Girl Unexpectedly Discovers an Artifact in Lake in Sweden

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. stumble upon / ˈstʌmbəl əˈpɑːn / (idiom) – to find or discover something accidentally

    She never expected to stumble upon a piece of jewelry in the lake.

  2. bizarre / bɪˈzɑr / (adj) – strange

    The archaeologist found a rock with a bizarre shape that he had never seen before.

  3. spark (someone’s) interest / spɑːrk ˈɪntrəst / (idiom) – to get someone’s attention

    The new park in the area sparked tourists’ interest.

  4. succeeding / səkˈsiːd ɪŋ / (adj) – coming or happening after something

    Scientists conducted succeeding searches after the success of the first search.

  5. dig up (something) / dɪɡ ʌp / (phrasal) – to remove something buried under the ground

    The experts successfully dug up more artifacts from the ground next to the lake.


Read the text below.

An eight-year-old girl discovered a sword during her family’s holiday in Sweden.

Saga Vanecek / ˈvænɛtʃɛk /, a Swedish-American girl, stumbled upon an unusual stick with a handle while playing in the shallow waters of Vidöstern lake near her family’s vacation house. Saga showed the item to her father, who assumed that the stick was a toy. After taking a closer look at the bizarre stick, Saga’s father decided to ask for help from a colleague who was interested in history and archeology.

The Vaneceks presented the artifact to local authorities, who confirmed that the item was indeed a sword, which turned out to be used in the pre-Viking Age. Experts from Jönköpings Läns [YAWN-cho-pings LANS] Museum identified the sword to be about 1500 years old.

The sword’s discovery sparked experts’ interest and prompted further excavation in the lake. In the succeeding projects, searchers dug up an 18th century coin and a brooch, a piece of jewelry usually pinned to a woman’s clothes.

Experts are uncertain how the sword and the other artifacts got into the lake. Their theory is that precious items used to be offered in the lake.

Immediately after Saga found the sword, museum staff instructed her family not to disclose the discovery to anyone. Authorities were concerned about the idea of people going to the lake and unintentionally destroying other possible artifacts in the area.

When Saga was finally allowed to share her discovery, she earned celebrity status and gave TV and radio interviews. A lot of people also began calling her the new Queen of Sweden. Moreover, there are talks that Saga might receive a reward for finding the sword.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you found a precious artifact, would you like to become popular like Saga? Why or why not?

• What form of reward do you think Saga should receive? Explain.

Discussion B

• What benefit do you think society can gain from the discovery of artifacts?

• If a place in your area were found to hold artifacts, would you like experts to conduct excavation projects there? Why or why not?