An eight-year-old girl in Sweden has discovered a pre-Viking era sword, according to The Local, a Swedish English-language digital news site. The girl, Saga Vanecek, was going for a swim in a local lake when she stepped on the sword.
"I felt something in the water and lifted it up. It was a handle, and I told my dad that it looked like a sword!" Vanecek told Sveriges Radio. "It was pretty cool and a bit exciting."
The sword, which has garnered attention from archeologists and historians, is now with the Jönköpings Läns Museum where it is being examined in an attempt to determine where it came from, how old it actually is, and how it got to Sweden. The museum told The Local that right now they believe it may date back to the fifth or sixth century. The sword, along with a brooch later found in the area that seems to be from the same era, served as a catalyst for searches near the lake led by experts in archaeology.
Vanecek discovered the sword in the early summer, but after bringing it to the museum was asked to keep her discovery to herself. "We asked Saga [not to tell anyone] because we were afraid that if this find would go public too soon," Mikael Nordström, who works at the Jönköpings Läns Museum, told The Local. "There would be a lot of people there, perhaps destroying our possibility to find things later," he added. "So she has finally been able to tell her story after waiting for a couple of months."
The sword will not be on display in the museum for at least a year as it undergoes an extensive conservation process. The National Archives of Sweden is currently reviewing whether or not Saga Vanecek will be rewarded for her rare discovery.