Legend holds that King Arthur’s reign was foreseen by an enchanted lady in a lake, who granted him the sword Excalibur. By the same rules, Saga Vanecek, an eight-year-old Swedish girl, is now on a divine path to rule a great kingdom after she discovered a 1,000-year-old sword in a lake.
The sword may be Viking in origin and could date back to Arthurian times, in the 5th or 6th centuries, according to experts at the Jönköpings Läns Museum. That its discoverer is literally named Saga is further proof that this is the stuff of legends.
Vanecek found the rusted weapon over the summer while swimming in Vidöstern Lake in Småland with her family. "I felt something with my hand and thought it was a stick, and then I lifted it up and it had a handle that looked like it was a sword,” she recounted in an interview with the Swedish news site Värnamo Nyheter.
“Then I lifted it up and shouted at Dad: ‘Daddy I found a sword!’"
When Vanecek showed her father the relic, Värnamo Nyheter reported, he recognized that it was probably valuable, and consulted with friends about who to contact for an expert opinion. That led him to touch base with Annie Rosén, an archeologist at the Jönköpings Läns Museum, who immediately cut her vacation short to see the sword for herself. Rosén and her colleagues at the museum are now studying and preserving the ancient weapon, and plan to put it on display next year.
"It's about 85 centimeters long, and there is also preserved wood and metal around it," museum head Mikael Nordström told The Local. "We are very keen to see the conservation staff do their work and see more of the details of the sword."
"Why it has come to be [in Vidöstern Lake], we don't know," he added. "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.”
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Vanecek and her family were advised to keep the find a secret until the autumn, so that experts could scan the lake for other artifacts without public interference. Now that she’s able to recount her tale, she called the experience “pretty cool and a bit exciting."
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