Simon Fielding joined us for our 10-day excavation at Jane Pit in Workington. Jane Pit was a brand new project for DigVentures, and all places were fully funded by Workington Town Council, enabling us to offer free dig places to local residents.

Simon was one of the local residents who signed up to the dig. He was born and raised in Workington, but he didn’t know much about Jane Pit or the wider coal mining industry when he joined us. He decided to support the project because he has been fascinated with archaeology since he found a clay pipe whilst digging in his garden as a child and his imagination was captured by the possibilities of what he might find lurking just below the ground.

Simon was very honest with us and talked openly about living and working with autism. We spoke to him about how DigVentures can ensure that people on the autistic spectrum are able to dig with us; his advice to others with autism who would like to join an excavation with DigVentures is that everyone on the autistic spectrum is different, and the best thing to do is to be honest about your condition and your needs.

He also told us that he has been an enthusiastic amateur field surveyor as well, and has been methodically recording his finds from walks on the beach, we were very impressed with his ledger of finds, complete with locations where each object was found, interpretations of what the object might have been and photos of the items he has collected. Being a part of the dig has changed the way he now records and collects artefacts when he’s out surveying. Simon said ‘[the dig] changed how I extracted and handled the finds with more care and attention, even when washing them for processing.”

We quickly learned that Simon is a fantastic digital artist. Our team was blown away by the art he created inspired by the excavation at Jane Pit. Here are the digital pictures he drew, inspired by the excavations at Jane Pit.