I sent out my first batch of twenty-four permission letters today. Most were to local farmers, though I also sent specially tailored letters to the owner of a local manor house (a writer!) and to the Islamic Azad University in Oxford, a branch campus of an Iranian university located near Eynsham. The letters may be pitched a bit formally: I used my academic business cards and Pembroke letterhead and envelopes. I thought, though, that I should leverage what sets me apart from other detectorists; in this case, I really do study early modern history and literature on a daily basis, a sort of cognate endeavour to detecting for antiquities. I also included a tearsheet with a picture of me and pictures of my recent recorded finds — the bottom of the sheet can be torn away and mailed in the attached SASE to indicate whether the recipient is willing to discuss the possibility of allowing access to his or her land.
I’m hoping the old sales saw applies: talk to a hundred; interest ten; convince one. (I’m also hoping that that one from my first hundred shows up in the first twenty-four)!
It would be great to have a permission, not only because I’d be able to hunt an hour or two in the evenings anytime I liked, but also because I’m trying to lure my Dad over to Blighty for an uninterrupted week of searching, and we’ll need private land to make that happen. Also, I do feel that having a permission or two would feel like another milestone in the hobby for me, sort of like getting my mudlarking license or finding my first Roman.