad Gospels. It is the first time the two works of art have been together in more than 1,000 years.
They will remain together until March 31 when the Angel will be moved to Birmingham for expert study and conservation.
The Lichfield Gospels are also now available in a new "Turning the Pages" computer display thanks to collaboration between the cathedral, the British Library and the parish of Llandeilo.
Canon Tony Barnard, canon treasurer at the cathedral, said: "The Lichfield Angel and the Turning the Pages of the St Chad Gospels have created an enormous amount of interest following their launch on February 25. 'Angels Galore' in the morning attracted a good crowd of young people, who drew angels, made collages of them and generally got excited about the arrival of Archangel Gabriel.
"Since then there has been a steady stream of visitors coming from a wide area to see the two Saxon treasures. On Saturday afternoon I talked to successive groups for nearly two hours, non-stop."