Roman Wigan excavated

From Wigan Today

Inquisitive archaeologists are digging up a car park in Wigan’s town centre to find more evidence of a Roman settlement.

A small unit from Oxford Archaeology North will carry on the work they began last summer in Millgate, where they had detected Roman and Iron Age material.

The dig, which was due to start today in the car park off the Wiend Library, aims to find further evidence that the Roman settlement of Coccium found on old maps is Wigan.

The area will also incorporate the Wiend excavations of the early 1980s, when a cobbled surface and several wooden-framed buildings were detected.

The unit is hoping to establish the link between this industrial site and the bath-house complex found further down the hill in 2005.

Ian Miller, of the Oxford Archaeology North unit said: “It’s a golden opportunity to enhance our knowledge of Wigan and put it on the map. We don’t know much about it – nobody has ever been too sure when Coccium is.

“I am very excited. We will take that car park up and take it down bit by bit and put some flesh on the bones about what we know about Wigan.”

This is the first major excavation in Wigan since the dig at the Grand Arcade site in 2005, which revealed the presence of a bath-house and furnaces, providing a big boost to the Coccium theory.

Ian added: “Finding that puts a different light on the nature of Roman Wigan and makes it a grander place. Instead of answering questions, it raised questions.”

Ian is hoping to find artefacts from other periods, including the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The work is expected to last for two months and is funded by the Wigan Council’s modern customer contact centre, the Joint Service Centre.

A spokesman for the council said: “Millgate has, in the past, turned up some quite interesting Roman remains and we are very interested to find the outcome.

“It is important to do this work and preserve this for future generations and we are completely behind this.”


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