I am very chuffed about finding this ‘site’ today. However, there is nothing to see on the ground, but it does show up from aerial pics, so if you are landing at Heathrow in the usual way (most planes land from an Easterly direction) get a window seat on the left of the plane and have a look down to your left, just before landing and it might be visible just to the south of Terminal Four – I guess you probably won’t see it though as the angle might not be right, and I’m led to believe that in general crop marks only show up clearly in the right conditions.
After finding out about it from books (which didn’t say exactly where it was) and only having a vague idea of where it was, and two aerial photos of the Bronze Age Enclosure, I did a bit of map detective work and decided that I thought I knew where it was, alongside the A30 between Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport and the Clock House Roundabout (A30 / A315). And I was pretty sure on the ground that I was in the right place, a large field with some sort pea / legume crop, that I hadn’t seen before, growing in it. Nothing can be seen on the ground although the area of the grid ref given for this site is definitely raised a bit compared to the surrounding land.
The books said it was part of ‘Mayfield Farm’ in Bedfont (which wasn’t named on the map) so as a final check I walked around to the other part of the A30 and yes indeed, this is definitely the right place – the farm buildings for Mayfield Farm are at TQ075733.
With a Neolithic henge also found on the farmland, this is one very important site despite the lack of visual impact!
I read about this site in ‘The Archaeology of Hounslow’ by Gillian Clegg (1991 – ISBN 0951831901) which says “A small henge monument dating to the Neolithic period was found during excavations at Mayfield Farm in East Bedfont.” Later the book continues “On the same site as the Neolithic henge monument but some distance away, two concentric ditches which had shown up in aerial photographs proved to be a double ditched enclosure dating to the late bronze Age. A substantially defended settlement, it must have dominated this part of the Thames Valley. It may have been an important regional center controlling a large territory, perhaps including the waterside settlement at Brantford and the similar and important Bronze Age waterside settlements at Runnymede/Egham, only three or four miles away.” Later still the book adds that “Occupation on the Site at Mayfield Farm in East Bedfont…continued into the Iron Age. Gulleys found probably surrounded circular huts, and pits nearby were probably dug for the extraction of gravel.”
‘Prehistoric London’ by Nick Merriman (1990 – ISBN 0112904475) says this “Another, even larger, site has recently been identified by aerial photography at Mayfield Farm just to the South of Heathrow Airport, and 6.5kms away from Runnymede. It consists of two concentric ditches with a maximum diameter of 200m enclosing an area of 3.14 hectares (7.75 acres), and trial trenches cut into it reveal its date as some time in the Late Bronze Age (1200 – 700 BC). It is the largest such enclosure of this period in the Lower Thames valley, and if it is fully excavated it may prove to have been a very important regional center which controlled a large territory.”