8-year-old skipping stones finds a 1,500-year-old Viking sword

Saga Vanecek, 8, who used to call Minneapolis home, had your typical day in Sweden one day over the summer. She went to the lake, took a dip, started throwing stones to see how far they’d skip, then pulled a 1,500-year-old sword with apparent Viking ancestry out of the lake.

Andy Vanecek

“She walked very slowly and played in the water just like the child does, I was a little frustrated that she did not come back quickly. But then she picked up something that I thought was a stick and held it up as Pippi Longstocking,” said Andrew Vanecek — wearing a Minnesota Wild hat, for the record — when he talked to the Swedish news site VN.se this week.

An initial inspection by people who know their swords put the piece at about 1,000 years old. Now, they think it might be older, another Swedish news site reports.

“Why it has come to be there, we don’t know,” [Mikael Nordström from Jönköpings Läns Museumhe] said. “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.”

The sword has prompted teams including museum staff to carry out further searches in the area, though none have resulted in such an important find. The first led to the discovery of the brooch but the oldest object found in the second search, on Wednesday, was a coin from the 18th century.

“We asked Saga [not to tell anyone about the sword] because we were afraid that if this find would go public too soon, there would be a lot of people there, perhaps destroying our possibility to find things later,” he added.

The kid didn’t tell anyone but her best friend. Wednesday was the first day she was allowed to speak about it. But her father beat her to it with a Facebook post.

It's official! With today's press release we can finally reveal what Saga found in Lake Vidösten this summer… a sword…

Posted by Andy Vanecek on Wednesday, October 3, 2018

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

The family moved from Minneapolis in 2017 to be closer to the maternal side of the family.

(h/t: Paul Tosto)