In this interesting article published by the Nautical Archaeology Society, founding member Valerie Fenwick separates and explains the fact and the fiction relayed in the Netflix film, The Dig
John Preston’s novel, The Dig, and now the beautiful film based on it, has breathed renewed interest in Sutton Hoo. As soon as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted there will be a welcome influx of visitors. Naturally there will be questions about the film and the way the excavation is portrayed. As I knew the chief characters later in life and took a key part in the ship re-excavation and publication of the ship-burial, I thought to provide a few corrections for NAS readers.
Firstly, the film was based on the novel by John Preston, who admitted to having taken some liberties for dramatic affect. The novel was unlikely to change public perception of the ship-burial excavation. It did not detract from the story that he telescoped the 1938 and 1939 excavations, omitted the site photographer (OGS Crawford) – replacing him with a fictitious relative of Mrs Pretty, made numerous other ‘adjustments’ and omitted the survey of the ship. Read the full article on the Nautical Archaeology Website