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Landscape Evolution in the Middle Thames Valley Heathrow Terminal 5 Excavations Volume 1, Perry Oaks Framework Archaeology Monograph No. 1 2006

Lewis, John and Brown, Fraser and Batt, Angela and Cooke, Nicholas and Barrett, John and Every, Rachel and Mepham, Lorraine and Brown, Kayt and Cramp, Kate and Lawson, Andrew J and Roe, Fiona and Allen, Steve and Petts, David and McKinley, Jacqueline and Carruthers, Wendy and Challinor, Dana and Wiltshire, Pat and Robinson, Mark and Lewis, Helen and Bates, Martin and Nichols, Karen and James, Elizabeth (2006) Landscape Evolution in the Middle Thames Valley Heathrow Terminal 5 Excavations Volume 1, Perry Oaks Framework Archaeology Monograph No. 1 2006. Project Report. Framework Archaeology.

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Between 1996 and 2000 Framework Archaeology undertook extensive excavations of
an important prehistoric and Roman landscape at Perry Oaks sludge works, Heathrow,
Middlesex. This volume presents the results of these excavations. Further archaeological
work in advance of a fifth passenger terminal (‘T5’) at Heathrow Airport took place from
2002 onwards, and the results of those excavations will be integrated with the data
contained in this volume, to be presented in Volume 2 of this series.
The earliest evidence of human habitation at Perry Oaks comprised a handful of pits which
were dug in the 7th millennium BC at a location on the edge of the Colne floodplain. In the
late 4th millennium BC, the landscape was transformed by the construction of the C1 Stanwell
Cursus, one of the great monuments of Neolithic Britain. This event was followed by the construction
of a second cursus (the C2 Cursus) and a small horseshoe shaped enclosure. In the
space of a few centuries or less, people had transformed the landscape from one defined by
memories of ancient locations to one defined by the architecture of earthen banks and ditches.
However, by 1700 BC further changes led to the replacement of a system that apportioned
land and resources through ceremony to one of physical demarcation: the first land tenure
and field divisions. Settlements became archaeologically visible and landholdings developed
into a landscape of small and large fields traversed by ditched trackways. This landscape
supported a mixed arable / pastoral agricultural economy, supplemented by resources from
the innumerable hedgerows which divided the fields. People maintained links with the past
through ceremonies resulting in particular artefacts being deposited in the base of waterholes.
From the late 2nd millennium BC the pattern of small settlements scattered across the
landscape changed to one of fewer and larger settlements. Little specific evidence was
recovered for early Iron Age activity, but major elements of the Bronze Age agricultural
landscape appear to have persisted well into this period. Waterholes appear to have
retained their status as places of offering for generations of farmers during the late Bronze
Age/early Iron Age whilst hedgerows were maintained and ancient trackways respected.
Over this period, the Perry Oaks landscape came under the control of new cultural and
economic influences and designs, culminating in a gradual transformation which saw the
emergence in the middle Iron Age of a nucleated settlement of roundhouses. This in turn
became a focal point for continuing occupation and ceremony through into the Roman
period. However, the Perry Oaks landscape of the later Roman period largely overwrote
the previous land divisions, focussing outwards and away from the ancient local community.
Some fossilisation of this late Roman landscape can be traced in the medieval ridge
and furrow and the alignment of a post-medieval trackway, although by this time the
site appears to have reverted to localised rural inhabitation and agricultural regime

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Greater London
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2023 09:57
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2023 09:57
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/7280

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