The Pre-Monumental Landscape

We know that people were moving across the Heathrow landscape as long ago as 500,000 BC, the Palaeolithic period, but the evidence for this is amounts to only a handful of worked flints, a battered hand-axe and the bone of a bison preserved in an ancient river channel. By the 7th millennium BC the body of archaeological evidence has grown and we see a Mesolithic woodland landscape interrupted by occasional clearings.

Scatters of struck flints offer the main evidence for Mesolithic activity but we know that sometime during the seventh millennium BC groups of people gathered in a clearing alongside a small stream that flowed across the T5 site. Here they dug a cluster of shallow pits and deposited within them burnt stone and flints, flint tools, animal bones and plants and fruits. This activity may have marked the final act of ceremonies that brought families together to negotiate agreement over rights of way in the landscape, which provided access to the resources essential to everyday survival. The rituals also ensured that the meeting places took on a special meaning in the lives and memories of the inhabitants, giving the location an enduring significance.

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