A NEW Netflix film tells the story of a former Brighton school pupil and her role in a major archaeological discovery.

The Dig, which is released today, stars Carey Mulligan as Edith Pretty, who attended Roedean School from 1894 to 1899.

Edith developed a love of archaeology as a child and young woman thanks to many trips to Pompeii, Luxor and the Pyramids.

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The film explores her later life as a wealthy widow, when she hires amateur archaeologist Basil Brown - played by Ralph Fiennes - to excavate the burial mounds on her estate in Sutton Hoo in Suffolk in 1939.

With the Second World War looming, the pair make the historic discovery of the great Anglo Saxon wooden ship and its burial chamber at Sutton Hoo, unearthing dazzling riches, from silverware and textiles to a helmet with a human mask - which now sits in the British Museum.

The film, which also stars Johnny Flynn and Lily James, inspired Year 7 pupils at Roedean to contact the British Museum, where Sutton Hoo expert Dr Sue Brunning was able to answer questions about the discovery.

The pupils are now creating a short documentary about Edith and her life during and after attending Roedean, which they will show to other pupils today to mark the movie’s launch.

The Argus: Edith Pretty, third from left in the top row in 1896 at Roedean SchoolEdith Pretty, third from left in the top row in 1896 at Roedean School

Roedean headteacher Oliver Blond said Edith’s story underlined the "intellectual curiosity and fearlessness" the school has always tried to develop in its pupils.

He said: “The Lawrence sisters set up Roedean with the intention of bringing about educational equality for girls and to help free future generations of women from the limitations society placed on them and from the shackles of ignorance.

“I think Edith reaped the benefits of this and Roedean shaped her intellectual curiosity which led her to her wonderful discovery.

“Thousands of girls have trodden the same path educationally since Edith was here at school on the cliffs overlooking the English Channel all those years ago and they have gone on to challenge the status quo, smash glass ceilings and make invaluable contributions to society.

The Argus: Edith Pretty, second from left in the top row, in the cricket team at Roedean in 1895Edith Pretty, second from left in the top row, in the cricket team at Roedean in 1895

“Look at Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement who established a culture for palliative care, and Ursula Graham Bower, who commanded patrols and led ambushes in the jungle during WWII.

“There’s Phyllis Pearsall, a pioneering mapmaker who designed the London A-Z, or, more recently, Major Pip Tattersall who was the first female Green Beret.”

The Dig premieres on Netflix today.