The 600-year-old bronze silhouette of a snarling dog unearthed on Teesside is baffling archaeologists.
Rachel Grahame with the mystery bronze dog
The 9in-long "Hound of Hartlepool" was found by Tees Archaeology before building work began on the new Headland Sports Hall.
The dog has now been cleaned up and conserved by Durham University experts who are trying to work out what it is.
They believe it was nailed to a house and may have been a weathervane or a "Beware of the Dog" sign.
Rachel Grahame, project officer for Tees Archaeology, said: "This is one of the most unusual archaeological objects to have come to light in the region.
"At some point in the past it must have fallen down a narrow gap between two buildings - perhaps during a storm and has been forgotten. Remarkably, it has survived the centuries."
Other experts believe the dog may have been a sign outside a public house.
Stephen Sherlock, the director of the excavation, said: "The teeth and eye are particularly crudely cut suggesting that this is home-made rather than made by a craftsman."