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Who were the real photographers of "The Dig"?

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

The recent endearing film, “The Dig”, is based on a true story of the excavation of the Great Ship Burial at Sutton Hoo in 1939, led by Basil Brown who was a self-taught archaeologist. The findings at the site were phenomenal and transformed our understanding of the Anglo-Saxon period. The unearthed ship is believed to be the final resting place of King Raedwald, the 7th Century Anglo-Saxon ruler of East Anglia.

The film is an adaptation of the book, with the same title, written by John Preston. Both disappointingly suggest that there was one male photographer documenting the excavations at Sutton Hoo. The truth is, there were two photographers and both female, Mercie Lack and Barbara Wagstaff. We, at ArchaeoMuse and The Muses, are shocked that these women were not given any recognition for documenting the actual dig, and were replaced in the stories by a male photographer for no real reason. The photographs these inspiring women took were used in the making of the film. Between the 8th and 25th of August, they captured 400 images and an 8mm cine film of the site which have recently been digitalized.

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