Quote of the week… Every now and then we come across something that stops us in our tracks. This week we watched The History Boys – Alan Bennett’s play about a group of ‘A’ level students training for Oxbridge. The stand out scene for us was when Hector (the flawed English teacher) described how in the presence of great literature, you may come across “a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”
Our après-dinner discussion considered whether this was also the same with archaeology, only even more so with excavation, because as our trowels scrape over the layers and features of the earth, we literally reach out to grasp the elusive past – a fragment of pot or the imprint of an axe blade on a worked timber. Hector also said something else to his students, imploring them with them with his parting words:
“Pass the parcel. That’s sometimes all you can do. Take it feel it and pass it on. Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day. Pass it on boys. That’s the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.”
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DigVentures crowdfunds archaeological projects that everyone can be part of, in the UK and overseas. With help from people all over the world, we investigate the past and publish our discoveries online for free. Support one of our digs and you can choose to excavate alongside our team, or watch our discoveries online!