Alan Bennett Class

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.”

Flag Fen Lives. Pass it on!

Love archaeology?

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. Become a DigVentures Subscriber and be part of great archaeology - all year round!


Written by DigVentures

Fascinated by archaeology? DigVentures runs excavations that anyone can be part of. From Roman ruins and medieval castles, to Bronze Age monuments and industrial heritage, you can choose to dig alongside our team, help out in the Finds Room, take an online course, or become a Subscriber for even more ways to enjoy archaeology with our team.

Read more from DigVentures +

Get Dig Mail

Keep up with the latest fun, facts & features from the world of archaeology.

Easy opt-out at any time - Privacy Policy

Archaeology / In Your Hands

Courses for anyone who wants to learn more about archaeology, and have fun while they're doing it!

Archaeology Courses

Our fab archaeology merch: dig team tee-shirts, Tatty Devine jewellery range, tote bags, and more!

Archaeology Shop