Student dig unearths ancient gum

A 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum has been discovered by an archaeology student from the University of Derby.

Sarah Pickin, 23, found the lump of birch bark tar while on a dig in western Finland.

Neolithic people used the material as an antiseptic to treat gum infections, as well as a glue for repairing pots.

Ms Pickin’s tutor, Professor Trevor Brown, said: “It’s particularly significant because well defined tooth imprints were found on the gum.”

He explained: “Birch bark tar contains phenols, which are antiseptic compounds.”

One day future archaeologists will be finding plugs of used 20th/21st-century chewing-gum! Eeuuuw!

New dig to find Wigan’s Roman history

A fresh quest has been launched to discover whether Wigan was once a major Roman settlement.
Oxford Archaeology North have been given permission to try and unearth evidence of the town’s Roman past.

While historians agree that occupying forces did visit and use parts of the borough 1,900 years ago, proof that they made it their home for any length of time has remained elusive.
The clincher would be evidence of a Roman fort and archaeologists were back in the town centre this week looking for it.
The Romans were in Wigan during the reign of Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD and a 3rd century map identifies a settlement with a fort between Manchester and Ribchester.
Coccium, as it was called, has been the centre of fierce debate between historians over whether this was in Wigan or another part of the region, such as Wilderspool at Warrington.

Bill Aldridge, secretary of Wigan Archaeology Society, said: “We think Wigan is Coccium, not least because the measurements on the map seem to fit, but it would be very nice to have some further compelling evidence.
“A Roman fort would have accommodated 500 men in barrack blocks with a commander’s quarters as well, so it would have been a substantial building.”

Archaeological digs in the Millgate area before the construction of the Grand Arcade found the remains of buildings from several eras, including a Roman bath house and furnaces, along with more recent artefacts including a whetstone and a clay pipe bowl.

The Wigan Archaeological Society


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