Brandon lies on sandy Breckland soils in the valley of the River Little Ouse, close to the eastern edge of the Wash fenlands. The surrounding area is exceptionally rich in prehistoric finds, particularly of Bronze Age metalwork, but has provided few opportunities for detailed study of contemporary occupation sites.
Recent excavations by Hertfordshire Archaeological Trust in advance of development, revealed an extensive complex of prehistoric features, generally sealed below remnant buried soil layers formed by wind-blown sand. Late Neolithic activity was represented by four irregular gullies, and by a small number of pits and structural features. Oak charcoal from a possible beam slot, associated with sherds of Peterborough Ware, was radiocarbon dated to 2190–1900 cal. BC (95% confidence).
Most recorded features dated to the Middle to Late Bronze Age. A complex and evolving series of enclosure ditches suggested at least four phases of ditch cutting and re-cutting, with some changes in alignment over time. Associated with these were four sub-circular post-built structures and a number of other post-holes and pits. Radiocarbon dating places this occupation in the mid-late 2nd millennium BC. Some of the structures contained hearths, and evidence of ‘activity surfaces’ consisting of black organic soil with concentrations of pottery. An unusual sub-square, ditched feature may also date to the Middle to Late Bronze Age. At least two, possibly three, unurned cremations were identified, as well as a small number of possible token cremation deposits. Nearly all of the site assemblage of prehistoric pottery (14kg in total) was of later Bronze Age date.
There was no evidence for subsequent occupation. The remnant buried soil had been sealed by further deposits of wind-blown colluvial sand which contained post-medieval finds. More recent features included north-to-south aligned ditches filled with post-medieval material, cart tracks and fence lines.
Catriona Gibson with Jonathan Last, Tom McDonald , Jon Murray, 2004. 'Lines in the Sand: middle to late Bronze Age settlement at Game Farm, Downham Way, Brandon', East Anglian Archaeology Occasional Papers 19