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Roman fort at The Lunt

A Scheduled Monument in Baginton, Warwickshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3735 / 52°22'24"N

Longitude: -1.496 / 1°29'45"W

OS Eastings: 434408.293579

OS Northings: 275175.251553

OS Grid: SP344751

Mapcode National: GBR 6MM.0ML

Mapcode Global: VHBX5.0LZS

Entry Name: Roman fort at The Lunt

Scheduled Date: 14 June 1962

Last Amended: 3 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017245

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30057

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Baginton

Built-Up Area: Coventry

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Baginton St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Coventry

Details

The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a Roman fort located
on a plateau sloping gently on the east and west sides above `The Lunt', a
steep escarpment immediately south of the River Sowe.

Since the 1960s the fort has been the subject of excavations led by Coventry
Museum service, and some of its main features, such as earth ramparts and
timber buildings have been reconstructed and laid out for public presentation.
Excavations at the fort have confirmed three main phases of activity,
beginning with its construction in AD 60-64.

The fort appears to lie in the centre of the line of defences along the Fosse
Way, however dating evidence has suggested that it was constructed long after
that part of the Fosse frontier had been abandoned, possibly in the aftermath
of the Boudiccan Revolt when its garrison may have been part of the force used
to quell any remaining local unrest.

During its lifetime the fort was altered and developed until being abandoned
and systematically demolished, by levelling of the ramparts and infilling of
the ditches in order to prevent reuse. The garrison is believed to have been
redeployed to assist in Agricola's northern campaigns.

The earliest fort on the site was defended by a bank and ditch on its northern
and western sides. Evidence for defences has been found to the south and
east, and it is believed that in this period the very marshy ground in these
areas provided adequate protection. Within the area defined by these defences,
a series of barrack blocks, storehouses and officers quarters were constructed
on raised wooden floors. Within the fort site remains of timber buildings
include a number of barrack blocks and granaries, as well as the pincipia or
main administration block which includes a regimental shrine and officers
quarters. Many of the buildings show signs of having been rebuilt at least
once. There were also many rubbish and latrine pits and wells, and a number of
bread ovens inserted into the ramparts. Finds from the fort include pottery,
coins and metalware which have helped to date the successive phases of
construction and development of the site.

During the second phase, this internal arrangement of accommodation was later
rebuilt on a different alignment when a large circular enclosure some 30m in
diameter was constructed. This enclosure is considered to be a `gyrus' or
`horse schooling ring' which, combined with the evidence for stables and the
large number of horse fittings recorded by excavation, supports the belief
that the garrison of the fort included a large cavalry contingent. Sinuous
defences were constructed to the east and south accommodating the gyrus on
these sides.

In the third and final phase the southern boundary was moved northwards,
reducing the area of the fort from 1.2ha to 1ha. A watching brief during
development to the south of the monument in the gardens of a bungalow located
beam slots of Roman origin suggesting that occupation originally extended to
the south beyond the modern road.

There is evidence during the later third century for further use of the site
although there is little evidence for occupation, suggesting that the site was
used for only a very short period, or that it was used as a stock enclosure.

Traces of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains demonstrate that the
site was partly under agriculture during the medieval period. In addition,
up to six medieval hearths associated with metal smelting were located during
excavations, and recent work has suggested that a number of ditches on the
west side of the fort are of medieval date.

The reconstructed buildings and all modern surfaces are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman forts served as permanent bases for auxiliary units of the Roman Army.
In outline they were straight sided rectangular enclosures with rounded
corners, defined by a single rampart of turf, puddled clay or earth with one
or more outer ditches. Some forts had separately defended, subsidiary
enclosures or annexes, allowing additional storage space or for the
accommodation of troops and convoys in transit. Although built and used
throughout the Roman period, the majority of forts were constructed between
the mid first and mid second centuries AD. Some were only used for short
periods of time but others were occupied for extended periods on a more or
less permanent basis. In the earlier forts, timber was used for gateways,
towers and breastworks. From the beginning of the second century AD there was
a gradual replacement of timber with stone.
Roman forts are rare nationally and are extremely rare south of the Severn
Trent line. As one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are
important in representing army strategy and therefore government policy, forts
are of particular significance to our understanding of the period. All Roman
forts with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be nationally
important.

As well as being an unusual survival beyond the expected geographic
distribution of Roman forts, the Roman fort at The Lunt is of particular
interest in having been shown by excavation to be unusual in both its layout
and the buildings it contained. The fort does not conform to the strictly
symmetrical plan of many Roman forts and its form may provide evidence for the
strategy uderlying the choice and use of particular locations. The unusually
high number of granaries, stables and horse harness fittings discovered in
addition to the `gyrus', or horse schooling ring, support the interpretation
that the fort housed an `Ala quingenaria' or 500 strong cavalry unit. Among
the known Roman forts, cavalry forts are less well represented and the
particular features associated with this fort will add considerably to our
knowledge of these types of fort and the methods of deployment of cavalry
among the Roman army.

In addition, excavations have shown that there is good archaeological
preservation of a number of dateable phases of development of the fort,
providing evidence for methods of construction and building materials
throughout the Roman period. These developments appear to tie in well with
known historical events and national military campaigns and will provide us
with insights into the effect of national events on local military stations.
Excavations have also shown that the fort preserves environmental deposits,
such as pollen, grain and food remains which will inform us about the diet and
living conditions of the occupants of the fort as well as the natural
environment and agricultural regimes on the land surrounding the fort.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
'TBAS' in A Neronian vespasianic military site, (1975), 67-85
Other
Barrett, AA , Lunt Roman Fort interim report on excavations western defences, 1997, unpublished excavation report
various SMR Officers, Various unpublished notes in SMR, Warwick SMR 2673

Source: Historic England

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