What a museum worker calls an "amazing story" has emerged out of the south of Sweden, where a 1,500-year-old sword from the Iron Age was found in a lake—not by archaeologists or maritime researchers, but by an 8-year-old from Minneapolis. NPR reports on Saga Vanecek's discovery in July, made as she crawled on her hands and knees in the shallow waters of Lake Vidostern. Accustomed to bumping into rocks and sticks as she played in the lake, Saga instead stumbled on an object in the mud with a handle. "She picked up the object, lifted it high above her head, and shouted as if she was Pippi Longstocking, 'DADDY! I FOUND A SWORD!'" her dad, Andy Vanecek, said in a Wednesday Facebook post, adding it's the "first sword of its kind to ever be found in Scandinavia." The BBC notes the water level in the lake was low due to drought, which made it easier for Saga to find the sword.
An expert from a local museum, which shows a pic of the "exceptionally preserved" sword, says the weapon is about 33 inches long and came in a wood-and-leather sheath. "Why it has come to be [in the lake], we don't know," the expert tells the Local, via NPR. "But perhaps it's a place of sacrifice." Also found by researchers, who swore Saga and her family to secrecy until now so the site wouldn't be overrun by amateur excavators: a brooch from around the same time period as the sword, as well as an 18th-century coin, per MPR. Saga's dad is pretty excited, noting, "I'm a huge Minnesota Vikings fan, and this looks just like a Viking sword." As for Saga, who moved to Sweden with her family in 2017, the Guardian notes some have dubbed her the country's "true queen" for her find. "All hail! Queen Saga! Lady Vanecek of ... Vidostern!" one acolyte tweeted. (Read more discoveries stories.)