The Yorkshire archaeologists at Sutton Hoo dig which inspired the Netflix film - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Eric Houlder, Supervisor at Sutton Hoo 1967-1969, Past Editor, Heritage Photography, Past Chairman and current Trustee, Council for British Archaeology, Yorkshire.

I WAS gratified to see a feature on Sutton Hoo in my Yorkshire Post this morning.

The interest roused by the fictionalised film The Dig continues to increase.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Indeed, when we archaeologists returned from Sutton Hoo in the 1960s, there was little interest and it barely rated a paragraph in my local paper, the Pontefract & Castleford Express.

A treenail is hammered in to join the first two parts of the keel on the 88ft-long replica of the Sutton Hoo longship, in The Longshed, Woodbridge, Suffolk. The story caught the eye of Eric Houlder. Picture: Joe Giddens.

Whilst respecting, and admiring the work done by Professor Carver there in the 1980s and 1990s, little mention was made in the feature on the invaluable work done between 1965 and 1970.

Indeed, this laid the foundations for the later discoveries there.

We completed the excavation of the ship, testing the soil beneath it for human body decay products; we excavated the spoil heaps produced in 1939 and recovered many items missed by the team working then, and we fully excavated the remains of the mound which originally covered the burial.

My colleague/friend Terence Carney (died 2018) was able to reconstruct on paper the original contours and construction of the mound much of which was destroyed by the 1939 dig and its subsequent use as a wartime training ground.

Three of the supervisors on this dig were from Yorkshire, namely myself, Terence Carney and Peter Rooley. Many of the diggers also called our county their home, so this wonderful site 200 miles away has always had its Yorkshire connections, as did Raedwald, the probable occupant.

Now, as one of very few surviving staff members of that dig, I can sometimes be persuaded to speak on it to local, or indeed national groups.

My original slides restore quite nicely in spite of constant use over the years.

Read More

Read More
Bronze Age and Roman discoveries at archaeological dig at prehistoric farming vi...