Coventry is the eighth largest city in the West Midlands of England. Its population is over 305,000 people. Coventry is famous for its great impact in the British motor industry, its Cathedral, the toy museum, the legendary exploits of Lady Godiva and many other sights. In this city there are two universities that cater for students from home and abroad.
Coventry is traditionally believed to have been established in the year 1043 with the founding of a Benedictine Abbey by Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva. By the 14th century Coventry had become an important centre of trade, and in the Middle Ages it was one of the largest and most important cities in England. In 1345Coventry was given the city status, and a bit later it became a county in its own right. One of the objects of note is the Lunt Roman Fort.
The Lunt Roman fort is in Baginton, near Coventry. It is a partial reconstruction of a First Century Roman Fort that dates from AD60 and is closely connected with the legendary Boudica. The Lunt Roman Fort is widely regarded to have been used as a horse training centre by the Romans and is unique in Britain as it is the only fort with a Gyrus, a wooden ring for training horses. Suetonious Paullinus, the Roman Governor of Britain, set up the fort after a revolt from the Iceni tribe of East Anglia in 60 AD. That was the beginning.
The next lot of the Lunt Roman fort is unknown. Only in 1930s, during gravel working, the evidence of a heavy Roman presence in the neighborhood - pottery - came to light. In 1960 began the real excavations that led to the remains of the defensive ditches of the Roman fort discovery. During the following 13 years more archaeological works have been carried out. The purpose of these excavations was complete uncover of the site as well as reconstruction of the defenses and internal buildings. Today you have the opportunity to see the results. At the process of investigation it turned out that the fort's front was subjected to three major changes over the course of its first twenty years. Over the next 180 years it was abandoned.
Construction of a new gateway and defensive ditches was made later. Entering the Lunt Roman Fort is done through the "porta principalis sinistra" - the reconstructed timber Eastern Gateway built on the basis of Trajan's column depictions. The name of the fort - Luna - refers to trees and wooded slopes. And indeed, if you look from the top of the gateway you'll see the adjacent Underwood to the north and the running below the River Sowe. At present visitors can see the principia, or headquarters building, and six barrack blocks.
These blocks would have been housed by a century, a unit of 80 soldiers. A century was commanded by a centurion lived at the north end of each block. In addition to these military blocks in the Lunt Roman Fort there have been found three "horrea" - granaries. Except the 34 meter-in-diameter ring that gives the clear impression about the horses working, you can see a circular arena, small one but rather frightening - reminds the gladiators' arena in the Coliseum. There is a certain hope of other buildings revelation because there would be a wealth of information about the Romans.
Nowadays in one of three granaries there is the site's Interpretative Centre and Museum of the Roman Army. Once inhabited by the Roman Army, this ancient site gives a fascinating authentic view of Roman military life. The entire Roman weapon was reconstructed under the direction of archaeologists. You can see an early form of crossbow - the Scorpione - which fired nine-inch iron bolts at the enemy. Outside the fort there is the Onager ("Wild Ass") made of slinging rocks and boulders. It is ready for action.
From time to time the Lunt Roman Fort hosts re-enactments and this really does bring the Fort back to life. Re-enactments allow people to get a complete impression about the first century fort. There are usually demonstrations of military maneuvers and camp life. If you want to get a flavor of the Roman's military way of life, the Lunt Fort is the best place for visit!