This Day in History: 1966-07-22
On 22nd July 1966, Ferrybridge Henge and two round barrows were first listed and protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument: List Entry Number: 1005789. A Neolithic henge near Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire (grid reference SE47462424), it is close to the A1 and M62 and Ferrybridge power station. Ferrybridge Henge is the furthest south of Yorkshire’s henges, and is the only one in West Yorkshire. There was activity on the site before the current henge in the form of circular monuments and hengiform monuments dating from 3500 BC to 3000 BC. Ferrybridge Henge dates from around 3000 BC to 2500 BC. Around 2000 BC–1500 BC, during the early Bronze Age, barrow burials were performed on the site. Inhumations were discovered with grave goods such as ceramic pots and flint tools. The area was probably abandoned from about 1500 BC to 500 BC when there was some reoccupation by Iron Age farmers. The henge was not cultivated and may have been retained as a shrine for the Iron Age people of the area and later during the Romano-British period. An Iron Age sword scabbard was discovered in the inner henge ditch as well as a Roman coin. That burials continued in the area around the henge in the Saxon period despite the presence of a Christian cemetery nearby has been taken as evidence of pagan beliefs prevailing in the area. Ferrybridge Henge and its surrounding area were used as farmland during the medieval period.
The site was excavated by West Yorkshire Archaeological Services in 1991. In 2007, a suspected extension of the henge was unearthed near Pontefract. It was discovered when archaeologists were investigating a site intended for the construction of a row of houses; once the archaeological survey was complete, the construction went ahead. Ferrybridge Henge is a circular site and is about 180 metres (590 ft) in diameter. The henge is surrounded by two ditches and a bank. The inner ditch is 10 metres (33 ft) wide and 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) deep. There is a 15-metre (49 ft) wide berm between the inner ditch and a 15-metre (49 ft) wide limestone bank. Separating the bank from the outer ditch is another berm, also 15 metres (49 ft) wide; the outer ditch is 12 metres (39 ft) wide and 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) deep. This layout is typical of other henges. The site has two entrances, one in the north east and one in the south west.