Reef Younis investigates what rock stars do next – this time out, Bill Wyman from The Rolling Stones.


From 1962 until the early 1990s, Bill Wyman was playing bass in one of the world’s biggest bands, but after almost 30 years of touring the world, he stepped back from The Rolling Stones in 1990, and officially left in 1993. With time on his hands, he set about establishing and playing in the pretty naff Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, made a handful of special appearances for a few other acts, and cranked out a handful of music-related books, primarily about his time being the odd Stone out (see Stone Alone, Rolling with The Stones and The Stones: A History in Cartoons).

But it was actually his non-music-related book, Bill Wyman’s Treasure Islands, in 2005 that unearthed a buried passion.

Inspired after purchasing his Suffolk Manor House in 1968 and continually finding fragments in the ground, Wyman shifted from rock ‘n’ roll excess to a cleaner-cut triptych of archaeology, history and metal-detection.
“I’ve been a serious detecting enthusiast ever since and was delighted when my daughter Katie showed an interest in the hobby,” he says on “I’ve found gold coins from the 1300’s which are worth £1,000 each but I’m not interested in their monetary value, it’s the history that’s important to me.”

From Wroxeter to East Anglia, Cumbria to Mold, he’s been the length and breadth of the country in his quest for treasure hunting success. With a haul of over 300 coins, rare silver seals, and 3,000 year old blades, Bill took his interest, and over 15 years detecting experience, to the next logical level: the Wyman Signature Detector. Released in 2007, and armed with the latest in location technology, it promised an unrivalled combination of features designed to put any aspiring dectorist “on the road to treasure hunting success” and positioned Wyman as a dectorist of some authority – Brian May’s got that guitar he designed; Wyman has his detector.

So while Jagger and friends continue to wheeze around the globe, you’re more likely to find Bill Wyman rambling the British countryside, curating new tips (“try detecting after a big rain, when the ground is soaked… wet ground has more conductivity”), re-jigging his Top 10 locations (“The area around York provides fascinating potential for dectorists”) and proudly adhering to the Code of Conduct set out by The National Council for Metal Detecting. Rule 10 states: “Never miss an opportunity to explain your hobby to anyone who asks about it.” Cheers Bill.

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