Saga Vanecek, 8, was helping her father with his boat when she came across an epic discovery.
The water was extremely low on Sweden’s Vidostern lake due to a drought when Andy Vanecek asked Saga to wade out to his boat to bring him a buoy on July 15.
“She was taking her own sweet time, you know, like kids do — picking up clams and rocks and throwing them around and stuff. Then she picked up what I thought was a stick,” Vanecek told As It Happens host Carol Off.
“She kind of, like, looked at the stick a little strangely and she raised it high, kind of like a proud Pipi Longstocking stance, and said: ‘Papa I found a sword!'”
Vanecek was skeptical at first. From a distance, it looked like a stick. And he was eager to get home to watch the World Cup final match between France and Croatia.
But he hopped out of the boat and went to examine his daughter’s discovery.
“Sure enough, she’s got this big rusty sword that looks like a Viking sword in her hand,” he said.
Vanecek sent photos of Saga’s discovery to a local archeologist.
“She looked at the pictures. She got goosebumps. She said, ‘That is definitely a Viking-age sword or older,'” he said.
Soon after, the Jonkoping County Museum came to collect the 85-centimetre blade with its wood and leather holster.
Experts have since examined it and determined it to be approximately 1,500 years old.
‘So many cool possibilities’
The museum’s Mikael Nordstrom said the little girl’s find prompted others to seek out long-lost treasures in the lake.
A brooch from between 300 to 400 AD was also found.
Archeologists are trying to understand why the items were there.
“They may have buried someone there. They also think it could have been an offering to the gods,” Vanecek said.
“There’s so many cool possibilities but, I mean, we’ll never know for sure.”
Written by Sheena Goodyear with files from The Associated Press. Interview with Andy Vanecek produced by Richard Raycraft.