Discovering Coccium: an Archaeological Account of Roman Wigan 

March 9, 2021

16 June 2021, 2pm.      

Ian Miller, Lead Archaeologist, Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Service, Centre for Applied Archaeology, University of Salford.      

Iter X of the Antonine Itinerary, essentially a road map of the Roman Empire produced in the 2nd / 3rd century, traces a route of 150 Roman miles from Ravenglass on the Cumbrian coast to Whitchurch in Shropshire. The route passes through seven named locations, including a station referred to as Coccium that lay 20 Roman miles from Ribchester and 17 miles from Manchester, but its precise location has been a topic of debate for generations. Chance finds of Roman artefacts were discovered in various locations across Wigan town centre during the 19th century, but the first archaeological evidence for Roman settlement in Wigan was not uncovered until the 1980s when the Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit carried out excavations at The Wiend. Some 20 years later, excavations along Millgate by Oxford Archaeology North revealed the remarkable remains of a Roman bath house, adding considerable weight to the suggestion that Wigan did indeed originate as Coccium. Further compelling evidence was recovered from another excavation by Oxford Archaeology North in 2008, which revisited the site of GMAUs excavations at The Wiend. This talk draws the key results from these excavations together to present the current understanding of Wigan’s fascinating Roman past.

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