Please excuse the dramatic title but I have just seen a dragon. I spent today at the Priory and in my short break I was able to read about green men. We have one at the priory engraved on a piece of stone that lay hidden under Coventry for five centuries. After this I went to Trinity Church where I was able to look at three others all carved in wood but no less dramatic. Two spew out leaves and vines and the last one stands in a coat of leaves. Enthused I returned to work and told Sue. Sue was interested and then asked me if I had seen the Dragon. I replied that I had not and she took me to a non-descript piece of stone which as she pointed out elements reveal itself to be a beautiful representation of a sleeping dragon. With these things they do not appear immediatly but need to be coaxed out with attention and care. I suddenly saw its eyes, then its snout, its coiled scales and wings all resting in a bed of oakleaves. Suddenly this thing carved in sandstone by a unknown mason at least eight centuries ago could be nothing other than a snoozing dragon.
Traditionally the dragon is a representation of the devil but this fat creature seems so sweet, so modern and so lifelike as if tired it had slumped into the oakleaves after a long and arduous migration. I love it and everyone who comes into the museum now has to look at it.
So what has this to do with the Romans, Lunt or my normal jobs. Well what I want to do is pay tribute to the odd shaped minds possessed by archaeologists and historians who can drag from a few odd bumps on piece of rock and reveal a carving that once graced the halls of a medieval priory. The same is true to the great Brian Hobley who oversaw the excavation of the Lunt and the inspirational amatur archaeologist Brian Stanley who saw a Roman fort where others only saw a field. Today I pay tribute to archaeologists everywhere.