Dating back to the first century, this ancient Roman fort near Coventry, England, was unearthed in the 1930s after numerous Roman ceramics were discovered at the site. Excavations revealed that the site originally functioned as an army camp occupied by a complete Roman legion (5,500 troops) around 60 AD, in the wake of a rebellion by the native Iceni tribe of East Anglia.
The camp was then used again about four years later by a much smaller cohort of soldiers, about 10 percent of the previous garrison. This second phase reduced the size of the fort, and many buildings were demolished to allow space for a 100-foot-diameter “gyrus,” or horse training ring. Evidence suggests the Lunt fort was used as a cavalry center for breaking and training the horses seized from the native Iceni to ready them for battle. The horse training ring at Lunt is the only known example in the Roman province of Britannia, and to accommodate the circular structure, the fort’s outer wall was curved, making it an unusual shape among Roman ruins.
The gyrus and other parts of the fort complex—including a section of the wall, a timber gateway, ramparts, and three granaries—were reconstructed in the 1970s on top of the original foundations. The engineers used the same tools and methods that would have been used by the Roman army at the time, and the recreated fort appears today much as it would have to the legions garrisoned here nearly 2,000 years ago.
Know Before You Go
The fort is open for public visits but opening times are very limited and may require advanced booking. (See the website for details.) Located about 10 minutes south of Coventry.