Magazine
Latest Issue

Why does Netflix’s The Dig exclude the women who photographed Sutton Hoo?

The filmmakers’ massaging of the facts tells us a lot about how middle-aged women are regarded by Hollywood

By Emma Hartley  
Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes in 'The Dig' Credit: Alamy

Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes in 'The Dig' Credit: Alamy

The Dig, starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, has been one of the shared cultural experiences of lockdown: it has provided a golden-lit relief from early 2021’s Covid-infested wintry reality. Based on John Preston’s novel about his own family, this warm cinematic elegy to Suffolk tells the story of Basil Brown and Edith Pretty’s archaeological excavation at Sutton Hoo, which in 1938-39 uncovered an astonishing Anglo-Saxon hoard that now lives in the British Museum. 

The film celebrates self-taught archaeologist Brown, played by Fiennes, who in earlier narratives had been shoved aside by the Oxbridge cohorts who stampeded in…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect