Environment and palaeochannels

The archaeological evidence that we see on the site has been dug into the natural geology for several millennia. The site is located in an area of floodplain gravels within the Middle Thames Valley. Natural clay called ‘brickearth’ overlies several metres of gravel terraces that were laid down up to 300,000 year ago (Devensian period). It is these gravels that require extraction and the need for quarries in the west of London around Heathrow. 

 

756 Palaeochannels at Kingsmead Quarry, Horton

The excavations of a series of old river channels within and to the edges of the archaeological excavations have also provided information on the nature of the site. The channel systems show that a large watercourse, possibly an ancient course of the Thames, ran across the southern edge of the site. Other evidence indicates channel activity during the Neolithic and Bronze Age landscapes. The data recovered has enabled a relatively detailed chronological framework for the development and evolution of the palaeochannels. 
757 Section through a palaeochannel
 
Each of the channels has been studied by geoarchaeologists who can gauge their development, chronology and impact on the settlements and farming communities that lived on the site.