The popular streaming platform will release its film ‘The Dig’ later this month, which depicts the famous archaeological discoveries at Sutton Hoo. The site, in Woodbridge, Suffolk, was at the centre of an extraordinary breakthrough in 1939 on the property of Edith Pretty. Archaeologist Basil Brown uncovered two early medieval cemeteries that dated from the sixth to seventh centuries – including one which had an undisturbed ship burial with a wealth of Anglo-Saxon treasure, including a ceremonial helmet.
Dr Sue Brunning is the curator of Early Medieval Europe Collections at the British Museum – where most of the artefacts are now held – and she told Express.co.uk how their collection helped inspire the new film.
She said: “We had a few people from the cast and crew come to the museum to have a look at our archives and do some research.
“We also had the art director and the man who made some of the props.
“We have a huge collection of photographs taken during the excavations – they looked at those and the artefacts in great detail.
“They appear to have put those into excellent practice.
“The reconstruction of the excavation is incredible. I’ve been to the set, I was imagining it would be a section of the ship.”
The cast is led by Carey Mulligan, an Oscar nominee who plays Mrs Pretty.
Ralph Fiennes takes on the role of Mr Brown – a self-taught archaeologist who fights to continue work on excavating the ship he found.
And Dr Brunning was stunned when she saw what the production team had produced.
Dr Brunning said it was surreal watching the film back, before revealing her favourite moment.
She continued: “Basil Brown inspired me at university to study this particular period, he’s an important person in my mind and it was really nice to see Ralph Fiennes’ interpretation.
“He got pretty close to what Basil Brown was like in my mind – based on what I’ve seen in his writings, his voice, and his attitude.
“He really brought that to life. There is one particular moment where he goes and smokes his pipe during a break by the river.
“He sees a boat sailing past and there’s this moment where you can see that he is imagining the ship he has found would have sailed in that same water.
“It really nailed what Basil Brown would have been like. I think they did a lovely job.”
The new Netflix release is directed by Simon Stone and based on the 2007 novel of the same name by John Preston.
It will be available to stream on Netflix from Friday, January 29.
Published at Sun, 17 Jan 2021 14:10:00 +0000