A fiction about Sutton Hoo

The Dig by John D. Preston

The tensions and intrigues behind the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon ship burial and its treasure on an English farm.

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 rivalry flourished in equal measure.

John Preston is the Television Critic of the Sunday Telegraph, and also works as a Book Critic and a Feature Writer on the paper. His interviews include Tom Wolfe, Kurt Vonnegut, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Carter, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and Woody Allen. In 2002 he was shortlisted for Feature Writing of the Year, in 2003 for Interviewer of the year and in 2004 for Critic of the Year. His travel book, TOUCHING THE MOON – about the Mountains of the Moon in Uganda was shortlisted for the W H Smith Award. He lives in London.


There’s gold in them thar Suffolk fields Guardian

My buried history Telegraph

Open Book Radio 4

The Dig
Recently John Preston discovered his aunt was one of the archaeologists who dug up the Anglo Saxon ship at Sutton Hoo in 1939.
He’s now written a novel based on events at that dig, narrated in part by his aunt, whose voice he created using her old diaries.He’s joined by Mike Pitts, editor of British Archaeology, to talk about his book and the advantages of using archaeology in fiction.

There’s also:The Sutton Who Mob a play by Peppy Barlow

The story of the discovery of the Sutton Hoo treasure in 1939 told in the style of an Ealing Comedy. A delightful tale of prophetic visions, secret hiding places, priceless treasure packed in grocery cartons and all out war between the museums. And running through it all a love story that reaches beyond the grave

She also wrote:

Mrs Pretty In Private

Mrs Pretty, the owner of Sutton House where the Anglo Saxon Treasure was found in 1939, settled down for tea and a chat with her dead husband. A part created by Rosemary MacVie who played Mrs Pretty in the original production of The Sutton Hoo Mob.

Patience And A Good Spade

Basil Brown, the man who discovered the Anglo Saxon burial ship at Sutton Hoo in 1939, comes out to visit the site and let us in on some of the real secrets. A piece specially written for Brian Hewlitt (Neil Carter in The Archers).


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