We came, we saw, we conquered…

Ist Night of LudiLuntFinally the weekend loomed. Final preparations were being completed on the morning of the 5th September at the Lunt Roman Fort in preparedness for those attending the weekend Roman Hackathon, Ludi Lunt.

Tents were pitched and friendships were made early in the evening. Later (as the sun set?), Culture Coventry CEO Gary Hall officially opened the event by welcoming those present. For those camping over the first night it was curry night – nice and spicy and washed down with a tipple of something.

On the Saturday, after a full English breakfast to get the creative juices flowing, Gary did the formal welcome to the site and introduced key people that were present. One of these was Matthew Ward (History Needs You and of Horrible Histories fame) who opened up with a resounding “Friends, Romans and Hackathon people….”

In the normal unconference manner, all were asked to introduce themselves before heading off to look over the site and generate some ideas. There was a wide range of people – staff from the Lunt and CultureCoventry, some from other Roman sites, students, technical people, historians, artists and performers, and those interested in family spaces – all adding up to a wonderful cauldron of experiences and suggestions for the site.

LudiLunt ideasAfter the site visit there was a “Pitch of initial ideas” – this was planned to last 30 minutes, but instead, due to the vibrant conversation and wide ranging ideas lasted for over an hour. We also had some great ideas from the younger generation representatives. The rest of the day was used to work on these ideas in groups or as individuals before the night’s festivities of Hog Roast, drinking, games such as Kubb and finally socialising around the campfire well into the night.

Most people have a lie in on Sunday. Not those attending Ludi Lunt… Many were up early to have breakfast and to squeeze in the last few hours work on finalising ideas, supporting the needs of others with their projects. To allow the judges to ponder over the great ideas, pitching was done before lunch so that the judges could deliberate, cogitate and speculate on the best ideas. 11 ideas were put forward from technical apps for smartphones to off line paper based games and using the open space for alternative uses (plays, music, performances, watching films etc) to areas for the younger audiences.

After a long time deliberating over the ideas pitched, the judges finally made their decisions as to what ideas should win prizes – however, everyone was a winner as all were rewarded with some token such as a bottle of wine and Ludi Lunt has promised to take on board all of the ideas put forward.

LudiLunt gatheringWhat a great success… just under 50 people turning up to the event from not only Coventry but further afield to have a great networking experience, making new friends and connections but also to come up with 11 main ideas that are now being progressed. In fact over 60 ideas were generated online and offline during the event, many of which will be developed further in due course. And for me (Sasha) what is the overarching achievement?… this was crowd sourced and driven by those passionate about improving the Roman Fort and the space around it.

Since LudiLunt we have already started working on one of the ideas, progressing the virtual world creation of the Lunt Roman Fort within Minecraft… further details to follow soon.

You can view photos from the event here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sashataylor/sets/72157647369152696/

Living on the Edge

For a short period, almost 2000 years ago, Lunt was the frontline of the Roman Empire in Britain. After Boudica’s uprising was crushed nearby, the frontline moved North to County Durham and Northumberland. Vinovia and Vindolanda were constructed just as Lunt was abandoned. Vindolanda was first built of earth and timber, just like Lunt, but was later rebuilt in stone. Please study the archaeology blog about Vindolanda to learn more.

Vindolanda today has an active archaeology program, an excellent on site museum and nearby is their new and exciting Roman Army Museum. There are many interactive and engaging exhibits in both sites that will inspire ideas for Lunt. Please follow this link to find out more.

The Edge of Empire 3D film is a highlight of many visits to the museum:

Vinovia in County Durham is known as the Roman Binchester project. Constructed c79CE just as Lunt was abandoned, there is much to learn from the archaeology. Please follow this link to find out more.

Lunt was part of a line of control across Central England, a forerunner of Hadrian’s Wall. The other end of the line is at Wroxeter Roman City. It is well worth visiting this site to see the reconstructed Roman villa.