Archeologists spend their entire lives uncovering the history of the world. Through their work, archeologists have been able to slowly piece together the past. This amateur archeologist uncovered one of the most significant archeological artifacts in Sweden’s history, and she did it by accident!
All of a sudden, the girl’s foot reached something hard. He began to yell at her, but she ignored his calls. Ducking under the surface of the water, she gripped the strange object from its spot in the mud. The girl swung it around, raised it above her head, and yelled triumphantly.
Saga Vanecek is an eight-year-old girl who was relocated by her parents from Minneapolis to Sweden so they could be closer to her family. The family was on the shores of Lake Vidostern spending some time at their holiday home. Saga, as if she was in a storybook, pulled a priceless artifact out of the water.
Saga absolutely adored swimming. Her summer days were spent up to her neck in the lake, skipping sticks and stones across the lake to see how far she could get them to go. As much as Saga loved the water, no one ever expected her to find what was hidden below the water.
Every single child, regardless of their gender, has most likely grown up with mythical stories of fantastic beasts, knights, and royalty. And what person hasn’t wished upon a shooting star that they could find a hidden treasure? Saga was a bit different, though. And she was about to have all of her fantasies become a reality.
Saga was spending her summer day the way that she usually did. She was by the water, enjoying the ducks playing on the shoreline, playing pretend, and poking in the crab holes. Her dad was on his boat close by. But neither one of them knew what they were about to find in the water.
Saga began to swim out further as her father yelled for her to grab the red buoy that was floating on the waves. Saga had to swim a little bit more to where the water was deeper. She felt the colder water whirling around her legs and she began to shiver. Suddenly, a cold object brushed against Saga’s foot, almost causing her to scream.
Because the summer had been so dry, the lake had lost a lot of water. The banks of the lake were a painful reminder that things used to be different. The drought that they were experiencing did much more than lower the water in the lake, it also brought up a secret from the past.
Entire civilizations have been found thanks to the work of archeologists. Did Saga actually find something from the past? She would soon find out that her day was going to a drastic turn!
Saga immediately thought it was a fish, but the object was too hard and large to be a fish. It was just as hard as a rock. As she moved her foot along the surface, she noticed that it was a strange shape. What could it be? She shoved her hands down into the water until she could feel the strange object with her fingers.
The object appeared to be long and made of metal. Her chin was still above the surface as she reached further into the water to try to get a good grip on the object, but it wouldn’t budge. Saga began pulling the object back and forth, allowing it to break free from the mud that was keeping it still. In one swing, Saga lifted it out of the water, raised it above her head, and then, she began to yell.
“Daddy, I’ve found a sword!” Saga screamed with excitement. As her father turned his head to look at Saga, he saw what appeared to be a twisted tree branch in Saga’s hands above her head. It only took a second for him to realize that Saga actually did find a sword. It was obviously rusted and old, but it was in fact, a sword.
Saga’s father examined the ancient weapon immediately. That’s when he decided to send it to the archeologists at the Jönköpings Läns Museum, so they could examine it, as well. Their findings created chaos among the experts. Divers started to arrive to search the bottom of the lake for more treasure.
The age of the sword is what truly fascinated people. The experts who examined the sword believe that it’s about 1500 years old, which dates back to the pre-Viking era. “It’s about 85 centimeters long, and there is also preserved wood and metal around it. We are very keen to see the conservation staff do their work and see more of the details of the sword,” explained the director of the museum, Mikael Nordström.
The museum’s archeologists did have one odd request to ask of the Vanecek. They needed the family to keep the sword a secret. They believed that if news of the sword got out to the public, then way too many people would want to scour the lake for more treasure. The archeologists wanted to be able to send the experts down there first.
While they searched the lake for more artifacts, the archeologists found a coin from the 18th century, and a brooch that they believed was as old as the sword, which can be dated back to the 6th century. It took a year for the archeologists to verify everything and look for other artifacts, but then Saga was given permission to tell her story.
Saga’s father, Andy, couldn’t keep it quiet for another second. He was a proud papa and wanted to share her wondrous story on Facebook. Soon, people were calling Saga “The Queen” and “Lady of the Lake.” Some were even comparing her tale to the well-known story of King Author and the Sword in the Stone.
Mikael Nordström from the Jönköpings Läns Museum was explaining the importance of this sword to their history when he said, “It’s not every day that one steps on a sword in the lake!” And what’s really astonishing is that it was found by eight-year-old Saga! But how has this finding affected Saga’s life?
So how does “The Lady of the Lake” feel about becoming internet famous? Her father states that fame hasn’t fazed her at all. She stills wants to be a doctor, a movie star in Paris, or a veterinarian when she’s older, but she does have a newfound interest in cool archeological “old stuff.”
“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. 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!’ ” Saga said in an interview with the Swedish news site, The Local. So how did the sword actually get into the lake?
“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. At first we thought it could be graves situated nearby the lake, but we don’t think that any more,” said Mikael Nordström from the Jönköpings Läns Museum.
Saga was finally able to tell the kids in her class about her find! Her teacher was so excited that she decided to buy the entire class ice cream while they watched the news to see Saga’s tale. “They thought that it was very fun and interesting to know about my story,” Saga said. Could there be more treasure in the lake? Only time will tell.