The development of prehistoric and later communities in the Colne Valley and on the Heathrow Terraces

by Andrew B. Powell, Alistair J. Barclay, Lorraine Mepham and Chris J. Stevens

ISBN 978-1-874350-74-3 – £30.00

This volume brings together the results from three programmes of excavation undertaken by Wessex Archaeology from 1996 to 2009 on two blocks of land proposed for mineral extraction to the north of Heathrow Airport, between the villages of Harlington and Sipson in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Fieldwork was commissioned independently by Henry Streeter (Sand and Ballast) Ltd on the former ‘Imperial College Sports Ground’ and ‘Land East of Wall Garden Farm’ sites and by RMC Ltd – now CEMEX UK on ‘RMC Land’. The post-excavation analyses were combined further into a joint publication proposal by the Guildhouse Consultancy acting on behalf of both clients.

Occupation during the Early to Middle Neolithic period was demonstrated by the recovery of assemblages of Plain Bowl and Peterborough Ware-style pottery, a rectangular ditched enclosure and numerous pit deposits. A possible dispersed monument complex including two penannular ditched enclosures and one double ring ditch associated with rare and important remains of cremation burials is of contemporaneous Middle Neolithic date. There is less evidence for activity in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age other than a small number of pit and burial deposits. This is in stark contrast to the Middle to Late Bronze Age when a formalised landscape of extensive rectangular fields, enclosures, wells and pits was established, possibly across both sites. A small, Iron Age nucleated settlement was established, with associated enclosures flanking a trackway. This settlement continued in use into the Romano-British period. There were wayside inhumation and cremation burials, as well as middens and more widely dispersed wells and quarries. In the early Saxon period there was rather less activity, with settlement represented by two possible sunken-featured buildings. There was also a small cemetery. Subsequently, a middle Saxon and medieval field system of small enclosures and wells was established. 

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