Swimming in a lake during the summer. Ahhh...
It's something that millions of people around the world do, and it's understandable why. It's more than just a great way to cool off and relax. There's something timeless about being in the great outdoors in these places that are surrounded by nature. You're sharing a space with animals—fish, birds, and deer who are walking to the shore to grab a drink.
You're also sharing the space with your ancestors, right? Just think about it. Who else swam in this lake? Explorers. Traders. Indigenous families. What was their world like?
Well, eight-year-old Swede Saga Vanecek recently got to contemplate this first hand. This summer, she was swimming in Lake Vidostern in southern Sweden with her family. As she searched the bottom of the lake for sticks or rocks to throw, she found a very curious object instead.
"Dad, I found a sword!"
And lo and behold, she was right!
According to a recent press release from the Jonkoping County Museum in Sweden, Saga found a sword that likely dates back 1500 years. This would mean that it would date back to even before the Viking era, which began in the late 700s. The sword was well preserved and still inside its scabbard (or sheath). Incredible!
Given the legends about The Lady of the Lake giving the magical sword Excalibur to King Arthur, many people online are suggesting that Saga should be named a queen. Whether that is going to happen or not, archeologists have been searching further in the area to see what else they can turn up.
Listen to young (Queen?) Saga talk about her find to a Swedish reporter in this BBC video.
Is climate change changing archeology?
Here is an interesting thing to contemplate about this find. One of the possible reasons that Saga was able to find this sword was because of a local drought that had lowered the level of the lake. Suddenly that ancient relic wasn't all that deep down, anymore.
It's a pattern that we're noticing more and more, especially in Arctic areas where the ground is normally frozen solid all year (or permafrost). From 40,000-year-old worms brought back to life and perfectly preserved foals to ancient Norwegian artifacts under ice, both man-made relics and fossils are getting exposed in ways that they haven't been in thousands of years. This is all a direct result of the warming of the planet.
True, it's a little more questionable whether the lake's drought—and therefore Saga's discovery–was really a direct result of climate change. But all the same, it seems like discoveries like these are just the tip of a melting iceberg!