From hiking to archaeology, KSC instructor Beck redefines retirement – Yahoo News

Jul. 9—Bob Beck, who spent his career working in U.S. embassies around the world, has a bit of retirement advice.

“You want to retire to something, not from something,” Beck, 61, said. “And the ‘to something’ doesn’t have to be, you know, making $70,000 a year; it could be getting into gardening. It doesn’t matter. It’s something you find productive and is going to be invigorating for you.”

After more than three decades in the U.S. Foreign Service, Beck moved to Peterborough two years ago with his wife of 36 years, Meg, a New Hampshire native. He quickly began teaching foreign policy classes at Keene State College’s Cheshire Academy for Lifelong Learning, a program aimed at seniors and the retired.

He spent about two weeks last month helping his daughter, Jess, a bio-archaeologist, on the excavation of a Bronze Age burial mound in the mountains of western Transylvania, and worked similar stints on the project in the summers of 2018 and 2019.

Beck is on the Monadnock Summer Lyceum board, which puts on lectures, and the Peterborough Recreation Committee. He volunteers for the state parks system and The Nature Conservancy. He also plays tennis, bicycles, swims, hikes and climbs peaks from the White Mountains to the Alps.

In a recent interview, he said it’s good to take on challenges in retirement.

Working on the burial mound on a remote ridge of the Apuseni Mountains of Romania fits into that category.

“Archaeology is an area I knew very little about,” he said. “As you retire, it’s healthy to push yourself into areas you’re not comfortable with.”

The dig has also given him a chance to spend quality time with his daughter, who is on a two-year postdoctoral teaching fellowship at Harvard and leads the excavation along with a Hamilton College professor and a senior Romanian archaeologist affiliated with a museum.

There was a learning curve for Beck, who helps out by sifting dirt for significant items. Initially, he kept thinking he’d found something worthwhile, and his daughter kept saying, “Dad, that’s a rock.”

Eventually though, he found bones, and someone else found a full skeleton in a fetal position in 2019. Pottery remains and a stone …….


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