The setting for his spell as Sweyn will be more impressive: he will take his place at the head of the royal party in the quire at York Minster. As well as developing a suitably kingly persona, he has spent time cultivating Sweyn's trademark feature: a large, forked beard. 'I'll need to age by about 20 years for the part, so I've been experimenting with watered-down face paint as a grey dye for my beard. To add volume, I've got a bundle of theatrical hair to mix in with the natural growth. If this doesn't work, I'll resort to hair gel and I'll sculpt it!' In his research for his beard, as in other matters relating to Sweyn's life, Nathan has found that useful sources are lacking. 'They're more thin on the ground for Forkbeard than for Hardrada, who is generally more highly praised.'
None of this will deter Nathan from making the role of Sweyn his own, however, and he is clearly looking forward to being king for a day. 'The pomp and ceremony will be quite cool, and previous ceremonies at the Minster have felt very authentic. Besides, this is the closest I will get to being a king for real!'
Images from the event will appear in a blog entry in due course. Good luck, Nathan!
Nathan (and his beard)
In more Sweyn news, York Archaeological Trust's latest education newsletter features as its headline a new offer, the 'Sweyn Special', for local primary schools. The item is illustrated by an image of a warrior wearing a replica of the Anglo-Saxon Coppergate helmet and sporting a beard that has been plaited to create a 'forked' effect. These themed outreach sessions were piloted for the first time this week, and aim to create a greater awareness amongst local children of the significance of 2013 as an anniversary year.