Places are offered on a strictly first come first served basis. Each application is logged to the second, it is then printed out, and placed in a pile. We then go through each application in order, first in first dealt with and so on.
I know that there are a lot of frustrated Veterans out there, I know more than most! :-) And of course, I wish we could take everyone. As it is, over 60% of those coming next year are Veterans. Some might argue that this is a bit unhealthy in a way, and diminishes opportunities for new people to become involved, to have the experience. I can understand that argument (and the alternative which from us is that it is easier having a team of veterans!), but I cannot influence the applications which are transparent, either way.
Whatever the stats are in percentage, they are there on a first come, first served basis. I actually have nothing to do with the allocation of places. The office processes the applications in order of them being received by the website and then when the excavations are full, I get a list telling me who has been accepted.
We actually have 50 more places available than last year, even though we are consolidating the teams. There are no season breaks, and the season length has been maintained, hence the extra places. We do get cancellations throughout the year, people for whatever reason drop out occasionally through ill health, work or other commitments. As such we will place any new places on the website as soon as we can so that people are aware of them.
This year took us by storm. We have never in the history of the Vindolanda Trust had such a wave of applications from the very moment the applications became live. Never. We have never been absolutely 100% fully booked after 3 days, never.
Therefore I can completely understand how people are frustrated that they did not get on this time round, we are (Justin and I) frustrated that some of you are not joining us as well, but I only have 25 places a week this year and can't expand beyond them due to the nature of the dig (going deep down needs greater supervision).
I hope that the veterans understand and be assured, we do not pick people out, they pick themselves.
all my best,