Medievalists.net gets to know Archaeologist and Heritage Consultant Emma Boast, a.k.a. Bruni, in an exclusive one-on-one interview!
I am a Freelance Viking Age Archaeology and Heritage Consultant, Managing Director at Nidavellnir (Viking Age Historical Clothing and Nalbinding) and Site Assistant at York Archaeological Trust. My passion is everything to do with the Viking Age, but I specialise in Viking Burial culture, artefact and cultural symbolism, mythology and the reproduction of historical crafting techniques.
Why’d you go medieval?
I was 8 years old when I knew that I loved everything historical and ancient. My Grandma use to draw Viking age men and women for me to colour in as a child and my Nan always encouraged me to be inquisitive and watch TV documentaries. From there a love and desire to learn grew. I am fortunate that I have always known what I wanted to pursue and achieve. Most people will see me bimbling around York dressed in historical costume, especially during Jorvik Viking Festival. Many people from the Viking heritage and re-enactment community know me as “Bruni” which is my Viking nickname, meaning flame or fire in Old Norse. I think I am more at home dressed as a Viking than I am in modern clothes!
Favourite medieval thing?
I love immersive archaeological and historical environments, whether they are museums and artefact collections or natural landscapes. Physically walking in the footsteps of people from the Viking Age gives me goose-bumps. Attempting to understand different types of Viking cultural interactions in these places and seeing the landscapes they were living in gives certainly makes you reflective. I also love reconstructing ancient skills, learning, developing and sharing this type of historical knowledge is wonderful, which is why I started up my own business in 2013 providing authentic Viking age reconstructions of clothing and Nalbinding. I find crafting alone or with company is very therapeutic.
If you could time travel, would you live medieval?
Yes, in a heartbeat! I would like to think I have at least some skills that I could use to survive during this time. I’ve experienced a few things over the years from Viking Age sword fighting, to archery, sailing, crafting and animal husbandry. I think I might have stood a little bit of a chance. I think I would prefer rural living however, as wonderful as the hussle-n-bussle of a Viking city such as Jorvik or Birka would have been; to just be left to experience life and survive by your own means is very appealing to me.
Favorite modern thing?
Woolly jumpers, coffee, and the central heating being on in the house during the winter are amazing. I love the winter time and I love snow even more, but there is nothing like putting warm socks and clothes on from the radiator if you’re going outside. Being able to get warm instantly, being able to cook food instantly and having decent toilet facilities are great. I know these sound like pretty small things in the grand scheme of life, but I’m sure I would miss tiny aspects of the modern life if I was transported back to Viking times. I’d just have to adapt and overcome.
Find Emma’s shop Nidavellnir on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nidavellnir
See more details about Emma’s professional experience on LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/emma-“bruni”-boast-ba-ma-428332123