Friday, May 30, 2008

Fictional Archaeology: The Dig

As the Guardian Hay Festival 2008 draws to a close it is worth drawing attention to John Preston's The Dig (Penguin 2007). This is set on the excavation of Sutton Hoo in the summer of 1939.

Publisher's Synopsis:

In the long hot summer of 1939 Britain is preparing for war. But on a riverside farm in Suffolk there is excitement of another kind: Mrs Petty, the widowed farmer, has had her hunch proved correct that the strange mounds on her land hold buried treasure. As the dig proceeds against a background of mounting national anxiety, it becomes clear though that this is no ordinary find... And pretty soon the discovery leads to all kinds of jealousies and tensions.

John Preston's recreation of the Sutton Hoo dig - the greatest Anglo-Saxon discovery ever in Britain - brilliantly and comically dramatizes three months of intense activity when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs, and love and rivaly flourished in equal measure.

Listen to John Preston talking about The Dig on BBC's "Open Book".

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