Can social media make a difference?

humbledon petition

Maybe you’ve heard the term “slacktivist” before. It’s used for someone who thinks adding a hashtag, liking a Facebook post or forwarding an email is the same as actually making a change in the world, and is most often used to criticize laziness or the kind of social justice warrior who doesn’t really want to get off the couch. And there are a number of cases where this kind of “clicktivism” just doesn’t succeed. But I’ve come across an interesting petition, started by two teenage girls in Sunderland, England trying to stop the development of Humbledon Hill, part of which was granted Ancient Monument status as recently as 2011. In their case, social media might be just what they need to get enough petitions to halt the development.

Details from state that:

The settlement on Humbledon Hill includes the western half of a defended settlement; to the east, the settlement has been compromised by housing development, gardening activities and the construction of a Victorian reservoir. This area is not included in the scheduling, given the level of disturbance to which it has been subjected. Geophysical survey in 2003 and archaeological evaluation in 2006 and 2007 demonstrated that the defended settlement includes a roughly sub-circular enclosure measuring a maximum of 75m north east to south west by 62m north west to south east, within two ditches and a medial bank. The inner ditch is c.0.5m wide and 0.5m deep and is considered to be the remains of a palisade trench, which formerly contained a wooden fence. The outer ditch is situated about 9m outside the inner ditch and measures up to 3m wide and 1m deep. Between the two ditches there is a stone and earth bank standing to a maximum height of 0.8m interpreted as the remains of a rampart. There is an entrance through the west side of the enclosure. Two substantial, ditched features immediately outside the settlement on the south and south west sides have the same character as the outer ditch and are considered the remains of structures associated with it. Prehistoric pottery, recovered from the ditches, demonstrated that the inner ditch was dug during the later Bronze Age and the outer ditch was subsequently dug during the Iron Age. Animal bone, some of it burnt, and flint pieces were recovered from parts of the ditches. Also recovered was what was identified as the corner of a triangular loom weight of Iron Age date. Within the interior of the enclosure, there are a series of pits, each 2m in diameter and archaeological evaluation also uncovered what was thought to be the part of a Bronze Age round cairn.

The petition needs to be handed in on Friday, and Emmie and Lily Thompson are reaching out through twitter to get as many signatures as possible by the deadline. Please check them out on Twitter: @Save_Our_Hill, and please sign the petition to Save Humbledon Hill. I’m really hoping social media can make a difference and save this one small space.

For more on the archaeological finds at Humbledon Hill, check out the Tyne & Wear museum for information on the Bronze Age urns found on the hill in 1873.

twmuseum urn


About Lisa Tweten

As one of the project mangers, Lisa is the heart of the project. She works with Digital Humanities to photograph the MacGregor squeeze collection.

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