Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes star in the new Netflix drama.

By Caroline Rogers
February 02, 2021
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If you have yet to get your fill of sun-drenched historical dramas, you're in good company, and Netflix has a new film that you should see. The Dig tells the story of one of the U.K.'s greatest archaeological discoveries—that of Sutton Hoo—and the people who unearthed the site's buried history on the eve of World War II. 

Of the plot, Netflix says, "As WWII looms, a wealthy widow hires an amateur archaeologist to excavate the burial mounds on her estate. When they make a historic discovery, the echoes of Britain's past resonate in the face of its uncertain future‎." They embark on the excavation of the Suffolk property in the late 1930s and unearth what is now known as Sutton Hoo, an archaeological site comprising two early medieval burial grounds that date to the 6th and 7th centuries and include a ship burial filled with Anglo-Saxon artifacts. Excavation of the site continued throughout the 20th century, and the staggering historical significance of the Sutton Hoo find has continued to astonish.  

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The film stars Carey Mulligan (Suffragette, Far From the Madding Crowd) as Edith Pretty, a landowner who enlists the help of self-taught archaeologist Basil Brown, played by Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel, A Bigger Splash). The film also stars Lily James (Rebecca, Cinderella) and Johnny Flynn (Beast, Emma.). It's directed by Simon Stone and written by Moira Buffini, who adapted the screenplay from the novel of the same name by John Preston. You can watch a trailer for the film below.

You can find more information on The Dig and add it to your to-watch list at netflix.com. You can also find The Dig: A Novel Based on True Events, which is a fictionalized account upon which the new film is based, at bookshop.org. For more information on the Sutton Hoo site, see nationaltrust.org.uk, and to see photos of the artifacts found there and timelines of their origins, browse the collection at britishmuseum.org.

What historical dramas have you enjoyed watching lately? What are some of your favorite stories from the history books?