LUNT ROMAN FORT
WHAT WE LEARNED
Words written and PDFs created by our project researcher, Lydia Richmond
This site located along the ancient Roman Fosse Way was built around 2000 years ago in AD 60 as a turf and timber fort, unique due to the fact it is the only Roman Fort to contain a gyrus- a horse training ring.
Although there is little but foundations left of the original buildings on the site, there are full scale, working reconstructions of the gyrus and gate house, as well as the grain barn there today. We had a great time in the gyrus on our group visit learning to fight like a Roman legionary soldier!
We also got the chance to learn about the individuals that would have been living and working in the fort 2000 years ago. The fort would have been home to many different military men, including 480 Legionary and Auxillary soldiers- the former being soldiers who were Roman citizens and the latter soldiers from around the Roman Empire who did not have Roman citizenship-, as well as 120 Cavalry (horse riding) troops and Centurions who were Roman officers. Sometimes the Centurions would bring their wives to live on the fort with them, a melon bead bracelet was found on the site though to have belonged to one such wife.Often outside of Roman forts such as Lunt one would find small villages that would contain markets selling goods to the soldiers and villagers, as well as members of pre-Roman Celtic tribes.
One such tribe whose history is wrapped up with the Coventry fort’s is the Iceni, led by the revered female warrior leader Boudica. The Iceni tribe had lived peacefully with the Romans however when its leader Prasutagus passed away the Romans tried to confiscate the Iceni’s lands. Prasutagus’ daughter Boudica became the leader of the Iceni and led them and another Celtic tribe, known as the Trinovantes, in revolt against the Romans. Although the revolt was ultimately unsucessful the Celts did manage to burn the Romans cities of Camulodunum, Londinium and Verulamium- modern day Colchester, London and St. Albans- down to the ground. Following the revolt Boudica died reportedly either of an un-known illness or through poisoning herself- or maybe it was murder!
It is thought that Lunt fort was constructed as a method to help combat these revolts and was abandoned after about 20 years of use as the revolts were quickly quelled. Although not much is known about the history of the fort itself the clashing of groups in Roman Britain could well have been the backdrop to suspicious deaths within the fort walls, and the tense atmosphere, as well as the highly superstitious nature of the Romans within the fort could well have led to some eerie criminal activities.