But it is just this lack of written history that inspired Carvers preferred theory about the function of such artefacts in Anglo-Saxon society. Imagine the day of the burial, he instructs. We demonstrated with our research that the chamber would have been open, and the objects all laid out in this beautifully composed tableau, before the roof was put on. So perhaps people would have filed along on the edge of the ship, and looked down into it.
But why? These arent only works of art: theyre iconic cultural objects, which had played a role in history. Theyre works of art with a biography sometimes swords even had names. So if youre walking with your children and theyre saying whats that?, whats that?, I think the grown ups would have recognised a lot of the things. They would have jogged memories: that one went into that battle, that was the time he actually lost his shield, do you remember? 
What he is imagining is an alternative to chronicle history a form of active remembrance and cultural reflection that approaches something of the social function of contemporary theatre. And just as the burial chamber was a link to the past for the Anglo-Saxons who built it, so its rediscovery in 1939 extended that link to the present. If the central, poignant message of The Dig is that death is not the end and the past never really leaves us, so the discovery of art of the Anglo-Saxons, reimagined and reworked throughout the centuries that followed it, brought the Dark Ages into the light. 
The Dig is on Netflix. The Sutton Hoo Story: Encounters with Early England by Martin Carver is available to buy online.
The Dig: what happened next?
Edith Pretty
After donating the Sutton Hoo hoard to the British Museum, Edith was offered a CBE by Winston Churchill. However, she declined, believing she had merely been doing her duty. In poor health since her husband Frank passed away in 1934. Edith died on December 17 1942 age 59. She had suffered a fatal blood clot.  
Robert Pretty 
Sutton inherited his mothers estate worth £11 million in todays money. Just 12 when Edith died, he went to live with his aunt Elizabeth in Hampshire. Robert later attended Eton College before going into farming. He died of cancer aged 57 in June 1988, leaving behind children Penny, David and John.
Basil Brown 
Decades would elapse before Brown received proper credit for his role in the Sutton Hoo dig. During the Second World War, he served with the Royal Observer Corps in Suffolk. After the war, he was re-hired by Ipswich Museum and undertook extensive archaeological work. His archaeological career was, however, brought to an end in 1965 when he suffered a heart attack during an excavation. He died of pneumonia in March 1977 at age 89.
Peggy Piggott 
The trailblazing female archaeologist remained professionally active into her seventies. She and husband George had divorced in 1956. In retirement she devoted herself to the care of classical scholar AW Lawrence, younger brother of TE Lawrence. They lived together until his death in 1991. She passed away in Bath in September 1994, aged 82. 
Stuart Piggott
In 1946, Piggott was appointed head of the Edinburgh University archaeology department. Despite his separation from Peggy, they became friends again in their eighties. He outlived Peggy by two years, dying of a heart attack in September 1996 aged 86. 
Charles Phillips 
In reality, Phillips worked for the Office of Works rather than the British Museum. When Sutton Hoo was unveiled to the public at the Festival of Britain in 1951 the discovery was credited to Phillips and his team. In 1967, Phillips was awarded the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. He passed away in September 1985 aged 84. 
By Ed Power