"The Lunt", a painting by Alan Sorrell. When this painting was made, the excavations were complete, but the interpretation of the building on the extreme left was still uncertain. The artist therefore showed them 'in course of construction'.
W HEN excavations began at the Roman fort of The Lunt, at Baginton, near Coventry, it was intended to excavate a typical Roman fort. This was a re search excavation, and Brian Hobley, Keeper of the Department of Field Archaeology at Coventry Museum hoped that it would not only provide the scholar with a more complete plan than had hitherto been available, but also that an extensive campaign of re construction would offer the scholar valuable logistic informa tion, and the general public a vivid picture of what a Roman fort was really like. But now that the excavations are completed, it is clear that, far "from being a typical Roman fort, the Lunt was a very curious Roman fort indeed.
The realisation of its peculiarities came slowly. The first hint that something was wrong came with the discovery that the eastern defences, instead of being straight, curved about in a most unRoman fashion (see CA4). With further excavation, the reason became apparent; just inside the fort was a large circular arena enclosed by a stout wooden fence. After considerable thought this was inter
preted as a gyrus, or training ground, where the Roman cavalry trained their horses (see CA 24 and 28).
But the final clue really fell into position in the last season of excavations in 1973, when the southeast quadrant of the fort was excavated. This was an exceptionally complex area covered by a single large building. In area, the block is similar to the tribune's houses in a legionary fortress, and it is certainly far larger than anything one would expect to find in a fort only 4.5 acres in size. Evidently there was something rather special about