The Dig: A Viewing Guide w/ Key to the Netflix Film (Anglo-Saxon Ship Discovery)

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Grade Levels
9th - 12th
Formats Included
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2 pages
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I created this viewing guide with key for Netflix's new 2021 movie The Dig, rated PG-13. Read my blog post about this movie. Please note that this viewing guide covers only the first sixty-six minutes of the movie.

I watch only the first sixty-six minutes with my students. This part contains the major moments of discovery. (The remainder of the movie delves into the “not historically accurate” professional and personal lives and loves of other on-site professional excavators and seems a little disjointed and beside-the-point to the movie.)

The movie stars Ralph Fiennes as the self-taught archaeologist and astronomer Basil Brown and Carey Mulligan as the wealthy widow who owned the property that held the famous site, including the 90-foot Anglo-Saxon ship, which served as a tomb for a warrior-king… similar to that of King Tutankhamun.

The 1-hour and 52-minute movie is captivating, and builds suspense and excitement around the very culture awash in the elegies The Wanderer and The Seafarer, and even the epic Beowulf. You'll love adding this movie to your Anglo-Saxon unit!

This viewing guide contains seventeen questions. Some are objective, fill-in-the-blank, while others promote critical thinking and may require quick research and/or class discussion. Make sure students read through the guide before viewing the film, so they are able to collect answers while watching.

NEW NOTE ADDED 9/19/2021: I have created a new AOW-styled assignment to support watching The Dig. This assignment builds on the movie guide by immersing students in the fascinating story the movie introduces. The assignment uses an informational text ("Revisiting Sutton Hoo: Britain's Mythical Ship Burial"; The New Yorker; August 12, 2019 by Sam Knight) to help students "read as writers" by having them notice vocabulary, brilliant and effective description, genre blending, article structure, and contemporary connections.

For more British Lit activities used with success in my classroom, check out these:

The Wanderer “Ubi Sunt” Poetry Activity

The Dream of the Rood Reading Activity

Canterbury Tales: Two Contemporary Informational Text Assignments

Chaucer-like Canterbury Tales Prologue Poem Project

Beowulf: Two Contemporary Informational Text Assignments

Beowulf: Sutton Hoo Nonfiction Text Activity

Le Morte d’Arthur “The Characters Who Built the Chivalric Code” Reading Activity

Doctor Faustus Limitless (starring Bradley Cooper) Movie Guide

Milton’s Paradise Lost Luciferian Antihero Essay Assignment

Sonnet Creative Writing Poem Project

Bible or Bard? King James Bible vs. Shakespeare Activity

Total Pages
2 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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