BURIED TREASURE, IMPENDING WAR AND LOSS IN ‘THE DIG'
Techlife News|Techlife News #482
Just before the outbreak of the World War II, a small-time archeologist was hired by a local woman to excavate her land. The thought was that it possibly contained some Viking remnants. But what was unearthed in the mounds out in the fields was far more significant than they could have imagined: Buried in the grounds of Sutton Hoo was actually a ship that would end up providing a deeper understanding of the sophistication of the early Anglo-Saxon period.

It’s this true story that John Preston used as the stage for his novel “ The Dig,” which has been adapted into a very lovely film by screenwriter Moira Buffini and director Simon Stone. Carey Mulligan stars as the Sutton Hoo landowner, Edith Pretty, a wealthy widow, mother to a preteen son and a bit of an amateur archaeologist who has a hunch about one of the mounds on her property. There’s also a ticking clock behind her expedition — the story is set in the summer of 1939 and by September, Britain would be declaring war.

The man she chooses for the job is Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes), a local excavator for a provincial museum. He is no doubt a brilliant archaeologist and an expert in his region, taught by two generations of his own family, but his formal education and external demeanor denote a lower class and thus he’s not taken seriously by many. Even his colleagues call him “unorthodox and untrained.”

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