8-year-old girl finds Iron Age sword in a Swedish lake

Saga Vanecek was skipping rocks at her family’s summer home on the shores of Vidöstern lake in Tånnö, southern Sweden, when she spotted something metallic in the shallow water. She pulled it out and saw that it had a hilt and a pointy end and hollered to her father that she’d found a sword. She had indeed, but Saga had little idea just how proud she’d done her name.

Her family contacted archaeologist Annie Rosén at Jönköping County Museum. She determined that it dates to the Iron Age and is at least 1,000 years old, probably closer to 1,500 years old. The sword is rusted from many centuries under water and will need conservation, but even so museum experts have been able to discern that it is a metal and wood sword in very good condition.

“It’s about 85 centimentres [33.5 inches] long, and there is also preserved wood and metal around it,” explained Mikael Nordström from the museum. “We are very keen to see the conservation staff do their work and see more of the details of the sword.”

Anyone hoping to see the sword will have to wait at least a year, Nordström told The Local, explainig [sic]: “The conservation process takes quite a long time because it’s a complicated environment with wood and leather, so they have several steps to make sure it’s preserved for the future.”

“Why it has come to be there, we don’t know,” he said. “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. At first we thought it could be graves situated nearby the lake, but we don’t think that any more.”

Meanwhile, Saga has become the toast of her class, and she more than deserves after keeping her fantastic find secret for months. Museum archaeologists asked her to bite her tongue so they could explore the lake without having to fend off treasure hunters.

Saga confirmed to The Local that the only person she told was her best friend, who she really trusts. Thursday was the first day she could reveal her story to her classmates, and her teacher threw a party to celebrate, handing out ice creams and showing Saga’s TV and radio interviews to the class.

“They thought that it was very fun and interesting to know about my story,” said Saga.

I hope I could have been as discrete as she is when I was eight, but I’m pretty sure I would have blabbed. I doff my cap at thee, Saga.