James plays 27-year-old excavator Peggy Piggot in the film
Netflix’s The Dig is receiving a lot of flak for being sexist as if has apparently reduced an experienced archaeologist into a ‘bumbling, deferential, sidekick to her husband.’
The film tells the story of how the Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk was unearthed. The movie has Ralph Fiennes starring as a self-taught local archaeologist Basil Brown and Lily James portraying 27-year-old excavator Peggy Piggot.
Mrs. Piggot is the wife of archaeologist Stuart Piggott (played by Ben Chaplin) who also shows up at the Suffolk dig site with renowned academic Charles Phillips (Ken Stott).
Peggy happened to be the one who was able to unearth a small gold and garnet pyramid, which led to the rest of the treasures.
But the film received criticism from top archaeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes who said that the movie showed Peggy as ‘something of a sidekick to her husband Stuart.’ That’s because the real Mrs. Piggott was highly experienced, and not a novice. The movie was based on Mrs. Piggott’s uncle John Preston’s historical fiction novel about the dig.
Denying the allegations
However, Preston denied these allegations and said she’s not ‘bumbling.’
He added by saying that she was only 27 when she joined the dig in real life and saying that she was a professional by that time was pushing it a bit.
In the movie, Carey Mulligan plays Edith Pretty, a wealthy widow of declining health who had always wondered what might be buried under the burial mounds on her land in Suffolk. Enter Basil Brown, a self-taught local archaeologist who was sent by the Ipswich Museum to help her unearth the mysteries. Brown takes charge of the excavations and was seeing to everything when the imperious academic Charles Phillips who tries to claim the site for the British Museum.
Stuart Piggott is one of his protégés and Peggy is his wife.
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