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‘Daddy, I found a sword!’: 8-year-old former Minn. girl finds 1,500-year-old pre-Viking era relic in Swedish lake

1,500-year-old pre-Viking era sword discovered in a Swedish lake by Saga Vanecek. Courtesy / JÖNKÖPINGS LÄNS MUSEUM

An 8-year-old girl who grew up in the Twin Cities and now lives in Sweden made the discovery of a lifetime earlier this summer while skipping rocks in a Swedish lake: a 1,500-year-old pre-Viking age sword.

Saga Vanecek, who lives with her family in Sweden after spending the first seven years of her life in Minnesota, pulled the 33-inch sword from the bottom of the murky lake, held it up in the air and declared “Daddy, I found a sword!” her father, Andy Vanecek said in a recent Facebook post.

Saga said she had been in the lake throwing sticks and stones when she stumbled upon what she thought was a 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,” Saga told The Local, a Swedish news outlet.

Due to drought, the water level at the lake that Saga was swimming in was lower than normal, which the family said may have played a part in the 8-year-old’s discovery.

Initial estimations by scientists pegged the sword to be at least 1,000 years old, but further research indicated the sword was much older than that. Scientists at a Swedish museum dated the sword back to the 5th or 6th century AD, which is pre-Viking age.

“It’s about 85 centimeters long, and there is also preserved wood and metal around it,” said Mikael Nordstrom, a Swedish museum employee. “We are very keen to see the conservation staff do their work and see more of the details of the sword.”

For Saga’s father, the discovery was very fitting being a native Minnesotan.

“The cool thing is that I’m a huge Minnesota Vikings fan, and this looks just like a Viking sword,” said Vanecek.

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