World / Science & Health

Girl, 8, dubbed 'Queen of Sweden' after drawing ancient pre-Viking-era sword from lake

AP, Staff Report

Her name conjures up Old Nordic tales about heroic accomplishments — and that is exactly what Saga this summer did when she stumbled on a pre-Viking-era sword in a lake in southern Sweden.

Saga Vanecek, 8, was helping her father with his boat in Lake Vidostern when she stepped on an 85-cm (34-inch) sword in a holster made of wood and leather. The sword is believed to be about 1,500 years old.

“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,” Vanecek told The Local, an English-language Swedish news website. “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.”

The report added that locals joked that the discovery made his daughter the new “queen of Sweden,” drawing parallels with Britain’s ancient King Arthur, who in legend was bequeathed the right to rule after being handed the sword Excalibur by the Lady of the Lake.

Mikael Nordstrom of the local Jonkoping County museum said Friday that the little girl’s find prompted others to seek out long-lost treasures in the lake, whose water level is low due to drought. A brooch from between A.D. 300 and 400 was eventually found.

Nordstrom said archaeologists are trying to understand why the items were there. One suggestion is sacrificial purposes.

According to The Local, Saga found the sword when the family was putting out a buoy to warn boats of a slab of concrete.

The sword won’t be displayed for at least a year, Nordstrom told the site. “The conservation process takes quite a long time because it’s a complicated environment with wood and leather.”

Saga grew up in Minneapolis, but the family moved back to Sweden in 2017 to be closer to the maternal side of her family.

“The cool thing is that I’m a huge Minnesota Vikings fan, and this looks just like a Viking sword!” she told The Local.