Lunt Roman Fort

The Department of Classics at the University of British Columbia conducts an annual training excavation each August at the ‘Lunt’ Roman Fort at Baginton, Warwickshire, in central England, first built under Nero (in approx. 6O AD) in connection with the revolt of Boadicea. Excavation began in the 196O’s, and in 1988 UBC began work on the western defences. The site, with its small museum, is a popular tourist attraction.

The site is well-known for the reconstruction of areas where excavation is completed, including part of the eastern rampart and gateway, granary (now the site museum) and gyrus (possibly a cavalry training ).

Students are trained in all aspects of excavation, and subject to satisfactory performance obtain six credits for Classical Studies 335, equivalent to one full-year course. Students from other universities may take the course for transfer credit. There are no prerequisites.

The practicum lasts for four weeks. There are be a number of free days. Visiting lecturers come to the site, and excursions to other places of interest are organized at moderate cost. Baginton is located near Coventry (direct bus service to London Airports), very close to Warwick, Stratford-on-Avon and the Cotswolds.

Costs: students make their own travel arrangements to Britain and register at UBC with the appropriate fee. A charge will be made (please enquire for exact amount) to cover the cost of accommodation, local staff, excavation fees, daily transportation and refreshments on the site for the whole period.

A deposit of $100 (made out to ‘A.A. Barrett’) is required. Early registration is recommended. In the event of cancellation, the deposit is refunded if the place is filled.

For further details: Anthony A. Barrett, Department of Classics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z1 Tel: (6O4) 822-4O64 (office), 228-8991 (home), Fax: (604) 822-9431, Email: aab(at)interchange.ubc.ca

There is a small display outside Buchanan C267.

The first Roman fort on the ‘Lunt’, a plateau overlooking the river Sowe to the south of the city of Coventry, seems to have begun in ca. A.C. 60 in connection with the rebellion of Boudicca.

Its dimensions are unkown, but it may have been large enough to house a legionary vexillation. At some point in the 60’s it was reduced to an auxiliary fort (Period II), covering approximately 1.21 hectares. This fort in turn underwent some modifications until its abandonment ca. 80. There is some tenuous evidence of a brief re-occupation in the 3d century. The excavation of the interior of the Period II fort was completed in the early 70’s. The conventional features of an auxiliary fort were identified, including the praetorium, barrack blocks and granaries. But there are two striking anomalies, the ‘gyrus’, a circular structure some 35m in diameter, unique to this site and ofuncertain function, and the sinuous shape of the eastern defences, for which no compelling strategic or topographical explanations have been adduced.

The major excavations between 1967 and 1972 were followed by reconstruction of the eastern defences, one of the granaries and the gyrus. The University of British Columbia began work in 1988, uncovering the northern section of the Period II western defenses for the first time. Various buildings of Period I have been unearthed, including a granary. It has also been demonstrated that the western defenses exhibit the same curving pattern as the eastern.

Reading: the course is essentially a practical one, but some preliminary reading could be useful. H.H. Scullard, Roman Britain for simple background information. For more detailed material, S. Frere, Britannia or Peter Salway, Roman Britain (concentrate on the First Century AD). Anne Johnson, Roman Forts and David Breeze Roman Forts in Britain are useful. Material on the Lunt specifically is difficult to acquire in Canada. We have Actes du IXe CongrËs d’Etudes sur Les FrontiËres Romaines 361-379 [DG59/A2/I57/1974] at UBC. Small University libraries probably will not have it- it is useful, but not essential reading. There are summaries in Classical Views 33 (1989) 255-62, 36 (1992) 201-209. For general archaeological technique: P. Barker, Techniques of Archaeological Excavation.