In Depth

Eight-year-old girl pulls 1,500-year-old sword out of Swedish lake

Locals have dubbed Saga Vancek the new ‘Queen of Sweden’

An eight-year-old girl found a 1,500-year-old sword while swimming in a lake in Sweden in July.

Saga Vanecek found the pre-Viking-era relic in the Vidöstern lake while at her family's holiday home in Jönköping County.

“I was outside in the water, throwing sticks and stones and stuff to see how far they skip, and then I found some kind of stick,” the eight-year-old told the English language news site The Local.

“I felt something in the water and lifted it up. Then there was a handle and I went to tell my dad that it looked like a sword,” she added.

“I picked it up and was going to drop it back in the water, but it had a handle, and I saw that it was a little bit pointy at the end and all rusty. I held it up in the air and I said ‘Daddy, I found a sword!’ When he saw that it bent and was rusty, he came running up and took it,” she continued.

The water at the lake by the family's summer house was low this year due to drought, which may have been part of the reason Saga was able to reach the sword.

Her father, Andy Vanecek, only realised the object’s significance after having a friend look at it, which prompted him to show it to local experts.

Archaeologists at the Jönköpings Läns Museum now say the ancient relic dates back to before the Viking Age, in the 5th or 6th century AD, and the discovery of it in the Vidöstern lake could mean the area is a hot spot for other archaeological treasures.

“Why it has come to be there, we don’t know,” Mikael Nordström, an expert from the museum, told the The Local. “When we searched a couple of weeks ago, we found another prehistoric object; a brooch from around the same period as the sword, so that means - we don’t know yet - but perhaps it’s a place of sacrifice,” he said.

Locals have “joked that the discovery made Saga the new ‘Queen of Sweden’, drawing parallels with legend of King Arthur who was bequeathed a right to rule after being handed the Excalibur sword by the Lady of the Lake”, says CNN.

Saga's discovery “led the museum and local council to carry out further excavations at the site, finding a brooch from the 3rd Century”, adds the BBC.

The museum said that its investigation of the lake is unfinished and it could yet turn up more ancient items.

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