Shop our historical maps

8-year-old Saga gets 15,000 SEK in finder's fee for 1,300-year-old sword

The sword as it looked when it was just pulled out of the dune. In the background archaeologists/divers from the County Administrative Board and Jönköping County Museum searching the site with metal detectors. Photo: Jönköping County Museum. Note: The image is a montage.

Share on FacebookShare on WhatsAppShare on TelegramShare on X (Twitter)I somras hittade då åttaåriga Saga ett svärd från järnåldern i sjön Vidöstern i en gammal järnåldersbygd i Småland. Nu meddelar Sveriges Radio att Saga har fått 15,000 kr i hittelön från Riksantikvarieämbetet, en summa som baseras på ett […]

Last summer, eight-year-old Saga found an Iron Age sword in Lake Vidöstern in an old Iron Age settlement in Småland. Now Sveriges Radio announces that Saga has received SEK 15,000 in wages from Riksantikvarieämbetet, a sum based on the estimated market value of the sword - which of course is not the same as the cultural-historical value.

Anna Östling, administrator at the National Heritage Board, contacted Allmogen with an explanation:

It is unusual for finds to be redeemed for amounts as high as SEK 15,000. Although the cultural and historical value is very high, it is not the same as the economic value. Saga's sword is of enormous scientific interest, but because of its relatively poor condition it is not considered to have a correspondingly high market value. When it was found, the sword was very corroded and broken in two places. Costly conservation work is needed to prevent the sword from continuing to fall apart. It is in such a state that it will never be able to be removed from its scabbard. 

The National Heritage Board hires experts who are well versed in the market and have extensive experience. The valuation of the sword is based on its market value, including its condition and conservation needs. The conservation cost is estimated to be around SEK 80 000. Once the conservation is complete, the sword will be transferred to a museum so that it can be displayed to the public.

Anna Östling, administrator at the Swedish National Heritage Board.

The age of the sword has been analysed by the Ångström Laboratory at Uppsala University using carbon-14 method and shows that the sword is between 1250-1370 years old, i.e. from between 650 and 770 AD. The method makes it possible to date archaeological remains and fossils containing organic material such as charcoal and bone. The fact that the sword was in a wooden scabbard made of aspen wood made this method possible.

All living things contain different types of carbon, specifically carbon isotopes. The carbon isotope carbon-14 undergoes radioactive decay with a half-life of 5 730 years, while the carbon-12 isotope is stable over time. At the same time as any living thing dies, the carbon-14 isotope begins to decay, and by measuring the ratio between these two isotopes, the age of the archaeological site can be calculated.

This dating is 95 per cent certain and thus places the sword in the middle period of the Late Iron Age in Sweden's prehistory, a period also known as Vendeltiden named after the rich archaeological finds from the boat grave field in Vendel near Vendel's church north of Uppsala.

Subscribe to YouTube:

If you appreciate Allmogens independent work to portray our fine Swedish history and Nordic culture, you are welcome to buy something nice in the shop or support us with a voluntary donation. Thank you in advance!

Support Allmogens via Swish: 123 258 97 29
Support Allmogens by becoming a member
Support Allmogens in your will