An 8-year-old girl skipping rocks at a lake in Sweden earlier this summer made a remarkable discovery that now has many locals joking she should be crowned the new queen, in a nod to tales of King Arthur.
While wading in Vidöstern lake in Tånnö, Småland, Saga Vanecek stumbled upon what she thought was ‘some kind of stick’ – but, it turned out to be a sword dating back more than 1,000 years to the pre-Viking era.
Experts are now working to preserve the delicate relic before it’s eventually put on display at the Jönköpings Läns Museum.
Though Vanecek found the sword months ago, the news was kept under wraps until this week to give researchers time to scour the area for any other artefacts that could be nearby, according to The Local.
And in doing this, they found an ancient brooch from the same time period, as well as an 18th century coin.
The 8-year-old Swedish-American girl, whose family just moved back to the country from Minneapolis last year and are huge Minnesota Vikings fans, came upon the submerged treasure entirely by chance as she played in the shallow water on her way to retrieve a buoy.
It measures 33 inches (85 cm) long and has components made from metal and wood.
‘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,’ she told The Local.
‘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 museum estimates the sword can be traced back to the 5th or 6th century.
It will eventually be displayed to the public, but researchers say it will be several months before this happens.
‘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,’ Mikael Nordström from the museum told The Local.
‘Why it has come to be there, we don’t know. 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.’
Not only is the discovery exciting for its historical significance, but for the family, it’s also a reminder of home.
‘The cool thing is that I’m a huge Minnesota Vikings fan, and this looks just like a Viking sword,’ her father told The Local.